Boxes & Containers
Brass Meter Knick-Knack Box
I picked this up at an estate sale in our neighborhood. I would guess that a local resident saved it as a souvenir when the city of Denton updated the water meters.
Knot Business Card Holder
This is one of those things that just seems to present itself. It seemed so attractive that it demanded to be made useful. I could also add a small clock or pen-holder to the center of the knot, but have not done so at this point.
Cedar Keepsake Box with
Turnings & Hollowform
Bodark is a bush/tree native to the East Texas-Arkansas-Louisiana region. It also is known as Osage Orange. Its wood was used by native Americans - in particular the Osage tribe - for bow making. It has been compared favorably with the English yew for making superior bows. It is a very dense, hard, heavy wood. [Learn more about bodark on my Home Page under Definitions/Wood] Bodark is an excellent wood to work. It cuts and sands to a fine finish, but it definitely takes its toll on the sharpness of tools.
Bodark Stemmed Bowls
Bodark Candy Dish
Cedar Fence-post Vase
I keep my eye out for old, weathered fence posts - especially cedar. They make great turnings when some of the natural exterior can be left exposed.
Wood Gavel & Display Stand
I had a request from someone who saw the bracelet-stand (below) that I did earlier, who wanted a gavel as a gift for an attorney who was retiring. I turned a gavel and sound block of walnut with a an oak base to mount them on.
Most turnings we encounter from a lathe were made with the work piece held between two points on each end. A spiral design can be achieved by alternating the points where the wood is held in the lathe, using two, three or more evenly spaced points at each end in a triangle or square pattern. This is a three-point or three-axis turning that gave a spiral effect to the stand for the oak globe that was previously shown below. The fourth photo shows the relative size of the globes that I have turned so far.
Cedar crotch bowl
Bud Vase of Photinia Branch
Small Vase and Candlesticks of Gnarled Oak Limb
Mesquite Bowl on Walnut Pedestal with Copper Inlay on Rim
Oak Crotch Bowl w/Turquois Infill
Bracelet & ring holder set
I had a request from a friend to make her stands to put on her dresser to hold jewelry. This is what I came up with.
Photinia Root-ball "Bowl"
Red-Tipped Photinia Turnings
The below pieces are turned from a bush that grows in our yard: red-tipped photinia. One of the mature ones died last year. When I cut it out, I noticed that the wood is very dense, so I decided to try a piece in my lathe. It turns wonderfully, achieving a very hard and smooth surface. Even without any wax on it, it has a smooth, matte finish. I looked it up on the ‘net and learned that I am not the first to discover its turning properties. One source commented that it compares well with boxwood. (Now I need to find a source of boxwood)
Below are several views of the same toadstool that I left on the natural limb to show what the bush looks like before turning.
Hardwood Steering Wheel Knobs
In the days before power steering was ubiquitous, it was often hard work to turn the steering wheel. Knobs were very common, especially for pick-ups and other work vehicles. They were generally made of wood or Bakelite. I bought the hardware from China and turned my own knob. I find it convenient on our Ford Expedition for maneuvering with my arthritic hands. Back in the day, they were often referred to as squirreller knobs, suicide knobs or necker's knobs.
6.5 Inch Solid Oak Globe
Our daughter & son-in-law did some serious oak tree pruning on their property and offered us firewood. Which we accepted. I have been wanting to try my hand at turning a round globe from a piece of wood, so I selected a crotch (or "Y") from the wood pile and this is what I produced.
Oregon Myrtlewood Nut Bowl
White Oak Bowl with Lid
I roughed out this bowl & lid over a year ago from a single block of white oak. Then I set it aside to finish drying. It ended up significantly oval, so I had to re-turn it into round and then hollow out both the bowl and lid.
Oregon Myrtlewood Goblet
On a visit to my native Oregon a few years ago I picked up some scraps of native myrtlewood. I drilled six holes into the myrtlewood block and glued walnut dowels in them. Then I turned the block into a small goblet featuring the teardrop walnut.
Colored Pencil Ball
Saw this on Pinterest. I encased a set of 36 colored pencils in clear epoxy resin (in a tin can), then put them on my lathe and turned them into a three-inch ball.
Bonsai Plant Holder
I had a chunk of tree trunk and I needed something to put my bonsai planter into. I cut a flat spot on the "bottom", hollowed out an oval in the "top" of the log and lined it with thin copper sheeting.
This is a 6-3/8" diameter mesquite wood bowl I just turned. I considered some further decorative feature such as an inlay around the rim, but this piece has so much interest in the wood grain and colors I decided that anything further would detract from it.
I got a lathe a year ago and have been working up from simple spindles to bowl turning. I managed to turn out several decent looking bowls that I gave to my kids for Christmas. Below is a representative sample of my initial efforts.
