Monday, October 23, 2023

A quick repair on my Northstar Slab Roller

 How can it be that a month has passed since I posted anything here? 

It's not like I've been sitting on the couch, watching football... ok, maybe on Sundays... but I've been pretty busy! 

In addition to a couple of current commissions, I've been making a ton of tile lately. Here are some of my favorite (older) tile that I am re-creating. 

Hopefully - I'll come up with some nice pieces to put in a table I'm building. 

I love using texture mats to stamp designs into the wet clay! 

It makes the glaze behave so much better. 

And these autumn leaves remind me of how much I love this time of the year. 

But the other morning, I was working on some slabs, when my slab roller started acting jiggy. As the rollers would turn, I noticed something odd happening.

Years ago, my friend Dave put a motor on my slab roller, which saves me from hand-cranking a giant wheel to make slabs. 

 This motor revolutionized my tile making - it is reversible and saves me SO much energy and time. 

So when the roller started behaving weirdly, it was time to figure out the issue. I pulled off the cover that protects the gears, 

and sure enough! I found a broken tooth! 

 No, not like this! 

Like this! 

That top right one has a broken tooth. I have no idea why I had a spare gear in my shop,   

but the slab gods must have been looking down on me!  

Within ten minutes or so, the broken gear was slipped off, and replaced with the new one.

 I'm so curious if a new one can be 3D printed or not - I guess I'll hit up my buddy Rick to see what he thinks. He's my go-to guy with 3D printing questions.  

But for now, I'm back in business - rolling out slabs and making more tile.  

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

Awash in Walnut

 My shop is still swamped with Walnut, and I've been fooling around with coopered designs.  This storage stool  is about 18" tall, and can double as a seat, if needed. 

This one is much taller, and I'm still working on the lid for it.

What's a coopered design, you asked? Here's a pretty good explanation, click here.

But like I said - I'm awash in walnut, and a shop visitor asked me to turn some stool legs for him. As always - challenge accepted. 

Those legs were easy enough to make, but it's been a while since I cut a wedge slot. So I did a little research, and found this: 

Cutting the slot in the leg spindle can be a little tricky - I made a jig that the leg sits in perfectly.

Then I ran the jig through the saw, thus cutting a perfect 1/8" slot in each leg. I still need to drill a relief hole at the bottom of each slot. 

But each slot is perfect!

 I cut a few wedges, and glued the legs in place. After drying overnight, the extra tenon needed a trim.

My wedged leg was proud of the seat by a quarter-inch, and required trimming. I've always felt this step is pretty tricky - in the past,  I've trimmed them with a router, but that's tricky.

And when you see people just sawing away on a tenon, I cringe.  Let's say the chance for chipout is high. So I applied some duct tape around the tenon, which not only protects the seat top, but allows me to trim the tenon just a hair above the seat. 

Here's the important part - as I was sawing, I rotated the saw around the outside of the tenon, so I was always cutting toward the center. This way, you eliminate tear-out or chipping around the tenon edge. 

Viola~ no chip out! 

A little sanding makes this looks amazing. 

I turned a few more legs while listening to a podcast - and I'm getting pretty damn quick about it. 

When this seat gets oiled, it's going to be ridiculous!

Sooner or later, I'll be running out of walnut, but for now - you can find me at the lathe, making more legs. I have a few thoughts about some future stools I'd like to make, and I might as well use up those Walnut thin rips.