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Thread: Breaking new ground

  1. #1
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    Breaking new ground

    Ok, folks,

    So I'm going to try to make one of Curt's birdhouses. Do I need to pay royalties on this one? Eventually, I hope they make good presents (I have a friend whose birthday is next month, and he'll be expecting a bowl, so I'll be wanting to throw him a curve ball...

    Anyway, on to take one. Here's the log:

    Attachment 9458

    Here I am, about to cut it on the band saw:

    Attachment 9459

    Well, that worked, for once! Two nice pieces:

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    Attachment 9460

    Now, to put on the face plate. Yes, you're right, those are pocket hole screws. They're the only kind that haven't broken yet.
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    Attachment 9461

    And here's the first glitch. The blank face is not *exactly* square to the cylinder of the log. Solved the problem in a foolish way... backed the screws out an eighth of an inch, it gave just enough play to get the live center on the tailstock positioned:


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    Attachment 9462

    Now my only goal is to turn a tenon, so the chuck can get a good grip. I'm also trying to turn away a little spalting on the very end, so the tenon's nice and solid
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    Attachment 9463

    It worked, mostly. Backing off the screws made it wobble the tiniest bit, so there's just the barest hint of fuzz in some places on the end, but we're looking good to go:

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    Attachment 9464

    At that point, Doorlink came out and said she had to go direct her choir, so it was back to babysitting. Oh well, James is more fun than any lathe... More tomorrow... in the meantime, Curt, if you have any further explanations or advice, or anyone else for that matter, I'd love to hear it...

    Thanks,

    Bill

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Well Bill, one thing that I almost never use for any turning is a face plate. But everybody has their own way of doing things so if that's how you like to do it that's fine. I like to just mount the log between centers using a 1" spur drive. Reason being, if I get a bad catch (and I get some dandies) the worst it's going to do is just strip out the spur. I can tighten down the tailstock and go right back at it. I then turn one end down to a tenon that's about 2 1/2"-3" diameter so I can hold it in the jaws of my talon chuck. This is for both the bottom half and the top half. On the bottom half, once I get it mounted in the chuck I start shaping the main body of the birdhouse on the end towards the tailstock. I make a tenon that will fit into the roof (that's where it glues together). Then I hollow out the living quarters part of the birdhouse. I leave the walls in the tenon area about 1/2 to 3/4" thick so that it's plenty strong. After I get it all hollowed out and shaped the way I like it I turn it end for end on the lathe and use the chuck on the inside of the tenon in the opening I hollowed it from. That's why I leave it thick, so it won't break when the jaws expand in it to hold it. Then I shape that little hanging down finial type thing that's at the bottom of the birdhouse.

    Now for the top half, like I said I mount it between centers and turn a tenon on one end of it so I can hold it in my chuck. Then I put a jacobs chuck in my tailstock with a 1 1/2" forstner bit and drill a hole about 1 1/2" deep. After I've drilled that hole I put the revolving center back in and hold it in the center of that hole with the tailstock. That makes it pretty solid so you can turn the underside of the roof concave and turn a mortise for the tenon that's on the body to slide into. By the way, I make the tenon and the matching mortise about 1/2" to give a good glue joint. Once you get that done so the body fits into the roof you can start shaping the top, exterior part of the roof. If you're using a very big log it now becomes a marathon of making shavings because you take off a lot of wood. Once I get it shaped I leave a ball on the top of the roof leaving about 1/2" of wood still holding it. I then just cut that off with a saw and round it off with a sander, drill a hole in the top for an eyebolt, drill the door hole for the birds 1 1/4", drill a small hole below that for a perch, and it's done.

    Hope that helps and feel free to ask any and all the questions you want.

  3. #3
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    I also ought to explain my reasoning on not using a faceplate in endgrain. For starters, screws don't hold very tight in endgrain. Spinning wood seems to almost always start out way off balance so if (when) something goes wrong it usually just pulls the screws out on one side. It's been my experience that the wood then does some centrifugal acrobatics and somehow usually ends up spinning end over end, bouncing and banging around,taking out anything in its path. Whereas if you just use a drive spur, the spur teeth just strip out the wood while the point still holds it and usually nobody gets hurt. It also solves the problem you had with the wood not being cut off perfectly square. Stebcenters are even better.

  4. #4
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    Hey, folks,

    A little progress today, but James blew my cover, and told Mom to "come see the birdhouse!" Whoops! Boy, did I hear about it! Oh, well...

    The first try at drilling was a real no go.... Finally, I started with a small forstner bit, and worked my way up to the largest. Worked fairly well, but took a while.

    Attachment 9571
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    turning between centers is *way* easier then with a faceplate! Who knew? Well, Curt did! Thanks for that tip!

    Attachment 9572
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    Attachment 9573
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    the blank looks wierd here. Figured I'd do a turning lesson from one of the books I have. Actually learned a lot. I'd never even turned a bead before...

    Attachment 9574
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    Attachment 9575
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    I screwed a piece of 3/4 ply to the blank, and then screwed the ply to the drill press table. It was the best available clamping option.
    Attachment 9576
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    Attachment 9577
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    Attachment 9578
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    Attachment 9579
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    Attachment 9580
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    thanks,

    Bill

  5. #5
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    Next steps:

    Attachment 9581
    .
    Attachment 9582

    The real key was knowing how large to make the hole. Curt mentioned 1 1/4, and that's what I went with. Hope that's the right size for wrens, and not for sparrows...
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    Attachment 9583

    when I got the lathe, I swore I'd never buy another dowel...


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    Attachment 9584
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    Attachment 9585
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    Glued up, and actually sitting upright. Actually, the fit was not snug, no matter how many times I marked and tested. Next time, I'll use an 80 grit gouge when it comes time for final fitting.

    Attachment 9586

    Went back to my normal wipe on poly/naptha blend for the finish. I've had enough of friction finishes for a while...

    Anyway, it's not the most aesthetic thing I've ever seen, but I figure any first attempt that doesn't end up on a wood pile is a success!


    .
    Attachment 9587

    Thanks,

    Bill
    Last edited by Bill Lantry; 06-10-2007 at 02:03 AM.

  6. #6
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    You done good Bill!!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  7. #7
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    Way to go, Bill. I think Curt's has yours beat for form, but I'm sure you got several chunks of good experience making it. And like you said, any "first" that survives the ride is a good thing.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    North Ogden, Utah
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    Excellent Bill! If I were a wren I'd be loading up boxes and getting ready to move.

  9. #9
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    Beautiful job Bill. Thanks for sharing your step by step procedure.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

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