Monthly Archives: January 2010

Back to the bowls

I had an enjoyable afternoon with Paul Atkin on Wednesday, picked up two bowl hooks and lots of helpul tips about bowl turning, which is quit a different skill to my usual work, known as spindle turning (long cylinders from chair legs to rounders bats).  The hooks look like this:

You can only buy them from a few people, and then most turners end up making their own.  They are very long and sturdy, with a small sharp hook that does the business, slicing through the blank to remove the wood.

My lathe needs a couple of modifications, a smaller mandrel, that’s what the band runs on, and a proper strap to replace the cord, although it didn’t seem to be slipping today.  I’ll post a couple of  pictures of the bowls I made with Paul, in the meantime here is one that’s been sitting on the bowl lathe in the woods for months, waiting for the replacement hook tools:

You can see here how the mandrel holds the bowl blank to turn it, and how the hook has to cut away the excess wood from inside, while leaving a core for the mandrel.

It’s quite hard work pedalling, more so than my normal lathe:

Basically the same principle but more effort required because the cut it through a more resistant section of the timber.

Anyway, this being my third bowl I’m pretty pleased with it, lots of room for improvement, but I think I now have the idea of how to get the result I’m looking for:

It needs to dry out now with the other two, and then be oiled before use.

Made it.

The six chairs are now united in their new home on the moors above Bolton Abbey.

My customers are very pleased, especially with the little table

It was rather a struggle to get up there, even with snow chains on the Landy.  I kept thinking, well I’ll get up there, but maybe not get back.  But I was accompanied back and two shovels came in very handy clearing 3 foot drifts of heavy melting snow that the Landy kept on bellying on.  All the snow’s gone from down in the valleys round here, but at 1,600 feet up where the chairs now live it had only just yesterday got above freezing, first time in weeks, and my customers had not had their 4×4 car down to the village since New Year’s Day!

The package in may last post was a 2 1/2 pound Kentish pattern axe that I’m now making a new handle for. It looked like it was going to be a cleaver from the package!  Photos to follow when it’s re-shafted.  It’s an old War Department one in good nick.  I do wish, however, that people who sell tools on eBay would resist the temptation to ‘sharpen’ them.  Which usually just means putting a shiny, inexpert edge on with a grinding wheel.  Fortunately on this one they had not over-heated the edge and lost the metal’s temper as can happen with a powered grit stone.  I’ve just about restored a better smooth edge with my treadle-powered grit stone that runs in a bath of water keeping everything cool.

Course coming up tomorrow over at York with Paul Atkin.  I’m getting a couple of hook tools for bowl turning, and a half day on their use.