Wood Turning

Woodturning Back to Basics #6

Since I get a lot of questions about turning green wood, today’s Back to Basics is about turning a green Madrone bowl.



First of all: if you buy green wood and can’t get to it right away, you can store it in a mixture of dishwashing soap and water to keep it wet while also preventing rot. When you’re done, remember to put the bowl in a bag with the shavings or seal up the wood in some other way to control the drying time of the wood. If it dries too quickly, it may crack — and then all of your work is out the window


I’m also trying out a new bowl gouge in this video from Doug Thompson at Thompson Tools. The grind is a little different from what I’m used to, so there’s some trial and error involved. As with any woodworking tool, start slow, be cautious, and build your skills until you gain some confidence and experience. It will come more quickly than you think.

One of the most fun parts of turning green wood is the big, curly shavings produced. Since the wood is still wet, you get long looping curls of wet wood and relatively little dust. It’s a fun experience.


Look at those curls go!

Once I’ve shaped the outside of the bowl, I turn a tenon on the end. Make the tenon larger than you would on a dried piece of wood, as the chuck will compress it more than you expect. I start out with tailstock support just to be safe, but once I’m sure the outside is trued up, I can pull it away. You should also keep an eye on your chuck and re-tighten it from time to time.

If you do a lot of bowl turning, look into getting a corer. This tool will remove most of the interior wood and keep you from creating so much wasted wood.

If you want a thick bowl, drying is critical. However, if you want a thinner bowl, you can thin out the sides to just over 1/8” and it should dry that way without issue. Mine warped a little bit, but it didn’t crack!


Laser Cut Inlay Christmas Ornament

The Christmas ornament challenge 2016


DIY Lego Frankenstein

Did you know that LEGOs were once made out of wood? The inventor of LEGO, Ole Kirk Christiansen, was a carpenter from Denmark. The original toys were wooden, but switched to plastic in 1947. With this project, I make a LEGO-style Frankenstein figure out of wood.

You might recall from the poisoned apple project that I had some trouble with the top cap. The second attempt looked more like LEGO hair than dripping poison. Of course, that meant I needed to build a LEGO figure to go underneath the hair, and since Halloween is approaching rapidly, Frankenstein seemed like a good choice.
The head is a piece of maple. The turning is rather straightforward (a LEGO head is a rounded cylinder, more or less). I gave my Frankenstein a bit of a brow ridge and used the Lichtenberg burner to add a forehead scar. Other facial details were carved with chisels, and I dyed the wood with Transfast. Don’t forget the neck bolts!
The body is mostly made from walnut. The body required very little work — just some angled cuts and sanding. The arms are maple. I turned the profile of the hands, did some offset turning to add the required angles, then drilled out the centers of the hands and used the oscillating spindle sander to open them up and clean up the edges.
The legs are mostly bandsaw work. Once the profile is cut, you can use the oscillating spindle sander to clean it up.
I joined the pieces with 5/8” dowels. The dowels are only glued on one side, so I can still move the arms and legs of the figure if I want to. This makes our Frankenstein posable to a certain extent (much like actual LEGO figures).
This is another fun Halloween project that keeps to the spirit of the holiday but won’t make children cry. You can use this same basic principle to make any LEGO figure you want, though — it doesn’t have to be a halloween project.
Do you have more ideas for Halloween projects? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for watching!

Lego Frankenstein

Assembly time! This weeks project is a Lego man Frankenstein.


Turning Air Video