Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wedding Platter

This past fall we had the honor of attending the wedding of two wonderful friends Rolf and Chris, both of whom are in our Nordic Dance group. Rolf is of Norwegian decent and Chris, Finnish, so I wanted to symbolize this union in a woodturning. I had recently completed various platter turnings using milk paint and carving and it gave me the idea to symbolize Rolf and Chris' marriage through the merging of their two countries flags which have a common blue cross.
I found the perfect maple blank at our local exoctic lumber mill. The light maple wood is close in color and grain pattern of the more common birch and juniper often used in Scandanavian woodworking.
I pyrographed the color borders for flags and then used the appropriate milk paint representative stip for the flags, leaving the white section the natural wood.
I was very happy with the final platter as it came out as I had envisioned and I think truly represents the spiritual and cultural merger of two wonder friends.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back from the Blog Black hole

Just when the neighbors thought the Chip blog had gone the way of some many other novice bloggers, I have regained my motivation. Having started a new career in corporate America my personal time went to zero and so my woodturning and consequently blogging :-( . However, I have slowly regained my personal time and doing some turning with the inspiration of family and friends.

Most notably our dear friends and adopted family in Fredricksburg, Tx, Barron (aka Smitty) and Natalie Smith, who sent me two Banksia nuts. As you can see they are very unusal and I discovered popular amongst woodturners. I turned vases with both nuts. I found it fun to work with though a be messy, and really like the results. The pictured is my initial creation and I just finish a second piece includes torquise inlay for a nice accent.

Banksia Pod

Banksia Vase


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Latest Creations

I finished the second in my Hackberry series, Strawberry delight (formerly Roughberry). It is an 11 in dia bowl using the same techniques as with "Blueberry" bowl. Anodyne dye, with pryographed rim and the inside finished with food safe carnuba wax.

Strawberry Delight

I also finished my second carved, milk paint platter. As you see below I textured the back with while it was still on the lathe. Then using a new rotary triple bladed carving tool on a dremel I carved the "digital" pattern. The platter is black walnut and I could not decide what color milk pant to use, so I ordered 7 new milk paint colors. With the advice of Vencka, my lovely artistic consultant, we choose Soldier Blue which I think came out very nice. I am really enjoying using the milk paint, as it gives the wood pieces a very unique look.

Black Walnut - 9.5 in dia, carved w/rubbed milk paint
Back side - textured using an eighth inch parting tool

Close up

Saturday, May 23, 2009

New turning dimensions continued....

I am excite to show off two new artistic platters. The first is the one mentioned at our previous blog. The bowl and texture pattern (on the back side) were finished on the lathe. I then carved the sunburst motif and used a dremel tool for pattern around the bowl rim. Several coats of milk paint were applied then rubbed with scotch-brite abrasive pad when dry.

Modern day milk paint originates from home-made paint made on the back porch with skim milk or buttermilk, crushed limestone and pigments found around clay pits, or chimney soot and mineral colors crushed and powdered. This original paint goes back about 6000 and more years as evidence by early cave paintings. Milk Paint is environmentally safe and non-toxic. There is a slight milky odor when it is applied, but it is completely odorless when dry. Modern day milk paint uses milk protein, lime, clay, and earth pigments such as ochre, umber, iron oxide, lampblack, etc. The lime is alkaline but becomes totally inert when mixed with the slightly acid milk. Milk paint contains no hydrocarbons or any other petroleum derivatives. It comes as a dry powder and mixed with water.

One of the unusual properties of milk paint, due to the milk protein and lime, is it interacts with the wood changing its color. To make use of this property, after applying the paint I used an abrasive pad and rubbed off some the paint to expose high points in the carved wood. My piece is maple which was very light colored and the paint left the wood a dark copper color providing a very nice contrast to the yellow paint. It gives the piece a ceramic look.

The second platter is maple painted with an acrylic paint (same technique as the platter in the last blog), thenI carved in the pattern, completing with a matte lacquer finish. I am looking forward to exploring more textures and colors as well as using these techniques on other types of turnings.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Adding new dimensions ....

Two weeks ago I took a one day platter workshop from Al Stirt, a world reknown turner from Vermont, hosted by our local club, Chesapeake Woodturners. Al is know for his unique texturing and carving methods he incorporates into his turnings creating master piece works of art. He shared with us some of techniques during our eight hour hands on course.
I just finished the first piece I started in the course. It is a 13 in diameter mahogany platter with the wide rim painted in a black acrylic paint. Then following Al's methods, I drew the pattern using a watercolor pencil (the design is a replica from one of Al's platters), then I carved it using a recipicating carving tool. It is finished with several coats of satin spray lacquer. On back of the platter I turned a series of coves to create a unique texture. For my first attempt I am really happy with the piece, and now have a new dimension to include in my future turnings.
My second Al Stirt piece, a textured square platter is still in the works. It will incorporate the use of milk paint, I am excited to see the how it turns out.. and will share the result in the near future.

Carved Mahogany
Back side - Coves for texturing

Monday, April 13, 2009

Kitten Season has arrived

It has been a little over three weeks since I began raising the first of my 2009 litter of bottle babies and am happy to write that my little charges are doing very well. I received a litter of four and all four are thriving - one girl and three boys! Boneata, Scooter, Frodo and Bilbo have unknown beginnings other than being found in a box with eyes still closed and one with the umbilical chord still attached (5-7 days old) at the office of BFI in Baltimore. One of our Cats R Us members got a call about them, and I picked them up later that day. Thankfully, they were in excellent condition, other than a bit wet and hungry. By the time they nestled down that night they were wrapped in flannel and fleece in a warm bathroom. It did not take long for them to understand I was now mommy. Things didn't go as smoothly as they did in these photos every day, but it was fun trying to get them all nourished at one time. They have been incredibly easy to take care of and are going to be outstanding cats. Here are a few more pictures of those days a few weeks ago.

Scooter, the smallest kitten was the first to open his eyes.

Boneata says NO NOT THE HAIRDRYER! However once dry, goes to sleep under her fleece.

While everyone has a full tummy and ready to sleep again, Scooter wants some more cuddles.

Bilbo savors mealtime and does not waste a drop.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

One man's scrap .....

After a month hiatus we're back. Vencka is working with four bottle baby kittens and says she will be posting soon with her bottle baby dialogues (so everyone please give her a little nudge :-) ). We (mostly Vencka) have been out in our backyard woods collecting, chainsawing, and stacking downed trees and branches for firewood. Ever on the the lookout for turning wood I have started playing around with green and dry small diameter branches after have seen some pieces recently in Baltimore. I am attempting to turn natural edge, thin deep-V and martini glass shaped pieces out of the green wood unfortunately most have ended up back in the firewood pile. Below is one of my initial (and semi-success) trials, it is about two inches in diameter and 1.5 inches tall.

I am having more luck with with dry branches. I came across an unusual colored pinkish branch about two weeks ago that I could not resist trying to turn. The color reminded me of southwest/Mexican style clay pottery. With the that image in my mind I turned away, ever so careful of a crack (caused from the drying/rotting) lest it blow up on me! I was really happy with the result and added to two burned rings for style points.

My third scrap project came by way of my dad, a highly talented wood craftsman and carpenter. He had a old walnut table from my great-grandparents that was beyond repair, so he disassembled, cut up the top and legs and then laminated them back together in various sized and shaped blocks. He shipped out them all out a few weeks ago. Below is the first piece turned from a 5 inch block (photographed on one of the larger blocks). The "new" family cup is heading back west to my dad for his birthday next week.