Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tired Jim Is Hideously Tired

It probably has something to do with the headache I’ve had all damned day.

Even an hour on the lathe after work didn’t help. Much.


So here, have a picture of some turned birdhouses instead of an actual post.


The one on the left is zebrawood, with the perch and roof made from Brazilian rosewood.  The one on the right is holly with a spalted birch sombrero roof. 

A lot of turners make these in miniature, usually as Christmas tree decorations. These are full sized, with holes cut for finch sized birds and as they are intended for actual use, they’re finished in simple bee’s wax.

Turned birdhouse are fun and good practice on the lathe.

Speaking of lathes, I’ve been working on the new lathe and sooner or later I’ll get around to doing a pictorial on it.  It’s a massive cast iron machine made by Delta.  It’s 30 years old, but I got it “new” still bolted to its shipping skid and packed in cosmoline (a thick grease used to preserve machinery and weapons).  I’ve spent the last two weeks installing, adjusting, and tuning it.  One of the things I find simply amazing about it is how smooth and precise it is – and quiet. When it’s running I can barely hear it.  And massive as the machine is it allows for some very large turnings, but it also allows me to do some very, very small and precise work – like that rosewood perch on the zebrawood birdhouse. That perch is only about size of a large cribbage peg (speaking of which, I turned some cribbage pegs tonight as well, just because I could).

Anyway, that’s all you’re going to get tonight.

I’m beat, my head hurts, and I’m going to bed.

Good night.


  1. I would like to buy one of these (not necessarily these exact ones, but one like it) for my aunt and uncle. How much we talkin', hideously tired Jim?

  2. Those are amazing.

    The birds around here, who disagree loudly over who sits in which branch in any given tree, would have an all out battle for one of those.

    And the small bird that crashed into my patio door earlier and sat there stunned for a while just hopped up and flew away. After doing a careful pre-flight check to make sure all the important flying parts worked! Think it was one of the thrasher varieties, I'll have to look it up later.

  3. very cool - I am amazed at how smooth they are. I understand that a spinning lathe will get things nice and round, but how do you get several inches of smooth wood without any grooves?

    I picture myself with the cutter, making it smaller and smaller and smaller trying to get rid of any grooves until I had a toothpick.

  4. hehheh - some of us start out that way, Mark - it's mostly practice and using your tool rest.

    Here's a couple ways, though.
    Skew technique

    Roughing gouge / Skew

    hmph - now I can't wait to get home from work...

  5. Mark,

    What Karl said. The zebrawood one I did using the roughing gouge/skew technique. The holly was done using a bowl scraper. Both roofs were done with scrapers.

    Janiece, I sent you an email.

  6. Wendy, that wasn't a thrasher -- it was a crasher.

    Lord, I crack myself up something fierce sometimes.

    Dr. Phil

  7. Actually, at one point it was both!!

    ::wanders off doing best Groucho impression::

  8. Wow. I like the one on the right best. It's like something you'd see hanging in the game Riven.

  9. Jim,

    I'm with Janiece - those are gorgeous and if I could afford them, I'd buy them as gifts for various friends.

    Do you have a price list?

    Lauren in Los Angeles

  10. Stressed out (and potentially influenzal) neurondoc really wants that zebrawood one, or one just like it. I don't care what TheHusband says. Send me the price and I'll send you the money. Me want.

  11. Since Janiece spoke first she gets the Zebrawood birdhouse, which will be on its why to her shortly.

    I'll be making a bunch more of these this week. Those of you who are interested in purchasing one, I'll put up a listing with pictures and price this weekend. OK?

  12. Doc, I'll have a couple more zebrawood pieces (even better than Janieces'. shhhh, don't tell her).


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