Saturday, November 17, 2012

Antique Wood Lathe #15

A woodworker or an artist usually has a favorite tool.  Over time this love affair may become quite strong.  In my case our ranch home didn't have electricity nor did the country school I attended through the 7th grade.  In the 8th grade wood shop I attended in city school they had a wood lathe.  I didn't get a chance to use it but watched other students turn out round objects that fascinated me.  As a high school freshman AG student I was given an assignment to turn a mallet head and handle out of solid oak.  I had plenty of guidance so it turned out perfect in my eyes.  I have kept that mallet in my tools all these years and it is shown in the photo below.
The lathe you see behind my mallet is an old wood lathe I bought from the Medical  Lake school district when they were building a new shop and high school.  When I started teaching there in 1958 my wood shop was in one of the school bus stalls in the garage.  I took the job because of the promise of a new facility to teach in the next year.  It was a fantastic facility with all new furniture and  tools.  I had a bank of three new wood lathes so the school sold the old equipment and I got a good deal on the lathe.  It was old and had seen a lot of hard use but with a few new parts and a good cleaning I had a lathe that has served me well all of these years.  I have several projects in construction and others planned that involve lathe work of varying degrees.  One of my vessels that was completed recently is e/p IV shown on the right below.

This vessel has a plastic water bottle as an inner lining and alternating rings of maple and walnut were fit around it.  Each ring was buttered with thickened dark resin and placed on top of the previous ring.  No hole was cut in the bottom ring so it made a secure base.  Smaller rings were used at the top and the central hole was cut to fit the neck of the water bottle.  This assembled block of wood was centered in the lathe when all joints were set and dry.  Shaping the vessel and sanding it smooth on the lathe was the pleasant task of seeing an object of beauty emerge from the rough wood block.  The photos below show the various elements of my e/p Vessel.