Oak Corner Blocks

A former coworker contacted me recently and asked if I could make some corner blocks for baseboard trim for an older home that he is fixing up. The previous owner had replaced some plaster and lathe walls with drywall and as a result the existing trim as just a tiny bit short at the corners. He hoped to make up the difference with corner blocks.

This was a new experience for me.

I purchased four 2x2x36 inch blocks of oak at Lowes.

Then I cut them into approximately 1 foot lengths.

The oak sticks from Lowes were nominal 2x2s but they measured 1-1/2×1-1/2, so I trimmed them on my table saw. I took 1/4 inch off them which left a rough sawn surface. It may be time to replace the blade on my table saw.

So I ran them across the joiner to clean them up.

After I got all 12 blocks cleaned up, I glued them together in pairs with kraft paper between them. I used Titebond glue.

After they cured overnight, I cleaned up one side of each pair on the joiner, and glued pairs together with kraft paper between them.

After these set overnight, I cleaned up all the faces on the joiner. It took only one or two passes on most of the surfaces.

After the blocks were cleaned up I trimmed each end on the miter saw and then marked and drilled the center on each end. The center was pretty easy to determine. It was the joint where all four sticks came together.

While I was waiting for the glue to dry, I turned a couple test blocks to work out the design I wanted to use. Shown below was the first test. Neither I nor the customer was happy with this.

The second test showed promise, and I knew what improvements I needed to make on the final product. The customer gave the nod and away we went.

To turn them I mounted the blocks of four sticks glued together between centers. I used a steb center on the drive end and a 1/2 inch pointed center on the tailstock end. I marked guide lines on the wood at 1 inch from the end, 1-1/4 inch from the end and 2-1/4 inch from the end.

The guide lines allowed me to see what I wanted to do while the block was turning.

While I had them mounted on the lathe I used my air sander to clean up the surface from the joiner marks and the glue joints.

The design was a bead from the 1-inch mark to the top, a cove at the 1/4 inch mark and a rounded shoulder that started at the 2-1/4 inch mark and rounded in to the cove. Here is a finished block.

I got all three of them turned and they looked pretty close – as the customer said, you can only see one corner at a time, any way.

Next, came the moment of truth, would the block really part nicely at the kraft paper seam? I used a 1 inch chisel and a mallet.

I’m happy to say that they did, and I ended up with 12 corner blocks that were surprisingly similar both in length, squareness and appearance.

Acorn Boxes

Recently I have made a number of acorn boxes. I listed the first few on Etsy and they sold quickly, so I made another batch of 4 which sold out as well. Currently I am up to 17 of them and counting.

Chasing Threads

I have wanted to try chasing threads for some time and found a used set of thread chasing tools on line over the past winter. I’m not sure which brand they are – the tool is one piece of steel with a “female: end and a “male” end, that reverses in the handle. While using the tool a plastic screw that threads directly into the handle tightens against the steel.

The femaie thread chaser.
The male thread chaser.

A couple weeks ago I was able to try them out. I made a little elm jar and glued pieces of PVC pipe into place on the lid and into the neck of the jar. With beginners luck, I was able to achieve usable threads and almost perfect grain alignment between the lid and the jar.

Large Black Walnut Bowl Rough-out

I got a start on a large black walnut bowl this afternoon. A friend of mine was over to borrow my lathe for something else and he helped me get it mounted onto the lathe when he was done but before he left. The first view is from the rear.

Mounted on
        Lathe

This blank after it was prepared measured almost 18 by 20 inches. Obviously a bowl is round so the largest it could be is limited by the smaller dimension. The next view is one “end” of the blank. The wood had sat unsealed for a week since the blank was prepared, so there are small checks in the wood. These will turn out.

Walnut2

This is the other “end” of the blank.

Walnut 3

The next pic is after about 4 minutes or so of turning, just trying to get the blank round and in balance.

Walnut 4

After another few minutes – the blank is much more balanced, but is not yet round – still oblong.

Walnut 5

After some more time, the bowl is now shaped. The bottom needs some work to be able to mount the bowl into a chuck to hollow the bowl.

Walnut 6

The other side of the bowl showing a mix of the sapwood and heartwood. To be honest, the sap from the heartwood will bleed into the sapwood as it dries and turn it black/brown. There will be some contrast between the sapwood and heartwood when it is finished, but not as drastic as it appears in these photos.

Walnut 7

Here is shown after a little more work. It’s difficult to see, but the right side of the bowl now has the “tenon” shaped up for the chuck to clamp on when I turn it around to hollow out the bowl.

Walnut 8

I have the ability to “core” these large bowls. Instead of turning the complete inside of the bowl to shavings, this allows me to cut another bowl blank from inside the large one. I leave the thickness of the large bowl at approximately 10% of its diameter. As it dries down it will warp and go noticeably out-of-round. Hopefully this is thin enough to dry without cracking and thick enough to allow me bring the bowl back to roundness.

Walnut 9

The picture below is after coring out the bowl but before I trim up the bowl with the bowl gouge. I was able to get an almost perfect core out of this bowl, which left me a second bowl of about 12 inches diameter and 3-1/2 inches deep inside. Unfortunately, as this walnut ages and dries, the differentiation in the grain will become less noticeable.

Walnut 10

Here are the three bowls made from the large bowl blank – a 17-inch bowl, a 12-inch bowl and a 8-inch bowl. The white material is a sealer that slows the drying rate down and that will hopefully prevent the bowls from cracking as they dry.. It is applied liberally to the end grain of the bowl to try to force the moisture to exit through the cross grain which makes the wood dry evenly. Otherwise the moisture leaves the end grain portions of the bowl faster than the cross grain portions of the bowl and causes the bowl to crack.

Walnut 11

All that’s left for now is to let them dry for a few months and then turn them to final thickness, I will likely add another coat of sealer in a week or so to add a little extra insurance against cracking as they dry. Oh, and I need to sweep up the shop. Again.

2019 Ornaments

We made a number of ornaments for 2019. Here is what we have left after the craft fair season.

2019 Snowmen

We made a lot of snowmen ornaments for 2019. Here are some of them. Some we did not get pictures of them in their completed state.

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