Round box & lid with repro- duction radiator cap ornament
Furniture & Misc.
Serving Tray with Aluminum Platter
Small Mantel Clock
I am not particularly a Plymouth fan, but I do admire their early ship logos. I came across this all-metal (aluminum), 1937 horn button and really like the design. I was able to acquire it and decided to set it into into a mantel clock housing.
Walnut Slab Table on White Oak Base
This project was some six month or more in the planning and execution. I was able to purchase a somewhat warped, 2" thick slab of walnut with the natural bark on one long edge. It took months to decide what to do with it. Ultimately I decided to leave the "live edge" (bark) as-is and follow the natural grain along the other long edge. I built a jig to use a router to even out the warp - this reduced its thickness to 1- 1/2 inches. There were several natural cracks in the grain, so I filled them with epoxy and turquoise chips. The base is of white oak, which I fumed with ammonia to darken it. The entire piece is sanded down to 220 grit sandpaper, then coated with boiled linseed oil. The walnut slab sits on the base without fasteners, so it can be displayed with either side up and the base can also be turned over either way as the user pleases.
Mesquite Cross with Base
I saw a similar item at a craft fair. Being in Texas there is a lot of religious artwork. I liked the way that the natural outside ("live-edge" as it is often called) of the limb gradually transitioned into a finished square post and was capped by a finished square crosspiece. When I came across a suitable scrap of mesquite I wanted to try my hand at it.
Burnt-out Cedar Stump Lamp
My son, Karl, found the remains of a cedar trunk that survived a wild fire with a hollow, charred core and weathered exterior. Karl brought it home and later asked if I would make something of it. I came up with a floor lamp set on a Ford truck brake rotor, a copper water pipe and flickering LED bulbs inside the hollow to give the effect of glowing fire.
Cedar Round Occasional Table with Mesquite-Limb Legs
Cedar Round Small Table with Cedar-Limb Legs
I made these cutting boards with surplus wood from the Denton Senior Center (DSC) woodshop (oak & cherry) plus a log (bodark) that I had on hand at home. The dimensions were dictated by the available pieces of wood and the capacity of the DSC bandsaw.
Chopping Block and Lazy Susan
I haven't done any strictly-wood projects in some time. After repeated encouragement from my lovely wife, I ran some boards from assorted hardwoods and am again in process of creating boxes and kitchen items. Just completed (June, 2019) are the two items below.
Cedar-trunk-rounds used for occasional tables at our cabin
When we bought the cabin by Canyon Lake (pictured on my home page) we wanted a driveway to park next to the cabin. To put in the drive we had to take out a medium-sized cedar tree. So rather than let the condemned tree go to waste, I cut three rings out of it and had the remaining 5 foot trunk cut into 2" planks. I have finished the three rings with "live edges" and made legs from natural tree limbs.. [I am working on a sofa table made from two book-matched planks from the tree trunk.] Stay tuned - more to come.
Four Cutting Boards of laminated walnut & mesquite with oak frame
I made four cutting boards for Christmas 2017 presents. I followed the same design and used the same materials for all four. The hardwood surface is 3/8 inch strips of walnut and mesquite, glued to a 1/2" piece of oak veneer plywood. The frame is of 3/4" oak.
I show pictures of only two of the four as examples. The first two pictures are of one board; the next two are of a second board.
The third row shows two surfaces from a different angle. The cutting surface was coated with mineral oil while the frame and underside were finished with paste wax. (All photos were taken at the same time, with the same camera and same lighting. The different angle produced a different tone - the true tone is somewhere between the two)
Hill Country Cedar Stump Table Lamp Base
In early April, 2017 we visited our eldest son and his wife at their retirement home in the Texas Hill country. We stayed as their guest at a military RV campground. While wandering the hills I came across some cedar stumps that had been left behind by thinning activity. I cut one off at the ground because I thought that the shapes of the trunks were unique and interesting. Using the experience I had gained from making the oak stump lamps, I applied the same technique and came up with an interesting table lamp.
Burned Oak Stump Lamp Bases
In spring, 2016 I cut some mesquite and oak in Jacks County just west of Denton County. The mesquite was cut fresh from standing trees; the oak was cut from a grove of dead trees killed in a wild fire a few years earlier. I recovered several sections of log from felled trees, but my attention was caught by two stumps that had been broken well before the devastating fire and were burned out in the center. I cut a few feet down from the top and brought them home with only a vague idea what to do with them. After some months of thought I decided to make lamp bodies of them. I ground out the charred centers and fashioned bases from salvaged brake rotors from the local metal salvage yard. A length of 1" copper pipe from Lowe's, some copper fittings and lamp sockets and I was able to put together a floor lamp and a table lamp of similar style.
