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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Default April Challenge!

    Ok, so this is a personal challenge more than anything else. After reading some of Peters recent posts, it got me thinking. Each year I acquire pen blanks that get put in the "treasure chest". And whilst I have turned a few from the chest, I can guarantee that I put more in than I take out each year. If this trend continues then yes, I will have an amazing blank collection (well....amazing in my eyes - I know some of you put me to shame) however I will never get round to using them so they will inevitability be a once in a lifetime score to either my sons (hopefully - too young to tell yet) or another lucky turner.

    Whilst these options are not the worst thing that could happen, I don't believe that is why I'm here turning pens!!! I wanna see what internal beauty I can get out of these pieces!!!

    That being the case, This April I am setting myself the goal of turning at lease 3 pens out of my treasured blanks and from there I'll see how I go. I am putting this post up not only to show my works but also if anyone else is like minded and needs a perfect excuse to use that blank that has been collecting dust for the last couple of years.

    I have a young family so shed time is few and far between. That is why I have chosen 3 as a benchmark of me getting them done.

    here is a photo of the first blanks off the shelf.

    A diamond cast blank by Tim McKenzie - I was lucky enough to be involved in a swap with him recently and he sent a box of blanks along with a completed pen.
    Birdseye Gidgee - Gidgee is one of my absolute favorite timbers, and I have been lucky enough to get a few pieces with some birdseye running through it. It has some ringing as well I think but I'll only know for sure once I start turning!
    Ringed Dogwood - I have purchased quite a number of blanks from Euge (here on the forum) and this is a perfect example of an extraordinary blank. I can't wait to see how this one pans out!
    Damascus Mangrove - Another piece from Euge (he has some pearlers) I haven't turned mangrove before, and this piece has an amazing grain running through it
    Dyed box eldar - from another swap. I haven't turned dyed timber before so I'm interested as to what it may look like.

    Ok, if anyone else wants to put their hand up then just start posting in this thread as well (or start your own, I don't mind....as long as you all keep turning)

    Wish me luck!

    Cheers

    Gab


    April challenge.jpg
    "All the gear and no idea"

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Bundaberg
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    Default

    Gabrielle you are right mate. I love historical timbers and movie related timbers. I have that magical unicorn of Cocobolo Burl. I have turned it to a cylinder to see what it is like. So challenge accepted. Like you shed time is limited with work commitments and health issues that won't go away so the mythical unicorn shall be the first of my challenge I think.

    Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Warragul Vic
    Posts
    871

    Default

    Good for you Gab, you will get all the support you need from me with offerings of the Extreme UNUSUAL & BEAUTIFUL WILD-GRAINED WOODS. The softer ones are best stabilised, some from me are stabilised. I've started with what I would now call the EXCEPTIONAL Range .. see my post today.

    But the price you pay working with these wild grains & hard woods is that they WILL TEST YOU, your skills & your tools. Often their grain is all over the place, strength is not oriented in any direction you are cutting end grain and side grain within a mm or two ... but the result after you've sharpened tools a few times, and honed your skills is worth it. Sometimes there are holes, resin or bark pockets. Spalted areas may have hidden surprises. BUT, the finish possible on the harder fine grained desert woods is also worth it. I love cutting wood for the variety and surprises I find. It never disappoints me.

    I look forward to seeing how you meet the challenge with this natural material we call WOOD with the pens you make and show us here.

    Euge

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Sydney
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    Default

    Gab,

    i would love love to join you in the challenge, and I feel the "shed time limited" boat that your in, is actually quite large, I mean you're not alone.

    i have 15 blanks and pens ready to go all bagged tagged and waiting. I can't say they are anything special, just boring old Domestic burls, (You know the usual, Red mallee, yellow box etc) of course there is nothing really boring about burls, I love em. oh and a small packet of multi-coloured plywood which I want to have a crack at, they are a sample bag from an Indian supplier.

    so I just have 2 things to finish, the second of my conductors batons, this one silver ash and olive wood, and the box for the one just finished, but I may just put them aside and join you. I will let you know.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Langwarrin
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    I love and appreciate your enthusiasm Euge. It truely is infectious! Your exceptional range is quite breathtaking and with the amazing pieces you have sent my way I hope to create pieces that will once again stand the test if time and inspire for years to come.

    I do know a fellow who stabilizes now, so I may do that with the mangrove before I get into that one.

    You are absolutely on the money when you say that cranky grain and dense timbers are worth the extra effort in finishing. Sharpening only takes a minute but the natural beauty of mother nature will last forever.....

    (Am I getting a little emotional/philosophical here)

    Thanks fir the words of encouragement Euge!
    "All the gear and no idea"

  7. #6
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    Good stuff Gabriel, Looking forward to seeing what you produce.

