Friday, December 2, 2011

Roughing Out

Back in August of this year when I had the pleasure of visiting Mark Sanger, we worked on quite a few projects together one of which was preparing and roughing out bowls from green wood.

It was such a pleasure to work with the wood in it's green (wet) state as the tooling is often easier and the cuts are far more efficient.  Anyway, I have been seasoning a couple of pieces that I roughed out at the time and spun them on the lathe today to true them up and trim down the thickness.

The are now sitting in the house adjusting to the warmth and finishing off the last of there drying process.

Here are a couple of photographs of the forms at this stage of the process.  Not long now before they can be turned to a finish.

Cherry - Approx. 7" x 4"
Sycamore - Approx. 5" x 4"

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


For those of you who use Google+ or are considering using it:


Recently while browsing the folders within my Google+ profile I thought I would arrange some of my photos in an album, and possibly upload some new photos too.  However, when I viewd the photo albums in my Google+ profile I noticed I had another folder with 100's of images!  Strange I thought, I haven't uploaded that many photos in Google+.  So, I opted to delete the album as I didn't agree for it to be within Google+.

And yet, there was a little screen with some small texts stating that deletion of the folder would delete images from other Google products.  But I did not upload the photos to Google+ so safely went ahead and deleted the album.

Later in the day I checked my blog only to notice that all my images have gone and been replaced by an 'missing image' icon.  Turns out that the folder in Google+ held all of my Blogger photos and I have just permamnetly deleted them!

Well, thought you may wish to know if you attempt to look through my blog archives.  I have updated the most recent posts with their respective images again but I don't have the time, patience or inclination to do them all.

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Abstract Sculpture III - Top O My World

Every so often I feel the need to exercise the more abstract part of my thinking.  In order to do this I tend to create abstract sculptures, they allow me the creative freedom to go anywhere without the restrictions we often impose on ourselves at times.

Below are some work-in-progress pictures of my recent sculpture, Top O My World.

There are some further developments as parts have to be made and constructed yet, so I don't have images of this section.  But, the final piece will be on a matching stand and there will be LED lighting involved too!

Apologies for the picture quality, I will re-post my final shots once the piece is complete.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Contemporary Clock

This piece is a gift to my Sister and Brother-in-Law for Christmas.

The clock mechanism has been mounted into the wood and will be covered with a matching False Acacia plate, only a little smaller than the front.  But it will help to tie the front and rear design together.

The piece has taken quite a bit of time and is almost complete, just the rear cover plate to finish off and it will be ready.

 I will update with news of the completed piece with additional photos of the rear, which also has a simplified carving too.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Digital Inspiration

No doubt we all look for inspiration in many different ways and in many different places.  I have always used my PC and associated software to crop, correct and generally enhance my original DSLR images.  Recently I have been using Picasa to mess around with my original images to create interesting alternatives, some of which lead to ideas for future projects.

So, I decided to take this a stage further and have been playing with a simple piece of 3D rendering software to create interesting organic shapes.  The software uses simple polygon wire frames that can then have texture applied.  Once rendered by the software they produce quite realistic, organic forms, many of which promote inspiration and creative thinking.

I have included a few of these images below in the hope that you may find some inspiration and possibly promote new ideas and forms for your own future work.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, November 14, 2011


For the past few months I have been researching dust in the workshop.  I came to the conclusion a while ago that I wasn't doing enough to protect myself or my workshop.  However, finances have denied me the opportunity to acquire the necessary equipment until now.

Having looked into the subject it is apparent that there are 3 main areas of dust control:

Control at the source
Personal protection
Workshop filtration

I have had an excellent dust extractor working at source from my lathe but no personal dust protection or workshop filtration.  So, I have recently purchased the following items which are soon to be delivered:

Microlene MC420 - Image courtesy of Acrol UK Ltd
Trend Air shield Pro - Image courtesy of Trend
After much research I have chosen the Microlene MC420 Air Filter.  I had the pleasure of checking this in person at the Scottish Woodcraft Show and decided it would be ideal for my purposes.  It comes highly recommended by other users I know and judging from the manufacturers website, is well built and constructed.  The design allows the filter to suck in air from 360° and from the bottom.  Statistics show the filter capable of replenishing the air 10 times within an hour for a 40 cubic meter space.

My research shows that the Trend Air shield Pro has mixed reviews.  Although most reviews are positive in terms of dust protection the majority seem to negatively review the weight, noise and design.  However, I had the chance to try it out at the Scottish Woodcraft Show and found that neither the weight, noise or design where an issue for me.

I will be installing the Microlene MC420 in the workshop and using the Trend Air shield Pro this week so will report back with my own, independent review in due course.

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Needs Must When Times Are Hard

When I dreamt of starting my own business as a self-employed woodturner/artist it was easy to imagine how it would all fall into place.  However, I, as well as many others, often underestimate the amount of hard work and determination required to turn your dream into a reality.

Since I am still in the early stages of growing my business, finances are always tight and sometimes I question if it's all worth it.  Well, gladly I think it is.  But there are times when we need to look at our situation and figure out how to improve it with limited funds.

