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I have wanted to turn one of these for ages and finally got around to doing it.


with some good and some spalted cherry and finished with a lot of bits.

Unfortunately I forgot to get a photo of the wood before I started.


really difficult to do, but accuracy is essential. This next one is

using my Jacobs chuck to ease the split tube out so that the end ring

can be glued in place. It stops everything falling off

Lining up the pins is a bit hairy


gald that I decided on just 12 letters on each ring. There was no way

that I was going to do 25 and not even 24 as my index ring on my chuck

would allow. I just chose the letters I wanted for my key and chucked a

load more in to fill the gaps. The pyrography of the letters was easy

but 12 was enough. 3 on the end fixed ring but only one of them is the


I love the spalting of that cherry, but it doesn't take anything away from the lettering. And now I have a nice new cryptex

For those that don't know what spalting is, it's the start of the rotting of the wood and the discolouration is caused by fungi and it can be anything from almost white to black. It is necessary to wear a good mask to filter out the fungi spores when turning as it can be quite nasty. I have a full face positive pressure mask that does that trick well. It protects my face from getting any worse when anything flies off the lathe too [:-))]

This is quite a good example of the black. It's the shade and top of the lamp I made for our MacBook desk. LED lights have allowed this sort of thing because of the lack of heat produced


The lamp base is a box to hold some of the external HDDs for the MacBook.

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It has taken me 22 years to get here Judith and I still make loads of mastikes [:-))] The next time I get a bit of wood come flying past me tête will not be the first or last!!

We now have 3 of those lamps and one is a standard lamp that stands about 6 foot high stood up straight. It really is wonderful to be able to use something that I have made and use it every day. Every where you look in our house there are lumps of wood. Even in the loo!!

This is the standard type lamp, but it doesn't show it ti its best


Ta Cajal, I just love doing it..

Edit : - One of the things I forgot to say and I have said it before. One of the wonders of turning is that it's impossible to make any two things the same. The wood is a living thing and every bit is different. Plus, although you can see the form when you are turning it you only really see what you have when you stop the lathe and see the grain and colouring. It's magical!

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Just to balance all the wonderful stuff that J-J has been showing us, I thought I would show 'n tell a failure


My plan was to make a 'Primitive' bow  ie one carved from one piece of wood.

I selected and cut a sapling then set about it with nothing more than a sheath knife.  To give an idea of size, it's about 60 inches long.

So, after much carving and tillering (that is getting the limbs to bend and hold a bend), I made a string and tried it.

First I used bow scales which told me that it's 30 lb at 28 inch.  A bit less than I would like but hey-ho

Then it was time to use it.  It was at my club so everyone was watching.  I nocked an arrow and pulled it to my draw length of 29.5 inch

There was a resounding CRACK and I now have what looks like a very large coathanger.

Ah well, try again

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That's the reason Pierre. Beech is lovely hard and doesn't move very much and I would hazard a guess at not bending too well either [:-))]

This might be a help? Both holly and box are mentioned and box especially grows all over the place around here. In fact our neighbour gave me a box branch this afternoon. Not big, but bone dry and a nice piece.

Hawthorn should be available around you??

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That is a super website J-J, I have bookmarked it, thank you.

I have no end of holly, hawthorn and elder but had never considered them before. I wonder if I can get out and cut something next weekend of will the sap already have risen? I also have a quantity of cherry but I have no idea how that would behave.

I'm aiming (pardon the pun) for a bow of approx 70 inches, pulling around 55 lbs.  That's what my English Longbow is and I'm comfortable  with that.   I've also had requests for American flatbows but one thing at a time!  I once pulled a warbow of 220 lbs (after proper instruction) but the effort nearly killed me !

As an aside, I suppose that ash will be available in great quantities soon due to the regrettable ash die-back disease .

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Pierre, just an idea about branch wood for a bow?

If you get a long-ish branch of about 3" or so diameter and look at the growth rings you will see that they aren't concentric. They are more compressed at the bottom of the branch and spread out towards the top surface. Due to the weight of the branch. Would that assist in giving a bow more strength??

This is the sort of thing I mean. Not too good an example, but it would make a lovely bow if it were a bit longer I think

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Another great website, thanks.

The section of that piece of yew illustrates perfectly why it is such a good material for a bow. The off-set growth rings means you can split and select the best piece. The heartwood is good in compression for the belly of the bow (the side facing the archer) and the sapwood is good in tension for the back of the bow (the side facing away).  The website also mentions cypress as a related wood and I have some nice seasoned staves of that....if I can just remember where I put them [:'(]

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  • 6 months later...
We went over to the S/W U.K. a couple of weeks back to see family there.

We wanted to take something for a good friend who lost her husband a

year back and as he was a real star I thought of this

The star is made from the piece that came from the moon's centre.


the ballance between the 2 was tricky, but I am very pleased with the

result. The wood is leylandii and came from one of the trees (82 of the

things) that I had to cut down. The first time I turned it I was really

surprised at how lovely the grain is. So it ain't all bad as a tree ?
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I have the lathe that would be fine for a 2 piece que, but it would not be too easy to get just right.

You would need to find out who selld the kits (brass joining threads, etc.) and I would probably go for some VERY straight grained ash wood. It's the wood most commonly used for tool handles and as well as being stable, when dry, is as tough as old boots as well as looking nice. It takes a nice finish too. Or you could do it this way

I' never made one, but I did use the planing method for another small project


Each one started from 55mm square by 2.5 m long, then planed and sanded to round. 40 curtain rings and the fittings turned and they now hang our lounge curtains in the 5 X 2.2 metre window


SWMBO is very happy with them [8-|]

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I would start with a one piece cue as they always tend to play better. Ferules (the brass bit where the tip is attached) are easy to get hold of.

Ash is good for the shaft but the hardest bit would be splicing the butt i guess. How that is done I have no idea. You would need some nice Ebony or Rosewood for the butt. I have both types of cues but the rosewood is the nicest to look at but the Ebony plays better.

Making cues would be my dream job in another life.
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  • 7 months later...
I've been busy at my hobby again and I saw the light again. Well, for the forth time really. I love turning lamps. Angle poise to be precise and this is the biggest one yet.

Beech stem and arm peices, oak base and leylandii shade. I was given a not very nice looking lump of oak on a visit to a wood supplier in Carcassonne a couple of years back when I bought a couple of beech planks, 2" x 8" x 10' for some other job. I have some of the beech left over, so I decided to make this lamp.

The base is about 12" diameter and took 1/2 of the oak. This is a before/after photo


It turned out better than I had expected. I wanted to hide the cable in this one, apart from the elbows of course. I had to do the upright in 3 sections as my lathe bad is about 3" long, so I cheated with the join by putting a contrasting ring between the bits. It would be very difficult to get the 2 to align perfectly and it looks awful if they don't.


The shaft top knucle was fun too, but it was a good finish


The shade is that stuff that every gardener this side of the pond adores, especially if it's the neighbours ajoining hedge, leylandii! It is lovely to turn though and takes a lovely finish too.


And the completed lamp is now in use each evening in our lounge. But the photo was taken outside before anyone comments


Next? I have a 12" long by about 8" diameter leylandii log on the lathe and I hope to make about 6 small dishes from it. It's good fun as it's all shapes and lumps, but I know there's are lovely dishes hiding in there. All I have to do is dig them out

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  • 3 years later...
Crickey, it's been a long time since I have put anything on here, but what the hell.

I have been busy with all sorts of things in sorting out our new home, mainly in the house, getting the heavier things sorted in the garden like the log store, shed and my workshop. But there now seems to be some kind of light at the end of the tunnel. I hope it ain't a train? [+o(]

I sort of fell into the crocheting field when someone at a craft fair was impressed by a crochet hook I had made. Quite simple but she said that it was nice to look a and comfortable to use. So I made a few

[url=https://flic.kr/p/2iF8cUq][img]https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49669506772_d50ddad11b_k.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/2iF8cUq]IMG_3818[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150763274@N06/]John Fairbairn[/url], on Flickr

[url=https://flic.kr/p/2iF41mz][img]https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49668687473_1e89162c0d_k.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/2iF41mz]IMG_3834[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150763274@N06/]John Fairbairn[/url], on Flickr

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That is very kind of you Norman. I am able to get back to another love too. And that is radio controlled gliders and I am finally getting around to trying to finish a very long project of a 1936 German glider. Only just under 4 metres and a real challenge to build. It will frighten the hell out of me when it comes to chucking it into the wild blue yonder [:-))]

[url=https://flic.kr/p/2jHVm49][img]https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50357499102_6e65963523_k.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/2jHVm49]IMG_4531[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150763274@N06/]John Fairbairn[/url], on Flickr

[url=https://flic.kr/p/2jHUwoJ][img]https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50357338766_3c5fd6822d_k.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/2jHUwoJ]IMG_4530[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150763274@N06/]John Fairbairn[/url], on Flickr

But I haven't forgotten my turning and I have just finished these 3 wine bottle coasters. They are made in black walnut with a little bit of pyrography to set them off

[url=https://flic.kr/p/2jGv9Rc][img]https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50341462221_7d5371368a_k.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/2jGv9Rc]IMG_4581[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150763274@N06/]John Fairbairn[/url], on Flickr

[url=https://flic.kr/p/2jGv9Me][img]https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50341461991_9bad49527e_k.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/2jGv9Me]IMG_4582[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150763274@N06/]John Fairbairn[/url], on Flickr

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I forgot to say that I have made a few of these too.

[url=https://flic.kr/p/2jHVvSC][img]https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50357532132_280cefc5ae_k.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/2jHVvSC]IMG_0313[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/150763274@N06/]John Fairbairn[/url], on Flickr

About 4 now, plus a couple that didn't quite get to the end, BANG! After I did the first I made a second just to make sure it wasn't a fluke? To my surprise the second was good too.

The first, on the left is spalted cherry, cerisier, and the second, right, is wild cherry, merisier. The problem for me is that when I pick up the cerisier jobbie I don't want to put it down again. It is very soothing to play with.

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