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My current challenge in wood turning is to make some trivets out of wood. The feature of the design is concentric circles on each face of the trivet. The overall size is 150 mm in diameter and 15 mm thick. One face has concentric circles that are radiating out from the centre. The opposing side has a group of three concentric circles. The cuts are made with a parting tool to a depth that is half the thickness of the trivet.

Small feet are turned from a contrasting timber. This has the trivet sitting off the table and highlights the details of the circles.

In order to complete this project I have  construction a jam chuck. This will be constructed from 18 mm MDF. It is a 2 piece construction  with a 2220 mm backing plate that attaches to the lathe. I used a 50 mm face plate but a wooden piece could be turned and glued to the backing place as a means of attaching it to the lathe with chuck. The jam chuck is nothing more than another piece of MDF  approx 165 mm in diameter.


It is important that the jam chuck is centered on the backing plate. I use the point of a skew chisel to find the centre of the backing plate. Attached the piece that will become the jam chuck through the centre to the backing plate. Locate and drill two holes on the outer edge making sure that they are well outside the 150 mm diameter.  Remove the centre screw and turn a recess 150 mm in diameter to depth of 6 mm. This jam chuck will allow the concentric circles to be turned on both sides.

The idea comes from  an article entitled Heat Shield in the April 2011 issue of The Woodworker.


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Triton still going strong

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The old Triton 2000 is still going strong! Although I wish I had a nice new table saw the old triton still works well. I inherited an old pantry cupboard courtesy of a friend. I have converted the cupboard to a laundry storage cupboard. The original was 1400 mm wide and 600 mm deep. The new cupboard is 1200mm wide and 335 deep.
The sliding extension table featured in the photo made the work very easy. It’s easy to forget the portability of the Triton workbench. A table saw wouldn’t Be moved to another location like the Triton. A dedicated woodworking blog called Stusshed also remembers the glory days of this Australian legend.
I can only say that it has and I suspect will continue to serve me well.


Three cornered turning

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This is my first attempt at a three sided bowl. It’s an interesting experience turning off centre even with a blank that was little more than six inches square. The layout was done simply with a compass. Turning off centre is a little disconcerting and gets  worse with each new setting until the shape is finalised.

The bowl dry sanded and finished with wet and dry paper. Red gum always comes up a treat and since commencing wood-turning I have come to quite like this timber.


This video from Robert Sorby explains the setting up and turning techniques involved in this approach.

I’m pleased with the result and it looks great in red gum.

Three sided bowl

Another Spalted Turn

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Turned another bowl from the mystery spalted firewood. Consulted a local expert on the subject, it’s not eucalyptus that’s for sure. It doesn’t have any distinctive odour. So a pale quite light timber that turns reasonable well.
I was quite pleased with the shape of this piece. As always the shape was determined to some degree by what I started with. The opening is smaller and I guess that points toward future hollow forms.
This one is finished with the usual Ubeaut’s EEE and Shellawax. Thought about a lid this time but that may have to wait for another attempt.

Spalted Firewood

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Another week and another small bowl. The bowl was created on a cool and wet afternoon. The dog kept me company for the afternoon and kept listening for the rain, see photo. This was when it wasn’t chewing plants or digging holes, ahh the joys of puppies.

Bowl blank


I bought some firewood at the local garden centre about  a year or so ago. I thought that this would be a cheap was to get wood for turning.  Most of it was red gum but I picked up a couple of other logs. They were lighter in colour and not as dense.  I didn’t spend more than $5 on the whole lot so no great loss if it was useless. The pictures above show the raw material and the blank mounted on a plate ready for turning.

It thought that the best outcome was  a bit of practice. It was a surpise to see that the light coloured wood was spalted.  I had not realised that this occurred in Australian timbers until quite recently , so I was pleasing to see this emerging as I turned the bowl. An otherwise plain bowl is lifted by the attractive patterns left after the spalting.

Continue reading “Spalted Firewood”

A Silky Turning

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Well a large lump of Queensland Silky Oak has been turned into a large bowl. The final shape was dictated by the shape of the blank. I was trying to maximise the size.This whole thing of the wood  taking charge of the shape seems to be  a recurring theme in the bowls that I have made .

The bowl is approximately 250mm in diameter and 100mm deep.The bowl was finished with wet and dry paper after the usual dry sanding. I finished it with a food safe oil Ecowoodoil called “Natural Woodwipe”. Must say that is went on well its quite thin and seems to soak in well.


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Upgrading the bandsaw

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Being new to this whole bandsaw thing it came as surprise when I managed to melt the blade guides on my bandsaw. I bought the bandsaw as ex floor stock from Carbatec. This saved me some dollars and the machine was fully assembled or so I thought. I have been using the saw for about 2 years without really fiddling with it. The horizontal stop was missing so I have installed that.

The guides have had a major upgrade with roller bearing guides. The whole upgrade took about 3/4 hour. The blade is now much more accurate and stable.  I had to remove the cutting table as per the picture at the lower right. Cutting is more efficient and I think less requires less energy from the bandsaw which might reduce wear and tear. It is always good to work on your machines as it increases your understanding of how it all works.

Upper guides
Lower guides


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A Tale of a Chair

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We bought a chair some time ago at a church jumble sale. My wife has an affection for chairs and we have a small collection chairs that are all a little different.
In my eyes the chair is rather unusual. Unlike most wooden chairs the back legs are in two pieces. They are split at the level of the seat. The whole assembly is held together by wood screws; the old fashioned slotted kind. I have never seen this sort of construction before. However talking to a man who is 76 about this chair he said that as a child they had a whole dining suite with chairs like this.
The other feature of the construction is that all the rungs have turned tenons. On first inspection they appear to be dowels, as per my sketch below.

When we purchased the chair the front  rung was missing and this has been on my list of things to do.  My new hobby of wood-turning has allowed me to make a  replacement rung. I was fortunate to have some old timber from a piece of furniture that was long past its use by date.  The new rung is almost inextinguishable from the material found in the chair. A bit of Danish oil and some wax sees the chair ready for a new life.



Chair rail

Woodturning there’s a hole in my bowl

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Well the red gum bowl is coming along except for the big hole in the bottom.  The bowl was mounted  on a chuck after having a recess turned on the base. I got so involved in making the sides thin I scraped out the centre of the chuck mount.

As a newbie woodturner this may have been a total disaster and the bowl would have ended up as scrap. However as I am doing a course the teacher said that he  must have done this 21 dozen times! So a mistake is re-emerging as a feature.

The the inside of the bowl was recessed approximately 10mm beyond the hole. Then a piece of contrasting wood was selected in this case a piece of olive wood. The stepped plug was turned from the piece of olive and then glued in place. The glue used was Titebond II after setting for what will be a couple of weeks the base will be completed.  The new feature will be slightly domed to preserve its thickness.

Three phases if making a plug for the base of the bowl
Making a plug for the base of the bowl
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A First Bowl – Almost

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A turned wooden bowl

This started out as a bowl but the recess that i turned on the base for my scroll chuck cracked when I started to hollow it out. Undeterred I pressed on and repurposed the blank. I need to make a base for a trophy at work. We are having a soup competition with a soup off at the end. A custom ladle will adorn this base. It’s made from a piece of Red Gum and finished with Danish oil, the only finish that I had on hand.  A bit rough and ready but fit for purpose, not bad since I bought it at the local garden centre. Handpicked from a pile of firewood.