Two things that I've found to be essential to surviving the long cold winter nights here in New York are Dave Sawyer's firewood carriers (shown below with theirs proud owner David) and spoon carving. The carriers save my back and the spoons save my mind.
I'll be going into the spoon carving a bit more in the following post, but for now, I wanted to share some new techniques that I've been using to get better bends in my bent turnings.
This week, Chris Durbin returned from Ohio to make one of my birdcage armchairs. I've worked out a lot of techniques for working with all of the curved parts, but I kept having trouble with the slight "sideways" curve that sometimes occurred in the forms.
Here is the bend in a new form that I made. If you look below, you'll see that I've made up the form from two bevelled pieces of plywood that cause the bend to center itself and eliminate any "sideways" curve. Having a straight axis really eliminates a lot of the difficulty of reaming these parts accurately into the seat.
The other benefit of the form is that the pressure of the form on the round workpiece is spread over a larger surface (two points of contact instead of one) so I got less denting of the steamed part as well. I use a shaped block and some dense felt as clamp pads to eliminate damage on the other side.
I am looking into dense felt suppliers to get material to line the form as well, why not?!
Below is Chris carving his duckbills, I love telling students that we'll be using the drawknife for most of this work, the terror is palpable!
And here he is with his finished piece. It came out great.