Every year I try to come a with a couple of new ideas for things to make for my nieces and this past Christmas what I came up with was ring holder boxes. It's not a new idea, other people have made them before but while I've made ring holders and I've made boxes this was my first time to combine the two ideas. The basic idea is to make a ring holder that serves as a lid for a small box where other pieces of jewellery can be stored. To give credit where it's due my wife gave me a lot of help in refining the shape and proportions when I was first trying to figure out the design for these. The first prototype was made from mountain ash wood and while the basic idea worked out there were a number of changes that I wanted to try in the next one.
Seeing as it is December 1st already I guess it's about time to post my Christmas market schedule:
- Dec 14-23 - Christmas @ the Shipyards running 11 am to 6 pm everyday except 11 am to 8 pm on Fridays. This is in the Pipe shop building, the same location as the Friday night markets during the summer.
- May 6 & 20
- June 3, 17 & 24
- July 8 & 22
- August 5 & 19
- September 2, 16 & 30
- July 9, 23 & 30
- August 13 & 20
The Christmas markets are approaching quickly. I have a bit of a lighter schedule than previous years but still have a plans to take place in a couple of good local markets. Some of my work can also be found at the Green Market Artisan gift shop.
- November 21 - North Van Holiday Bazaar - taking over from the very successful Delbrook Christmas market that ran for many years. This show is being run at Carson Graham high school on the same dates for the second year in a row and will feature many of the same vendors that used to go to the Delbrook market.
- December 5 & 6 - North Van Holiday Bazaar
- December 18, 19 & 20 - Shipyards Christmas Market - the North Shore Green Markets group that organizes Friday Night Markets in Shipbuilders square will be running their Christmas market on the last weekend before Christmas.
- Green Market Artisan Gift shop - featuring the work of several of the vendors from the Shipyards market that runs all summer this store is located behind the building on Lonsdale Ave and just across the parking lot from Lonsdale Quay.
As the size of the bowls I've been turning has gotten larger the need for a vacuum chucking system has become greater. This is not so much for holding a bowl while doing the bulk of the turning but mostly for at the end when removing the tenon used to hold it in a chuck and cleaning up the bottom. The traditional way of doing this is with a jam chuck but those are a little fussy to get right and need to be sized for each bowl. Another popular method is to use something like cole jaws that can be customized to hold a bowl from the rim. These work but they are expensive and there is still a size limit. The method that I had been using was a bit of a cross between those methods. I have a set of flat jaws that I can screw pieces of wood to and then make something like a jam chuck but with the adjustability of a chuck. This worked really well since it could be set up to work with a few different sizes of bowls. The problem was that I reaching the limits of where I felt safe using it as I started turning larger sized bowls more often. The beauty of a vacuum chuck is that the larger you go the stronger it gets so it actually works better as the size of the bowls gets larger. The amount of force holding a bowl onto a vacuum chuck is related to the amount of vacuum developed and the area on which it acting so as the chucks (and therefore area) get larger the force holding the bowl on gets larger. Early this year I decided that it was time to do something about it. The first thing I needed was a source of vacuum and after a bit of research and looking around I settled on a used Gast rotary vane pump that I found on ebay. This is an oilless pump capable of pulling 4.5 cfm and reaches about 24 mm Hg while in use.
- A liquid filled vacuum gauge
- A needle valve to regulate the level of vacuum
- A small in-line gas filter to protect the pump from dust
- A cross fitting to connect everything
One of the forms that I have been exploring this year is winged bowls and in particular I've been exploring winged bowls where the wings coming down to act legs and suspend the bowl. I'm not sure what sparked my interest but some of it may to do with having come into possession of a number of pieces of wood that lent themselves well to that particular form. The first one I tried was this one made from a piece of Japanese snowball wood.