Saturday, March 24, 2018


It's been almost two years since I've made a wand on the lathe. I made about twenty wands, and then I got sick of them and started making pendulums, and then I built the Roubo workbench, and then I didn't go back to the lathe for a while. I've been kind of missing it, but the workshop has been a mess and there have been other things going on. Yesterday, I decided to throw a chunk of poplar dowel on the midi-lathe and see how it felt. Just to see if it came easy or if it came hard. Turns out, it came easy.

I turned that chunk of poplar dowel into a short wand in about a half hour, and it didn't turn out half bad. No plan, just free form. The night was young, so I thought, why not make another one? This time I wanted a nicer wood. I don't care much for poplar. It is soft, has an ugly color and uninteresting grain (IMO). I pulled out a piece of walnut from my storage rack, but then I put it back. I wasn't feeling quite up to that yet. Then I decided to have a go at one of the pieces of elm that I had slabbed and stacked to dry last year.

I hadn't made anything yet from any of the lumber that I cut last year. This would be the first piece. I cut a 2" strip from the straighter side on the band saw and chucked it up in the lathe. It doesn't cut too bad.

Though the original board had a little bit of color to it, the final piece seems a little drab and the straight grain doesn't excite much, but the greatest appeal to me is that it is the first piece to be made from wood that I gathered, cut from a log into a board, and dried in my workshop. Watching it go from tree limb to finished piece is kind of satisfying (even though it is a year long process).

... baby steps.