Archive for April, 2010

Turning Balls on a Lathe

Lathe work is so fun and exciting! If you’re looking for a new woodworking project, consider turning some balls. It’s fun to do and you can thoroughly entertain your children with this project.

There are lots of things that you can do with turned balls. You can create decorative accents for vases, mobiles, a marble set for the kids, use them to create stems on handmade wineglasses, cabinet and drawer knobs, a working universe model, or create a handmade wine bottle stopper; the possibilities are really endless! Just use your imagination and think of all the crafty things you can do with wooden balls.

First you need to choose the type of wood that you will use. Basically, the harder the wood, the less indention you will see from the wood turning lathe attachment. The wood is held in place by a circular mechanism, so sometimes you will get a circular indention on one or both ends of the ball. Some lathe attachments don’t mark up the balls as much as others, but really it depends on the type of wood that you use.

Start off with a center mounted block of wood. Use a gouge tool to get started and skew chisel to turn your block into a smooth cylinder. Be especially careful with the skew chisel, as it is considered to be very dangerous. If this is your first time using one, go very slowly and wear protective clothing and face protection. Skew chisels can easily dig into the wood and spring from your hand. Review the proper techniques for using a skew chisel before you begin. Practice before you turn on the lathe. The skew chisel should be very sharp and produce a long thin ribbon of wood when you’re doing it correctly. You may have to attempt to create your cylinder several times until you really get the hang of the skew chisel.

Use a caliper to measure the diameter of the cylinder, making sure that it is the same all the way around. Then turn the caliper ninety degrees and mark the cylinder for the width of the ball making sure that it is exactly the same as the diameter. Measure for the center of the wood section that is to become your ball. Mark it with a pencil all the way around.

Measure half-way between the outside boundary marks and your center line. Use the pencil to mark this point so that the center of the cylinder is now divided into three sections. Use a gouge tool to cut from these new lines down to the boundaries, sloping out at forty-five degrees. Continue to work your way down so that the cylinder becomes more and more like a ball trapped between two blocks. You may need to remark your center line at this point.

Cut the ball loose and use a ball drive to hold the ball steady. Mount it with the center line vertical. Work your way around smoothing as you go. You can look for shadows to spot areas that aren’t perfectly round yet. Take the ball off, rotate it so that the center line is horizontal, and repeat the smoothing process. Use fine grit sandpaper, rotating the ball ninety degrees again and again until the ball is smooth.

This technique is used for making balls. You can use the cylinder technique to create cylinders, dowel rods, or dowels of custom diameter. Remember to be safe!

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc. which manufactures wood products in Ohio. Good Wood, Inc. makes dowels and dowel rods, wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import dowels from off-shore suppliers when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for your wood product needs.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Wooden Toy Craze

Classic toys have always been the favorites of parents. We love the nostalgia of seeing our children play with the same things that we did. Simple toys, like the hula hoop, balls, and yo-yos have been consistently popular through many decades. These classics go through waves of popularity and always hold a special place in many people’s hearts.

Lately, parents have been shying away from electronic toys. They feel like it’s time to get back to the basics. Wooden toys are great for passing down to the next generation, or reselling when a child has outgrown them. Wooden trains, blocks and puzzles are among the most popular wooden toys. Wooden doll houses and doll furniture are also the favorites of many children.

If you would like to take it a step further, you can actually build and paint your own wooden toys. These keepsakes are sure to be treasured by you and your children. Woodworking is a hobby that many people would like to get into but don’t know where to start. Building simple toys is a good way to get your feet wet and learn how to use some of the equipment used in woodworking.

Most people start with blocks because they are usually a quick and easy project. You can cut any size wood to make blocks. Just be sure that you don’t use pressure treated wood or lead paint when you make your blocks. You can make blocks of all sizes and then make blocks with special shapes. Arches, columns and triangles are popular pieces. Use a thick dowel to make columns or cylindrical pieces. Dowels come in a variety of diameters, so you can pick which ones go best with the rest of your blocks.

You can use a lathe to turn pieces of dowel into intricate doll house porch columns or to make interesting blocks that can’t be found anywhere else. You can paint them with interesting colors and patterns, or even personalize them with a child’s name to turn them into a treasured heirloom.

When you’re done with your blocks, trains, or whatever you make, consider making a container for them. A tool box style carrying case for blocks and trains is convenient for storage, travel, and is also great for protecting toys that you want to keep in good condition. A dowel rod makes for a great handle. Paint and personalize the box that goes with the toys so that everything matches. Handmade wooden toys always make treasured gifts and are enjoyed by everyone!

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc. which manufactures wood products in Ohio. Good Wood, Inc. makes dowels and dowel rods, wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import dowels from off-shore suppliers when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for your wood product needs.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Safety in Woodworking

Woodworking can be a very enjoyable pastime, but it does have some risks. Risks can come from the equipment, the wood, the environment, or just about anywhere. It is important to put safety first when working on a project, no matter how simple it may seem to you. Here is a list of common injuries. Review them carefully so that you are aware of what could happen while you’re working with wood.

1) Cuts are probably the most common woodworking injury. Severe cuts and lacerations can occur if you slip or carelessly use a chisel, saw, router or blade. Use protective gloves and take your time to avoid serious injury.

2) Equipment malfunction can cause saw blades and drill or router bits to fragment and shoot off in a lot of different directions. Wear “work” clothes made of thick canvas and protective eye gear to minimize your injuries that could occur if this happens to you.

3) Eye injuries are very common. Splintering wood, sawdust, metal fragments and even dangerous fumes can be in the air while you’re working with wood. It is a good idea to always wear safety goggles while tackling a woodworking project.

4) Toxic substances can be found in finishes and different types of treated wood. These substances can be inhaled. It is important to know exactly what you are working with before you begin. A good respirator can be a very wise investment. Even if you’re working outdoors a respirator should be worn. Inhaling the wrong things can do permanent damage or even cause death.

5) Beware of unknown allergens. Sometimes woodworkers don’t know that they are allergic to a type of wood until they cut it, handle it, or accidentally inhale some of the dust. This can cause a serious allergic reaction that may require immediate medical attention. Always keep a phone handy just in case you need to dial 911.

6) Electrocution should be a concern if you’re working with power tools. Always be careful when you plug in power tools. Make sure that you have plenty of slack in the cord. Make sure that the cord does not have any frayed edges or exposed wire. If you’re questioning the safety of a power tool, it’s probably best to replace it.

7) Fire hazards are often all around a woodworking shop. Sawdust and chalk can cause a spark to shoot out of an outlet. Keep outlet covers on outlets that are not in use. Oily rags, solvents, and finishing chemicals can ignite if not disposed of and stored properly.

Woodworking can be a wonderful, lifelong, hobby. Learning different techniques for joinery, like using dowels or dowel rods and mortise and tenon joint basics can help you to create a wide variety of items. Putting safety first is important as you embark on your woodworking journey.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc. which manufactures wood products in Ohio. Good Wood, Inc. makes dowels and dowel rods, wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import dowels from off-shore suppliers when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for your wood product needs.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »