Spring Time in the Rockies

Vessel from Juniper

The cold, even in Wyoming, must yield to the sun swinging north in the sky. At least from my perspective the sun moves north or south as well as its daily trip from east to west. This makes me wonder, “What do I look like from the perspective of the turning blank in my lathe.” Somehow the thought of watching the sun from the perspective of one standing on the earth making a planetary motion around the sun is not nearly so dizzying as trying to see myself from the perspective of a knot on my spinning turning blank. However, throw in the complication of standing on the moon with its slow spin of one revolution in 28 days, and I am not sure I can even walk across the floor. I will have to return to the stability of a pre-Copernicus model of the universe. Just let the earth be still for a while until my head stops spinning.

I will give over the notion of inventing a planetary motion lathe, someone has probably already done so. At the moment I am not concerned about doing ornamental work.

Flutes in pine

As our temperatures warm and the days lengthen, the sap starts rising in the trees. The optional time for gathering limbs for turning wood has passed for another year. All those box elder limbs I thought about collecting will have to wait until next winter. Same for the chokecherry and hawthorn. But I do have the top of that large juniper tree that the wind brought down a couple months ago. There will be some nice pieces in that.

If you noticed the photo in the header at the top of this page, that was what the view looked like when I was building my strawbale, shop building. The building has become our house and the view was consumed in the Casper Mountain fire of 2006. Now I look out at what seems to be a treeless ridge. The regrowth is only about eight to twelve inches tall; not really visible except when you climb the ridge.

You may think that pine is not the best turning wood anyway. But it does have its uses. Take, for example, the pine spindle shown at the right. It is the properties of pine that makes it easy to produce the flutes that spiral around the column.

Well, enough.

Ellis Hein, author of The Woodturner’s Project Book

Have you seen the plans I have up for sale for the space saving cabinet?

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About Ellis Hein

I am a woodturner and the author of The Woodturner's Project Book. I have a life-long interest in the gospel preached by George Fox and the early Quakers. You can see some of my material on that subject at http://nffquaker.org/profiles/blog/list?user=1zw2th7nj9p89.
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