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John Wallace in South Central Texas

DVD's and Video's

There are hundreds if not thousands of You Tube Video's and other links on the net about wood turning.

These are just a few that I have watched and recommend. Check your local library and wood turners club to borrow a copy before you buy it.

What must have been a thousand years ago I was introduced to the wood lathe and wood turning in a high school shop class. I turned a couple of bowls that my mother kept and of course gave back to me. I even experimented with segmented pieces. I never lost my fascination with wood turning, I have finally done something about it!

Fast forward to 2011...........

Welcome to the Texas Vortex on my back porch

This all started when I mentioned to my friend John that I was interested in turning some pens. John  had been given a vintage Craftsmen lathe by another friend and brother to make gavels for presentations. His enthusiasm for wood turning resulted in the purchase on a new Nova lathe in his shop. What to do with the old lathe? Move it to my back porch of course!

The weather here is such that I can work on the porch all year round except for a couple of weeks in the winter. Summer presents it's own challenges with 90 degree plus temps that make wearing a respirator a bit of challenge. Working on the porch does minimize issues with dust and fumes. My yard vac does a great job cleaning up dust and shavings.

The vortex I am referring to is that the lathe is only about 40% of the cost of wood turning. The other 60% is an infinite universe of tools and accessories that one must have to be a fashionable wood turner. Even if you don't want want to have the latest and greatest, the tools and supplies cost money.

Hello eBay

To finance my wood turning habit I have sold three shelves of unused reloading equipment on eBay. A moderate to severe hearing loss had ended my shooting days about a year ago.  Some shopping on eBay, the Internet, W.W. Grainger and several trips to the local Woodcraft store yielded and new set of turning tools, a face plate, a 4 jaw chuck and numerous other must haves.

Plan B for the Air Compressor
In the mean time, my air compressor decided it needed a new poly drive belt. Some more research told me that the drive belt I needed was no longer in stock, unless I wanted I wanted buy it from a supplier in Oregon and pay as much to UPS in shipping as the belt cost. Plan B -- Make a plate from $.50 worth of scarp steel to move the motor further from the compressor so I can use a ply belt stocked by the local W.W. Grainger store. All it took was several hours and a trip to south Austin to use a friends milling machine to make the plate.

The insulation on the wires to the motor from the pressure switch is cracked and deteriorating so this also gets replaced. 220V AC and 30 amps is nothing I want to take chance with.

What's in my shop?

Craftsmen "pipe: Wood Lathe, 1980 vintage, third owner

the lathe is in decent shape but needed some TLC after 30 years of use. I cleaned up the pipe and put a coat a paste wax on it. Cleaned up the threads on the spindle so I can use a chuck. The motor doesn't start every time. I have replaced the starting capacitor with no improvement. I suspect a replacement motor is in my future if I keep the lathe.

I have also replaced the headstock drive center with a one inch super drive center. It holds to work with almost no pressure from the tail center.

a Model 340 10-1/2" Inca band saw, Swiss made and beautiful.

A new blade did wonders for cutting bowl blanks. This saw uses a 72.8" or 73" or 73.5" blade (depends on what you read) which is not a stock blade size. No problem in the Austin TX area, the guys at The Weatherford Co.Inc. made one while I waited for less than $10.00. The 6tpi blade works great. I highly recommend these folks for anything they stock.

It's been a long time since Inca equipment was sold by Garrett Wade in the US so parts and manuals can be hard to find. A great resource for Inca equipment owners is a Yahoo group for this equipment.

a 10" Delta table saw,
a drill press
a single stage Delta dust collector
a combination disk and belt sander
assorted hand and power tools.

One of my recent eBay purchases was several sets of calipers and a set of dividers. They are at least 50 years old and function perfectly. A few hours of clean up and they are back at work. The best part, they are not made in China. These tools were made in Massachusetts and New Jersey when we actually manufactured tools in the USA. Lovely tools.

Future Plans

If fortunes favor me I will have a new lathe sometime this summer. Lathes haven't changed a heck of a lot in the last 100 years but there are advantages using a newer lathe. I look forward to using a lathe that has #2 Morris taper and at least a one inch spindle on the head stock. There are a lot more parts and accessories for lathes with this taper size and spindle than the #1 Morris taper and 3/4" X 16tpi spindle on my Craftsmen lathe. Variable speed and a reversing would be nice too.

What To Turn? It turns out that would be the easy part.

A few weeks ago I joined the CTWA --Central Texas Woodturners Association on a Wednesday night. The following Saturday morning I was in a pecan orchard east of Hutto helping to cut some pecan trees that were damaged in a wind storm. I think I have six months of pecan  for projects on my back porch now.

My blog about hearing loss and hearing aids

My Favorite Links and Resources

The Central Texas Woodturners Association

The Weatherford Company

Inca Equipment Owners Group