May has been a busy month, both with spring pole demonstrations and with regular work. Every two weeks for the last six weeks I have had opportunities to take the lathe on the road locally. For the second year in a row I was at Olde Dover Days and at the Mennonite Spring Festival and Auction. I sold quite a lot of stuff and spoke to new people. All was not well. I had gone to my truck for a moment and when I had started back I saw a young boy who had picked up my trimming axe and was trying to chop wood with it. The handle is designed for close, vertical trimming strokes. Long chopping strokes could just as easily land the blade against your leg or knee. Fortunately, no harm was done and I took the time to remind him of the lessons he had from home about getting into other people’s property. My own lesson is to be sure my tools are secure before turning my attention away from them in a public place. Again not well was an elderly gentleman who was fairly upset with the idea that I was doing such nice work with such poor materials. I went through the steps of splitting the wood on the radius in order to interrupt the circular shrinkage that causes splitting and I assured him that all the turnings on display were done in this manner but I don’t think he quite accepted the idea.
Interestingly, I found my self continuing several conversations from last year, especially with regard to not having much of any use for mulberry wood.
I have begun bringing a sash-frame saw which I can attach to the lathe bed. It works with the pole in an up and down motion. I have used it for sawing out slab seats for stools as well as for parting spoon turnings down the correct center. I have tried to split out two spoon halves from a turning but I seem to always end up with a round handled spoon and a “turtle” shape. Jonas Miller asked about the saw set up so I went through the whole process: splitting, turning, sawing, and finally carving the bowl in a piece of holly. In the end, I traded the spoon for some yew he had brought to show me.
Finally, at the end of the Mennonite Festival, there was one fellow with whom I had a long running conversation on many woodworking topics including (ugh) sharpening. Having now been set on by this fellow and my oldest son about sharpening, I have redeveloped my means and methods for sharpening which I will give further details about in my next blog entry.
As far as I know, I don’t have any events scheduled until sometime in July. If any thing comes up, I’ll be posting it here.