Mesquite Log Table Lamp
I don't generally make lighting fixtures, but this naturally weathered broken log end just cried out for use in some fashion. A lamp base seemed to be the most appropriate use for it. It was already hollow, so I only needed to sand and polish the outside (leaving some areas in their naturally weathered condition) and make a base to stand it on. The center post is a length of half-inch copper water pipe. I purchased a socket, lamp cord and LED bulb at Home Depot and cobbled it all together with a shade from Walmart.
Wall Hat/Coat Rack
Here is a 30" natural log coat rack for mounting on the wall. The back is flat so that it will fasten firmly to the wall. Suzanne & I were driving in Denton and this caught my attention because one trunk of a tripartite tree had broken off. One side looked interesting because the bark had been peeled off by horses a long time ago and the tree had continued to grow. So I stopped and cut off about four feet and threw it in the back of the Ford.
Walnut Machete Hand-grip
This is a walnut hand-grip that I carved for a World War II machete that my dad brought home. He told me that it had been made by a guy in his company. The original wood handle was very plain and smooth - so much so that my dad got a bad cut in the web between his thumb and forefinger using it. When I inherited it, I made a safer handle, then carved an Old English "B" monogram in the wood. The monogram is infilled with epoxy mixed with light-colored sanding-dust, then sanded flush.
Native Texas Oak and Walnut Serving Tray/Stand
We recently visited the Texas Hill Country to see our eldest son, Karl, and daughter-in-law, Connie's new home near Canyon Lake. We stayed at a military campground where Karl is a part-time host. The campground is covered with live oak trees and firewood is abundant from felled trees. Two logs caught my eye as promising for interesting grain patterns and color. This tray/stand is made of two slices from a single log - book matched faces - that I edge glued on a diagonal, then trimmed with Texas walnut that I purchased through an ad on Craig's List. The feet are the same beveled piece as the handles. Cracks in the oak are filled with epoxy and ground agate. It is somewhat heavy for a serving tray. I have given it to Karl's older Sister, Kristin, since she has a big, burly husband who is a chef and can manage the weight of the tray.
Obelisk of Spalted Pecan
I made this from a scrap of pecan log that I had cut some blocks and boards from. The spalting pattern was just too intricate and interesting to throw out. There was not quite enough material to complete the base without including an area of weathered surface wood, but that just makes it more interesting. It is a bit more tapered than the traditional obelisk proportions, but that is what the wood I had required. The black outlining is particularly attractive. I used three wood dowels to keep the top in place, but have not glued it in down. After sanding down to 220 grit I coated it with mahogany-tinted English furniture wax to give it warmth (except where it is weathered).
Solid Mesquite Pyramid for Weather Instruments w/oak trim
This cut-off from a mesquite log seemed to demand use. I had a clock inset on hand that was of suitable size, so I inset it into one end with an angled cut. Note the ring colors - this is typical of local mesquite: reddish inner rings with yellow new growth. The red portion finishes much like mahogany. The bark on this piece is solidly attached, but some sort of borer is still at work inside, slowly piling saw-dust outside as it works.
Commemorative Anniversary Ring Eet
Below are photos of a pair of rings created according to my daughter, Kristin's, request. I was plowing new ground here - I have mixed metal with wood, but not wood with metal. The silver soldering was pretty straight forward, but insetting the purple heart veneer and sealing it was tricky. Some on-line research uncovered techniques that I was not familiar with, but that proved successful. Amazingly, they both were completed without having to throw anything away and start over. (Please read the captions)
Native Texas Mesquite Tray/ Display Stand/Cutting Board
This is a project that (for once) turned out even better than I had envisioned. The concept began as a simple cutting board to use in our own kitchen. I planned to make it out of mesquite, a dense, hard and beautifully red native Texas wood. I cut one piece and found that it had a hollow center, thus giving the two halves hollow channels running the length of the boards. Suzanne suggested that I should fill the hollows with granules of rock -: agate or turquoise - mixed into clear ep[oxy. So I decided to use these as the sides to function as handles. By the time I had the main pieces cut, selected and assembled the overall appearance was much more interesting than would be appropriate for a mere cutting board..
After gluing up the main elements, I decided that the look would be enhanced by short legs. All the natural voids were filled with epoxy and the long channels in the "handles" filled with crushed turquois and agate pieces mixed into epoxy. It was then sanded smooth and finished with several coats of hand-rubbed clear furniture wax. It was too nice to use in our kitchen, so it became a Christmas present for our daughter-in-law.
Oak cutting board
This was a scrap of white oak left over from a footstool project that I utilized to make a small cutting board.