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DIY Tutorial - Chunky Coffee Table with Turned Legs

Friday, February 16, 2018
I wanted to practice turning legs on my lathe and decided a coffee table would be a good first project.  After all, who doesn't love a coffee table with chunky legs?!

Walker Turner L1152 Lathe Restoration - Switching from 110v to 220v

Friday, December 8, 2017
I got frustrated with my first lathe and decided it was time to upgrade to something better.

After searching my eyes fell upon this magnificent beast.  It was old, it was big and it was just what I wanted.  $500 and a few days later she was mine.

There were problems of course.  The wiring on the motor was shot so I couldn't even test it out.  Red flag?  Not when you're in love!  The tailstock quill wasn't budging a bit - totally frozen.  I decided I was willing to take my chances with it - who wouldn't!?

Thankfully taking chances has always paid off - and with this restoration it totally did!  This has been my biggest (and heaviest) restoration to date.  The whole process took a stressful 5 weeks.

Stick around after the BEFORE and AFTER photos to see a bit of the process!

Antique Gate-Leg Table Restoration Process

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

 I fell in love with this gate-legged table as soon as I saw it at the thrift store.  In it's condition I knew it would require a lot of work.  I loaded it up in my car and worked on it over a few months (it got put on hold for other-pressing projects).  I'm not sure how old it is but I want to guess early 90's because of the hardware used, and joinery + tool markings on the wood.  It's probably Walnut or Mahogany wood - super pretty!

I wish I had the energy (and another person) to drag the table outside for better lighting to show off how awesome it is in person but these 'after' pictures will have to do! :)

How-to: Easy "Pocket" in Cushion for Zipper Tab

Today I'm going to show you how to make a pocket for your zipper tab on your cushion projects.  It's easy and looks nice!  It also keeps the zipper tab from scratching up your upholstery (or your kids arms when they're digging for toys)!

Stepping out to find JOY

Monday, October 9, 2017
I want to talk a little bit about finding that something that gets you excited or happy.  What do you find fulfilling?  What builds your confidence?

What a wonderful feeling it is to be interested in something, to try it and know that it's something you really enjoy.  It doesn't have to mean that you're good at it from the start or that you know everything about it.

Woodturning has really sparked an interest in me this past year - I find videos of people woodturning mesmerizing!

Earlier this year you might remember I bought an old lathe.  I had never touched a lathe before I got it but knew I had to start somewhere!  After I finished restoring it, I told my husband I was too nervous to put a piece of wood in and turn it on.  There's something about a fast-spinning block of wood - coupled with sharp tools - that scares me! After a small project I got a little more confident.  My next few attempts really had my heart going when my block of wood flung out of the lathe.  My confidence was broken and I didn't touch the lathe again for months.

I didn't want to give up on it so I signed myself up for a Woodturning 101 class at my local Woodcraft store.  I was so excited and nervous/anxious all at the same time!  Driving to the class felt like I was going on a blind date.  I didn't know what to expect or if I'd be bad at it.

 It helped that the instructor (Alan Leland) was nice and explained things really well.  He explained each step in detail and made us jump right into it.  I couldn't believe there were 5 novice students in the room working on a lathe with turning tools.  Some got the hang of it and others really struggled.  It was wonderful to see one of the students who was super nervous keep at it even after making mistakes.  Another student had her tool catch every-other minute and would freak out but keep working.  Others seemed to get it naturally and feel comfortable.

The instructor said his assistant was one of his past students who really struggled.  She took his beginning class several times and he told her she should be his assistant so she can keep practicing.

The point is, you don't have to be great from the start to be great in the end!  Having a natural talent helps but it's more about perseverance and practice.  If you really want to do something - try it out!  Get out of your comfort zone and investigate new things!

 Our first project was to turn a block of Poplar into a bead and cove stick.  We turned a row of beads, cut them back down to shape more beads for practice.  After that we cut every-other bead down for shaping coves.  It was a great learning exercise - invaluable actually!

Once we had more confidence and abilities we turned a mallet out of hard Maple.  Having the skills of a beginner and being able to make something like this was amazing to me!

It's been over a week now and I just finished practicing with my own tools.

 I started off with a chunk of yard waste.

 After roughing it out I formed grooves with a skew chisel.

 Shaping the beads with a small spindle gouge is more technical than I expected but super fun!  At this point I'm thinking "Wow, I'm doing it - Eek!"

After cutting the coves I was super giddy and excited thinking, "Seriously, I just turned a branch into this!"

I know I love woodturning - the question is - what will I do about it?  I'm going to keep practicing, learning and gaining confidence!  Talents aren't free - but it sure is a blessing that we can discover and work towards something that brings us joy.

What are you going to try?

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