    I would love to commit also, but I am unsure what next month will have in store for me at the moment.
    I have pens in the works, and I will continue to post the pics as I finish them.
    ​Brad.

  8. #7
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    Oct 2008
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    Leopold, Victoria
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    Looking forward to seeing what you produce Gab. I think we all fall into the same bucket of collecting more blanks than what we use but at least it gives us something to happily dive into when we get the urge.
    Cheers,
    Dallas

  9. #8
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    How welcoming it is when Pics of and unusual timbers are displayed and our knowledge is expanded. Somehow if the faceless viewers had to be members to view pictures it would make me as a member happy. throw in the odd challenge,not necessarily rewarded but shown.Make it a Eureka moment to stimulate our hobby.

    Go you good thing progress.

    Peter.
    Nil Desperandum

  10. #9
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    Bdar - I honestly envy your unicorn! But also thrilled that it has found a safe place where it will turned into something amazing.

    Ironwood, you regularly post amazing works anyway so this nudge is more aimed at us that occasionally sit on the couch with a case of the 'should have done this' ....and when I say I occasionally sit on the couch, that's an understatement.

    Dallas, I know I'll never turn all my blanks, as you say....wayyyy too many - but this way I'll get to enjoy a few I may have otherwise overlooked.

    This wouldn't have happened without your and Brads recent push Peter. Because of folks like you not only will others like me be inspired, but also have things to strive towards. When I first purchased a lathe I didn't have a clue what I wanted to make, just that I needed a hobby that didn't involve drinking. After a couple if years of stuffing around I managed to get myself to a forum get together where I met Neil - from there my pen enthusiasm soared....so without this forum I'd still be holding my skew like a scraper and wondering how those blokes on YouTube get amazing results.....
    "All the gear and no idea"

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    When i was making pens i found that 9 was the optimal number for me when I was doing batches. If something went wrong I would continue with the next one.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Warragul Vic
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    Its great to inspire each other and help each other.
    You have been a great inspiration to many Peter by example and help.
    My help is mostly limited to wood information (ID, properties, sources etc).

    Euge

    PS: Other comments belong to another post (Acacia tetragonophylla (Dead Finish, Karara, Curara) wood. Apologies for the distraction Gab !
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Euge; 29th Mar 2019 at 11:38 AM. Reason: removing pics re wood & posted elsewhere

  13. #12
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    Apr 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    Bdar - I honestly envy your unicorn! But also thrilled that it has found a safe place where it will turned into something amazing.

    Ironwood, you regularly post amazing works anyway so this nudge is more aimed at us that occasionally sit on the couch with a case of the 'should have done this' ....and when I say I occasionally sit on the couch, that's an understatement.

    Dallas, I know I'll never turn all my blanks, as you say....wayyyy too many - but this way I'll get to enjoy a few I may have otherwise overlooked.

    This wouldn't have happened without your and Brads recent push Peter. Because of folks like you not only will others like me be inspired, but also have things to strive towards. When I first purchased a lathe I didn't have a clue what I wanted to make, just that I needed a hobby that didn't involve drinking. After a couple if years of stuffing around I managed to get myself to a forum get together where I met Neil - from there my pen enthusiasm soared....so without this forum I'd still be holding my skew like a scraper and wondering how those blokes on YouTube get amazing results.....
    Gab,

    Thanks mate. Things have gone south right at the moment. Left knee gone sideways. Waiting to get into doctors and guessing xray after that. Medial ligament a bit sore, hopefully rest but don't like the feeling of what is going on in the knee. The unicorn sadly in a holding pattern and will have to wait.

    Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdar View Post
    Gab,

    Thanks mate. Things have gone south right at the moment. Left knee gone sideways. Waiting to get into doctors and guessing xray after that. Medial ligament a bit sore, hopefully rest but don't like the feeling of what is going on in the knee. The unicorn sadly in a holding pattern and will have to wait.

    Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk
    That sucks Darren!!
    I hope you get some answers and that thinks start looking up... I don't plan on this being the only time I set myself up on a personal goal like this, so jump in when life allows.....
    Good luck!
    "All the gear and no idea"

  15. #14
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    Default

    I forgot, my In-laws come in from the UK today and staying with us for the best part of 2 months, so I might find myself in the shed quite a bit after all!!

  16. #15
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    Aug 2012
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    Caringbah, NSW
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    Default

    I have not been into pen making long enough to have a pile of unused blanks, but I'm working on it . Meanwhile, Ironwood has been kind enough to share some of his long held collection with me, hence this post. I know this is not a rare species, but am fascinated by the wavy grain it displays, and would like to hear how members would describe it. It's a Cigar kit using White Cedar (which makes my white cedar blanks look positively boring!). Thanks Brad, your generosity is greatly appreciated.

    White Cedar (4)tn.jpgWhite Cedar (2)tn.jpg

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