Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Project Pictures

The three projects I am working on.
The Birds Eye Maple Burl Bowl is coming along nicely. I have pretty much finished carving it out and am ready to start with the tedious part of finishing it. Lots of sanding to remove the imperfections.
The burl table top, I have polished out the chain saw marks and given it a couple of coats of Tung Oil. The grain is amazing. I still have to figure out how I am going to mount it. and whether I want to remove the bark. Oh well, no hurry, no worry.
The platter I have not done much work on, but you can see the nice grain in the wood.
Yesterday I was in town so I stopped by the Stihl dealer and ordered an Alaska Mill. That is an attachment to your chain saw that lets you turn trees into lumber, and seeing as I have about three acres of trees, I think it will come in handy.
One thought I have is that there is this puny little deck out front made out of Trex decking. It would look pretty terrific if I rebuilt it in Maple. Who do you know that has a deck made out of Maple?

Monday, October 10, 2016


My work on the fancy Burl bowl is progressing slowly. It takes a long time to remoe the excess material. How do you make a burl bowl? Take a burl and remove all the stuff that isn't bowl.
I have the bowl in reasoable shape now and have begun to do the finishing work. I am always looking at it and wondering: "Should I thin it more?" Then get distracted by some imperfection that needs to be worked out. There are a lot of imperfections that need to be worked out yet. I guess the question of how much I need to pare the walls will be worked out as I clean up the gouges and scratches.
The 14" platter I have not worked on very much. I McGivered it a bit. I took my palm random orbital sander and clamped the electrical cord in the vise, then positioned the platter just so, then turned it on and when I was sure it woud remain in one place, left it running and unattended while I worked on the butl bowl. It worked pretty good, havind sanded down the middle of the platter about a quarter inch., then I repositioned the sander a little and set it off again. SLowly working to sand dowm the middle of the platter.
The big piece of burl I have given a couple of soats of tung oil to bring out the grain. It looks incredible. The grain is fascinating and varied. Curly here, flame there and bird's eye in other places. I am wracking my brains on how to mount it to make it a useable table. I have set aside some twisty roots and limbs that I can maybe make a stand out of, but haven't gotten any further in design than "I sorta want to build a tripod table support out of natural stuff" that will copliment and show off the table. I also might geet a piece of glass cut to place over it to protect and display it. Guess I'll just have to wait for the inspiration to hit,

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

I've been shot

Last January while clearing some land by hand, with a mattock, I popped my left sholder partly out of joint. It never dislocated, just pulled slightly out of joint. As a result I developed bursitis in my sholder, which the pain clinic treated with cortisone. It didn't do much good.
When I went to my regular doctor and complained that I was still in a lot of pain, he referred me to the Orthopedic Clinic here in Sequim.
The verdict is moderate arthritis. No surprise. I was diagnosed with traumatic arthritis in that sholder almost 50 years ago, and it has flared up occasionally ever since. But not cntinuously for extended periods of time.
The verdict was basically live with it, get a cortisone shot when it gets bad.
The Doc went and got a big long needle and a ottle of coortisone.
This process is a little more difficult that the subcutaneous cortisone shot I got at the pain clinic.
They have to feed the needle between the solder bone and the socket, which is difficult because the arthritis has narrowed the clearance between the two bones.
They had a bit of trouble finding the right spot. When they did it hurt like hell, but I guess that's how they know they are in the right spot.
It takes several days for you to get the full benefit of the shot, but the sholder is much better now. Now that it has been diagnosed and treated, in the future all I have to do is call it in if I get bad again.
Hopefully it will be another almost fifty years, but I'm not too optimistic that I will still be around in fifty years, or that the treatment will be effective that long.
The other possibility is sholder replacement if nothing else will help, but I'm not exactly standing up and volunteering for that.
Perhaps it is time to consider slowing down a little, after all, I am 68.
Nah, that would be boring.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Burl Bowl 2

Here is my second burl bowl. Considerably more difficult than the first. . About the size of a half a coconut. The wall is pretty thin.
The grain is nice in places, but nothing spectacular. Tung oil finish.
Things always seem to expand over time. I started out small, am getting bigger and more complex with each endeavor.
I am currently working on three more projects. A burl bowl the size of a fruit bowl. with some incredible Bird's eye grain. It will take a quite a while to do, but it will look incredible when done.
The second is a 14" platter with some really interesting grain.
The last is a 24 X 30" flat piece with some incredible birds eye grain. I will need to figure out how to mount it on some kind of base so I can use it as a side table. That will take some creativity. I have already smoothed out the table top and the grain is spectacular.
These will keep me out of trouble over the Fall and maybe into Winter.
The burl and the table top came off of the same stump. A maple I cut down last month. If the table top is that nice, the matching piece left on the stump should be just as nice.