So, I recently decided to sell my Volvo V70 SE Estate.  The newest and by far the best [arguably] car I've ever owned.  It belonged to my late Dad and was gifted to me by my Mum ( a non-driver).  To be honest, I never really enjoyed the car.  So, with my Mums good wishes, I decided to sell it and part exchange it for a lump of cash and a car I do enjoy.

So here it is, a Volvo 940 LPT Estate.  One of my all time favourite Volvos and one that will hopefully give me much pleasure for years to come (not to mention a financial boost to the business):

The Beast - In all it's glory!
A very long car - but handles like a dream!
Overall body condition is excellent for it's age.
Just a car - but I like it!
Since I am the only driver in my immediate Family I am the only one who makes driving decisions.  I am happy to have sold my previous vehicle and now have great pleasure in driving the Family wherever they want to go.  A nice, smoothe ride, built for comfort - not speed - just like me!

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Midnight Madness

We all do things in our spare time to relieve stress and have fun.  One of the things I enjoy is online gaming on my PS3.  I am a member of a really Friendly clan made up of Relatives and Friends and tonight at midnight sees the launch of the next FPS (First Person Shooter) in the Modern Warfare series.

So, at midnight I'll be heading off to pick up my pre-ordered copy and will no doubt have fun into the wee hours with friends and like minded gamers.

This is the 1st time I'll be doing this so it's really quite exciting.  We can all have new experiences if we are open to them and although this is no big deal, it's something different and fun. 

For any PS3 gamers out there, feel free to add me and we can have a game or two.  ID skeets101.

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Digital Creativity - A Heart Shaped Crisp

Original image - taken with Nikon D5000
Original image manipulated using Picasa
Picasa image manipulated using PhotoScape

Thanks for visiting.

Guy Time!

When we spend time working on our own we need to remember that our Family is what it's all for.  I have spent a lot of time with my Son recently, who is 6, and lives most of the time on another planet, LOL! But we both enjoy Gaming very much.  So, he blasted around the track and I took some HD photos of the game on the TV!

I though i'd share the images of some quality Father and Son time:

Blasting through the air!

Serious drifting, YEHHHH!

Super fast uphill racing, WOOO HOOOO!

Racing under the Moonlight, B-E-A-UTIFAL!

BLASTING round the track, AWESOME!

CRAZY DANCIN' on the roof of the car, WTF!

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Simple Bowl

Every once in a while I like to turn what I call a simple bowl, not simple as in easy, boring, or lacking in creativity.  But a bowl that has simplicity of form and finish, thus highlighting the form and finish per se.

Form & Finish Close Up
The great thing about working with forms and finishing of this type is that there is now where to hide!  Bad tool control and poor finishing just won't cut it with this delicate form and design.

A Simple Bowl
The piece currently has a small foot but this will be removed/refined to allow the piece to 'sit' better.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Forms of Karma

A while ago I made a few pieces that I call Forms of Karma, they are a type of rocking bowl design that allow me to explore form, movement and finishing techniques.  I have been working away in the background for a while on this design and here are some progress picks of the latest piece.

This one is the largest to date and measures 9.5" across and 9" from front to the tip of the finial.

The form of this piece is very pleasing to me and there are a lot of design possibilities.  At present, the piece is designed to rest on its edge and the tip of the finial.  This allows the piece to be presented at an attractive angle.  This allows the front and rear to be displayed at its best and also allows the applied pyrography design to be seen.

The most interesting thing about this design is that it is partially kinetic.  The piece will happily sit on a surface and find it's own centre but a gentle nudge to the edge will send it delicately revolving in 360ยบ for a while, where it will then gently settle again at it's centre.

I have yet to pyrograph the interior of the bowl but after this I have a few ideas I want to explore with this piece.  They will possibly lead to further development with this series but a few limitations may prevent me from exercising my ideas.

More updates will follow soon and I will try to update with progress as regularly as possible.

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Scottish Woodcraft Show 2011

I have just spent the last 2 days in attendance at the above show with my local club Broxburn Woodcraft Club.  We all had such a happy and productive time at the show and a lot of attention at our stand.

Such a broad range of crafts where on display, and at our stand we had woodturning, instrument making, stick making, scroll saw work and pyrography.  Compared to last year I would say the number of clubs in attendance has risen and the general quality and quantity of work has also improved.

The show took place in the Royal Highland Centre in the Lowland Hall.

 Demonstrators included our very own Mike Pool, who supports the club regularly, and who informed me that it is in fact Billy Connolly who has copied his style!

Other demonstrators included Mick Hanbury, Ray Key and Tony Wilson.

My favourite was Mick Hanbury.  Veering more towards the artistic side of turning I found his work to be colourful and creative, if a little tame.

It was also a pleasant surprise to see Paul Hannabys off centre platter in person.

...and I also took the time to squeeze in a little photo of my own work as featured in the most recent issue of Woodturning.

 All in all I had a great time at the show, a little tiring on the feet and back, but well worth it.  I hope to be in attendance with Broxburn Woodcraft Club next year with a bigger and better stand.

 Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Abstract Expressionism

Here is the most recent Abstract Sculpture.  A lot of my abstract influence comes from my favourtie artist of the period, namely Wassily Kandinsky .  I recommend you check out the link, especially concentrate on Wassily's work from 1933 onwards, fascinating.

 It would be great to hear your thoughts on this piece and Abstract Impressionism in general, feel free to comment.

Thanks for visiting.