A Break From Furniture Making


Making furniture, even "just shop furniture" is interesting/ challenging/ fun. BUT - there's a lot of delayed gratification. "You gotta do this, then layout that, tune this joint, shape that piece, fit that ____ to this _______, dry fit, take apart, get out clamps, ... Hours can be spent just preparing the stock before even making any parts. Weeks, months or even a year can go by from the time the stock is selected until the finish dries on the piece, and if you use BLO it can be even longer.
But a spinning chunk of wood, some sharp tools, some luck and the gods smiling on you - in less than an hour you can have something that makes you say "Did I just do that?" Worst case, you're floor is covered with curlies and debris as evidence that you've actually been doing some woodworking.
Turning is a nice "between REAL projects", something to do while the glue/ this coat of finish dries. And what a furniture maker calls cut offs and scrap often can be turned into something interesting relatively quickly.
AND - sometimes there's a buzz, that endorphin burst that happens when everything goes just so. Heres an example of what I'm talking about.
http://home.comcast.net/~charliebcz/Turning/Turning9.html
If you've got a lathe tucked back there in the corner, go play with it once in a while. If you don't have a lathe, consider the $350 US JET midi-lathe. But be aware that, in keeping with everything costs $1,100, a Talon or SuperNova chuck will cost you $200+, turning tools, which will appear in quantities rivaling chisels and hand planes, and they ain't any cheaper. (God I hope Lie Nielsen never start making turning tools.) and there are more gizmos and things you'll soon "have to have".
Maybe you ought to just find someone with a lathe and all the tools and accessories and make friends with them. Woodworkers are pretty friendly people (some here being the exception that proves the rule) and are often quite willing to "let you try my _____.".
Broaden your horizons - have a go at turning - while you're waiting for the glue to dry.
charlie b
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Stop it Charlie!
All this smug happiness is upsetting me. I have to spend some marathon hours in the office for the next month or so. I would give anything to be makin' sawdust or shavings right now.
You suck.
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We know, Charlie! Tom
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You think woodworking is delayed gratification? Try being a grad student, lab researcher, or teacher - all very worthwhile things, but you never see anything get done! I enjoy woodworking/furniture making, even big, "slow" projects, partly because it gives me immediate gratification in seeing something get done, even if it is just a single board cut out of rough stock or a new edge routed on a workpiece. I'm sure I'll enjoy the company of a lathe in my shop at some point, but it's a ways down the priority list right now. That's sure some nice-looking walnut, though - glad you could put some nice wood to good use! Andy
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Andy wrote:

Think of the folks launching space probes beyond our solar system. <G>
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Nice post, thanks for that. Similar experience here; I have a fairly full shop/tool contingent but for some reason had never done any turning or even looked at a lathe up close. Things you can't intuit are intimidating to me somehow, and I never got the whole thing with live centers, etc, just the terminology. Decided to change that by taking a single-session pen-making class at the local Woodcraft. In a couple of hours I had made a beautiful, useful thing that I now use every day. The last furniture I made, a bookcase, took me nearly six months (combination of my slowness, cutting parts over, and mostly very limited time in the shop). Turning small items on a lathe is great fun, and the midi lathes are reasonable and don't use much space.
charlie b wrote:

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Yes but all you end up with are mediocre craft show nick-nacks. With furnature you end up with something you can actually use.
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Check out some of the prices those nick-nacks sell for!!

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charlie b wrote:

Great post.
Myself, I am putting off the purchase of a lathe for as long as humanly possible.
Because I know that, if I _did_ have one, I probably wouldn't leave the house anymore...
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I can't count the times that I have gone out to the shop to get busy with that piece of furniture that I have delayed getting started. I think that I will just turn one thing, and then start on the furniture. Well, one thing leads to another, and then it is dark, and I'm up to my knees in shavings. Sometimes this goes on for days. I almost never do large furniture pieces because it ties up the shop, and cuts into my turning time. I started a woodshop before my dad started his. He said that he wouldn't get a lathe because he'd never learn to use the rest of the tools in the shop if he started turning. I know exactly what he means.
I work wood full time, and my business sales are about half furniture, and half turnings. The turnings go from $5 to $500. The furniture goes up to $2000. I sell more turnings, but both help pay the bills. When asked what kind of wood do you turn, I say"firewood". robo hippy
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Heh. I bought the Delta midi on sale for $300 CDN, but with the tools, sharpening stuff, calipers and talon chuck with different jaws it's the minority part of my investment in turning.
I've got a small bowl of box elder burl chucked up right now, but I hurt my back last Sunday and haven't been able to get back to finish it.
djb
--
Life. Nature's way of keeping meat fresh. -- Dr. Who

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