I mentioned in my last blog the different methods of drying freshly felled wood, the method I talked about last time was placing the wood in a container of shavings or sawdust sealing and storing away, another method is to buy drying beads the type you find in small canvas bags when you buy certain items but the amount you need for any reasonable number of blanks is not cost effective and the drying time is still months. A method I tried last year (to my wife’s dismay) was the Microwave this method needs lots of patients as you can only dry a few minutes at a time, this is slow and can lead to divorce if you can’t get the microwave clean before she gets home from shopping.
Once I had built-up a good stock of blanks I then had to learn how to carve them on the lathe and I checked out a number of courses which I’m sure were excellent but far too expensive so I turned to the internet and YouTube where I sat for hours going over and over instruction videos then practising and back online until I started producing the items you see on the website.
Most businesses start small and slowly build a customer base then update equipment to keep up with the market if finances allow. When I started I could not afford a lathe so I built a wooden one driven by a power drill, I have posted two photos – one is the original wooden lathe which served me well for practising and I loved the challenge of making something that worked well and the Axminster Hobby lathe I use now that cost hundreds of pounds. This applied to almost everything in the workshop and wherever I could make something rather than buy it I would have a go. The equipment needed to run even a small workshop and produce the variety of items you see on my website is endless and these are just a few > Lathe – Bench Saw – Band Saw – Jig Saw – Belt Sander – Drill Press – Disc Sander – Pen Press – Vice – Bench Grinder – Chain Saw – Angle Grinder – Fret Saw.
The chisels you see on the rack are just a few of the basic range and to save money on these I bought in the blades and made the handles for 90% of them. Keeping these razor sharp is so important and essential to good carving, again you can buy sharpening jigs for silly money but I went back to good old YouTube and made a jig to fit onto my belt sander and now I can get a quick shave without leaving the workshop.
As you have gathered I love YouTube and not just for woodTurning instruction videos but for the endless things you can learn from people who are not trying to sell you anything but just want to show you their skills and how they do things their way, I have watched countless videos and most are excellent but there are some that are not! So I have decided with the help of my daughter to make a video showing the whole process from choosing the right wood through to the finished item and hope we don’t wear-out the delete button in the process. When complete I will let you know in the following post.