Tassie Care Package

Had my folks visit from NZ recently (thus the large chunk of swamp kauri mentioned recently.). They then headed down to Tasmania for a holiday, and made up a bit of a care package for me from there.

Arrived the other day in a big box:


So if you are wondering why there is a stamp shortage in Tasmania, now you know why!

Inside was this collection, which I now have to decide how best to use it


Combination of Huon Pine (the large pieces), Myrtle, King Billy Pine.
There are some light markings on one piece of Myrtle that almost looks like the fabled Tiger Myrtle.

So thanks :). Sorry you had to read that it arrived safely from my blog, but you know, slack son!  Did try ringing – you really need broadband.

A Simple Form

With both a new chuck, and a new German spindle gouge (Hamlet brand) from Carbatec, I felt inspired to try another turning.  Looking around the shed, I spied a round of Huon Pine that I bought a couple of years ago, with the intention of turning a bowl when I felt confident enough not to completely waste the timber.

Just as an aside, I like the German gouge, but the SuperNova2 is faulty – too much runout for what is meant to be a high quality tool.  Guess Teknatool shouldn’t have outsourced manufacturing to China.  (Teknatool is a New Zealand company, and the products used to be made on those green shores).  So the new chuck will be getting exchanged – hope the next one is better.  If you are curious, I tried a number of different jaw sets on this chuck, then on a G3 (using the same insert), and the difference in runout was quite noticeable.   The extra amount of problem I had in turning this bowl, with the blank trying to jump all over the place. But I still got there 😉

Mounted Huon Blank

I started in my normal way – attaching the mounting ring to the top face, then gripping it in the chuck jaws. The blank was actually too big for my lathe, so needed to cut away about 10-15mm of the diameter on the bandsaw just to get it to fit.  With the blank mounted, I only had a mm or so clearance to to tool rest when I first started turning.  I really need that bigger lathe!

Offcuts from the Size Tweak

Offcuts from the Size Tweak

Shaping the Base

Shaping the Base

The base started getting shaped, working the tool rest around the bowl to continue to have the chisel at the right angle to the bowl (there is no curved rest for this sized lathe).

Finishing the Base

Finishing the Base

The base is fully shaped, sanded and finished, with a dovetailed cavity cut to fit the jaws when the bowl is reversed.  Not sure what happened next – guess I got carried away with what I was doing – forgot to take another photo until the bowl was completed!  In the background here, you can see the Microclene air filtration unit keeping me safe from the dust.

Some Shavings

Some Shavings

There wasn’t a huge pile of shavings after this job – enough to see some work had been done!

What was, and what's inside

What was, and what's inside

The bowl is finished using the Ubeaut rotary sander, working from 80 grit through to 320, then with a combination of EEE and Shellawax cream to get a polished finish.

Resulting Polished Bowl

Resulting Polished Bowl

So my first real, traditionally shaped bowl.  The wall thickness may be a bit more than I’d like, but that comes down to experience and practice.

A Traditional Form

A Traditional Form

Although Huon Pine is reasonably plain, it still has plenty of subtle details, and this piece also had a knot to one side.  During the turning, I found the knot had started floating, so before it had a chance to dislodge completely, I stabilised it with Cyanoacrylate (SuperGlue) and accelerator.

Detail in the Timber

Detail in the Timber

Turning on a lathe is a very satisfying process, and you can typically come away with a fully finished product by the end of a session.

Spigot Turning

I mentioned recently that I found myself with a set of spigot jaws for my Nova lathe chuck. So I decided to find out what all the fuss was about, and try them out. (Made in New Zealand 🙂 )

Without going into much detail yet (have more to learn myself!), the spigot jaws can grip the end of a round blank very tightly, allowing you to work on the side, and end of the blank, without using a tailstock.

I first mounted the blank between centres and turned it round, and roughly shaped what I hoped was a goblet. The timber was Huon pine, purchased so I could experiment and have the only problems I come across being my errors, rather than some difficulties from the timber itself clouding the issues.

Next, it was mounted in the spigot jaws (and already I can see why people buy more than one chuck, just so they don’t have to keep swapping jaws over!)

Cutting a long story short (and leaving out all the catches etc that I had), this is what I managed to finish with:


For a first effort, I’m pretty happy with it, but I still have a long way to go.

It isn’t an egg cup, but here is a photo with one, just so you get an idea of scale!


(And no, it isn’t a Moa or a Kiwi egg)!

Bandsawn Castles

One of my work colleagues bought one in for me to have a look at. I have a book with plans for a few, but had never seen one in-person before, so thought I’d put some photos of it here for you as well.


This one starts off as any other lump of branch, with a few bandsawn squiggles running through it. (The base is cut off initially, and glued back at the end.) The timber is Tasmanian Huon Pine.


Here you can just make out that the cuts have been made at a slight angle – 1/2 to 1 degree or so.


When you open it up (basically by tipping it upside down), the castle suddenly appears! (The windows have been burnt in with a pyrography pen) What I like is different layers of the castle have different amounts of extension, because of the variation in the angle they were cut. Very clever and effective!


This last view is from the back, just to give you a better idea on how it all works.

Tool-of-the-Month (January 08)

The tool for January 08 is more of an accessory than a tool in its own right, but I felt it deserved its place never-the-less.

It is a magnetic storage rack, really simple concept, and a breeze to mount, with just a couple of screws. I got mine from Carbatec for about $30.

As you can see here, I have it mounted near the lathe, and it happily keeps all my turning chisels in easy access, and neater than they have ever been!


I will probably mount a bit of a stop below each chisel to discourage them from slipping down, but at this stage the magnet is strong enough to grip all the chisels with no assistance. (On the end is the key for my lathe chuck). I thought there might be some problem holding the round chisels, especially the large bowl gouge, and I’d have to have the roughing gouge the other way around, but my concerns came to naught – this magnet has plenty of gauss.

Given how successful this first magnetic storage rack works, I will definitely keep it in mind for future solutions. Just remember if you buy one to keep it away from the credit cards!

FWIW, the lathe seen in the photo above is a Jet Mini Lathe. It currently has a bit of huon pine mounted that I was practicing on.

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