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The Summer Heat is on in the Shop

It’s summer time here in Florida, and it’s hot, hot, hot, and oh yeah a bit humid to boot.

I’ve tried to not let it slow me down with regards to working in the shop, but I do have to work around the heat. During the month of July I got out early in the morning and worked till around noon. By that time of the day in July, the sun is high in the sky and the heat and humidity hangs from you. From the looks of it, August will be no different so it will be more early morning work in the shop till it gets too hot.

Still I have managed to turn out (no pun intended) some new items. In addition to trying to sneak in some summer turning in the shop, I have also spent some time cleaning and tuning up my lathe and other tools in preparation for fall.

The Eucalyptus by far has been my favorite wood to work with, both the ability to turn it as well as the color and grain of the wood which never ceases to amaze me. The colors of the wood range from a light brown along the outside to a deep reddish brown as you get deeper into the wood. Thus far I’ve been mainly making bowls with the Eucalyptus and even some bowls with candle holders in the center. They have been coming out very nicely.

I do have some of the Eucalyptus set aside that will be cut into spindles for other items such as pens, shaving sets, and even a bottle opener or two.

The Birch has been a pleasure to work with as well, and I have made some of that wood into tea light candle holders. While the Birch is a light colored wood, the spalting (coloring appearing in cut wood as it ages) has brought out some beautiful variations in the grain.

wooden bowls, bowls, candle holders
Eucalyptus bowls and candle holders

Also I have been playing around with making pen blanks. Using colored pencils I have set them into blanks and then turned them into pens. The effect is a splash of polka dots and color on the pens. It’s also another way to recycle something old and turn (pun completely intended) into something new.

Eucalyptus bowl and click pens
Eucalyptus Bowl and Slimline Pro click pens w/ colored pencils

Some planks of Cypress have also made their way into the shop that have been recovered from the local ship yard. I’ve cut a few into pieces that will be made into shallow bowls, and the rest of it is waiting to be cut either into spindles for magic wands and wine bottle toppers. I’ve really taken a liking to working with recovered and reclaimed wood as once you start digging into what looks like a tired old piece of wood you can uncover some hidden beauty.

Cypress planks
Cypress planks
Cypress bowl
Cypress bowl

In between that I have been lining up craft shows for the near future; including the August 4th First Friday in Tarpon Springs. Right on the heels of that I will be at Hippie Fest in Tarpon Springs on August 12th. These are both fun family craft shows with lots of great vendors, food, music, and crafts.

Other events in the Pinellas/Pasco area are also in the works and will be announced here and on my FaceBook page as they get closer.

Even though it has been a hot summer, I’ve been plugging away in the shop and look forward to seeing some of you out at the upcoming shows.


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Find Me At: Tarpon Springs First Friday (My First!)

I think we’ve established that I love my shop. I love turning wood. I love making the things that pop into my head.

My “introvert card” might pulled over this one, but I really like craft shows and fairs, too. I’ve done a few since last fall at the Florida Estates Winery and a new one for Tampa Bay Cat Alliance. My next one isn’t a new event, but it is new to me:

Tarpon Springs First Friday

Vendors line up in downtown Tarpon Springs and people from all over walk through, find something good to eat, get themselves a drink, and hopefully find a gift or a unique item they can’t live without. I’ve been a few times and told myself I wanted to be a part of it as a vendor at some point.

That time has arrived. On Friday, April 7, my little (blue not red) wagon and I will arrive with tables, tableclothes, signs, and my entire inventory to see what the locals think of my woodworking. If it’s like previous shows, I’ll probably have to explain a few things:

No, I don’t work for a manufacturer.

Yes, I made all of these by hand.

Yes, the pens, bottle openers, wine stoppers, and brushes work.

It’s pretty cool to see someone’s eyes light up when they hold something I’ve made, amazed at the wood grain or that a person can actually make such a thing. Of course, when they pull out their wallet to buy something, that’s even better.

Are you a Tampa Bay local? Look for me in downtown Tarpon Springs on April 7, 2017!