Friday, September 23, 2016


My latest creation, a ladle, with a normal sized teaspoon thrown in for perspective.
The grain of the wood in the handle is incredible.
I recently cut down a good sized maple for firewood, and it is the source for the wood I have been using.
Yesterday I went out and started looking at the stump, and it appears that the whole base has some nice looking carving material.
I took my brand new chain saw out and cut off one burl, and the grain is incredible. Birds eye with flame grain. It is so pretty I am hesitant to carve on it. I rough sanded the face of it to bring out the grain, now I need to figure out what to do with it without wrecking the grain.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Burl Bowl !

So here is my first burl bowl.
It is about the size of my open hand.
The decoration is a hand blown glass marble that we picked up at a glass place in Canon Beach. I made the bowl specifically to display the marble
The wood is burl maple.
I have been keeping my eye out for good pieces of fancy grained Maple for some time, and every time I come across some I set it aside. I now have quite a stack of fancy grained wood set aside.
Wood whittling will be a good fall/winter passtime that will keep me out of trouble and will make some beautiful and usefull items.
 I am just about finished with a second bowl, about the size of a cereal bowl, and just started cleaning up a bigger burl, about the sixr of a fruit bowl.
I also cut a quartersawnn a slab out if piece of Maple that has some outstanding fiddleback grain to it. I think it will make a beautiful platter.
Down at the Northeast corner of the property there is a Cedar that has a large growth on it about the size and shape of an elephant seal Nose. I will wait until I have a better idea what to do with it before I harvest it.
Lots of fun times sitting out in the garage listening to my bleus collection whittlin' on wood coming.
Come on by and set a spell.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Farm Truck

Whatever happened to that staple of the American Spirit, the Farm Truck?
On the farm in Idaho we always had at least one farm truck. No frills, basic, a tool for gettin' her done, with the minimum amount of fuss.
Usually they were Fords, but not always, a few Chebbies thrown in the mix.
I was in the mall (an hour away from where I Ive in Sequim, Wa.) and there was a new truck for sale. You know the type. Extended bed double cab four wheel drive with a zillion dollar stereo system and air conditioning behemoth. Able to haul a double wide vacation trailer AND a trailered boat, or enough quads for a football team. I hated it the moment I saw it, and when I got a glance at the sticker I about had a heart attack right there in front of the J.C. Penny.
A behemoth with a price tag to boot. It was pushing sixty grand, on sale.
No one offers a basic no frills farm truck any more. Every one of them has enough gadgets you need to read a three hounded page instruction manual just to understand ll the frills. Well, I don't want or need all that crap, but if you want a truck you are going to get it whether you like it or not. The truck manufacturers have in their arrogance decided what we need, and by God they are going to give it too us whether we like it or not.
A basic truck should come with a torquey six, four speed manual transmission with a granny gear. it should have a full size bed, be able to do freeway speed and get 20 mpg city, 28 highway. Radio optional. It should have a set of good all terrain tires and a radiator big enough to keep it cool all day long hauling a load ( which should be at least a ton).
Price tag around twenty grand. Not going to make the manufacturer a ton on each vehicle, but I bet you could make it up on volume.
At least as an alternative offer a mid sized truck. I run a '97 S10 pickup with modified suspension so it will haul a ton. Four cylinder, 25 Miles per Gallon. I don't think there is anything on the market that could replace it. I don't need to haul a boat or trailer, just go into Home Depot and get enough lumber to build something small. If I need more, I will have it delivered.
But when it comes time to replace it, I would sure love to be able to go to a dealer and buy an honest-to-God farm truck.