Kickback on the Tablesaw and the Riving Knife

Well after years it finally happened I got to feel the full force of kickback on my table saw. The reason is my riving knife. Rather the absence of a riving knife I took it off while preparing turning blanks.  The result was a lump of red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) about 300mm long and 75mm square. It hit me straight in the sternum and it hurt! Luckily I didnt break anything and only had a small reddened area with a minor cut to show for the indignation.

I have never given riving knives much thought. I took it off as the cuts were less than the height of the blade. In order to make a full cut the timber had to be flipped over. I had this idea fixed in my head that the riving knife should sit higher than the top of the blade which makes bling cuts impossible. What I mean by a blind cut is that the timber is thicker than the full height of the blade.

I have watched many YouTube (and I have forgotten who made the video) videos where a blind cut has been made and not thought about how this was achieved. This was until I watched a video where someone was talking about setting up a table saw, I nearly didn’t watch this as it seemed too basic. There is was set the height of the riving knife just below the height of the blade.

Now I can blind cut to my heart’s content and reduce the risk of another piece of timber flying off the table.

Making a Wooden Spatula for swmbo 

Making a wooden spatula for swimbo #saw #wooden

  • https://vimeo.com/134804111

Wood turning from China

This is quite fascinating

Look at the way they turn these bowls. Willow isn’t expensive and there is plenty around. Yet they choose to waste as little as possible. Japanese woodworking always amazes me, the quality of the design and craftsmanship are unsurpassed. And it’s all more impressive when we see the simple tools they use.
via Turning a set of Shawo bowls — The Dutch Luthier

Sawmill visit

Our woodturning group, Northern Turners,  was invited to a saw mill in the pleasant rural setting of Mount Torrens in South Australia. Members of other woodturning clubs,  who fall under the umbrella Woodgroup SA  were also there. We were there in part to see the operation of the sawmill and to buy some wood for turning. The mill is a small operation that is based on a dairy farm making the setting quite bucolic. On the day there were slabs and pieces of redgum available for sale and some camphor laurel.

Michael the sawmaster has two portable sawmills and had some elm setup to demonstrate both pieces of equipment.  the first on the he demonstrated was a Bushmill – portable saw mill which was made in Victoria for about 15 years. The company is no longer in existence. The machine is essentially a large bandsaw on its side  and is pushed along by the operator. The saw is powered by a petrol engine.

The other sawmill is a Lucas mill which sports a large chainsaw blade almost 5 feet across (I guess 1500 mm in the new money) . The saw was set up on a large concrete pad but can be moved onsite if required. Like the other sawmill it is controlled by the operator although it is not as rigid as the Bushmill unit so more attention needs to be paid to tracking the cutting saw square to the log being milled. Michael did mention that he does take the Lucas mill on site as well.
The Sawmills
The Bushmill saw has an advantage of a fixed base allowing that allows the log being milled to be clamped down.  This means that the log can be milled quite a way down as […]

Redgum for woodturning

Red gum for woodturning #saw

A pointer on the bowl gouge

I have recently joined a wood turning club called the northern turners. This group is affiliated to Woodgroup SA  which has under its umbrella about 13 woodturning clubs in South Australia. There are 3 meetings a month which covers beginners , ongoing projects and a more formal meeting day which includes a demonstration.

This months demonstration was by a well known Australian turner called Tim Skilton  who besides turning is known for his passive sander.  Tim doesn’t have a website but if you google him you will see the sanders and pictures of this work.

He entertained and informed about 50 club members for the better part of three hours on all aspects of the bowl gouge. This included a potted history of the gouge , metal used to make gouges and the vexed topic of sharpening tools. All of this while keeping up a witty dialogue with the audience and demonstrating on a bowl blank.

There were lots of practical tips on how to use a gouge. I like many have experienced the gouge digging and taking a chunk  of the prized piece being worked on. Never thought about it but the gouge does jump from the smaller to larger diameter. This will inevitably wreck the the fine edge that you have just finished prior to hollowing out. The solution other than a a dedicated tool rest is to support the gouge with the thumb of your left hand firmly planted on the tool rest.

Well worth the trip to attend the meeting.

Lathe Steady in Action

In an earlier post I managed to give an overview of the lathe steady that I built. That post can be found here. I made the lathe steady primarily because I make pepper grinders  as a sort of recreational activity. The lathe steady worked a treat and I estimate that I sawed over $150 making one rather than buying  one of similar size. I had bought the roller blade wheels  on-line quite a while before I got around to making the lathe steady and I got quite a surprise when I started using it. The wheels have lights inside them so I get a light  show when I am turning. You wouldn’t get that in a store bought steady


Here is a brief video


Making a Lathe Steady

I have been slowly making a  lathe steady. There are lots of examples on YouTube some very fancy and some strange. I opted for a plywood construction as the material is easy to work with. The plywood is 19 mm thick. Using a piece of 6 mm MDF I created a full size template. Resting the MDF on the bed of the lathe and using a pointed live centre on the drive side of the lathe the exact centre of the template was created. This takes some of the guess work out of making a full size template.

Two concentric circles were drawn from this centre creating  a ring  about 40 mm in size.  Two rings were glued together making the lathe steady 38 mm thick.  The lathe steady uses three roller blade wheels which are in contact with the material being turned. The three roller blade wheels are spaced equally around the ring and. They are supported by three stays that have slots allowing adjustment for materials of differing thickness.

The base was further reinforced  by glueing extra pieces of plywood to the base creating a 76 mm wide base. A bolt with metal washer attaches the steady to the lathe.

A bit of stop motion fun

One of the things that I enjoy about woodworking is making pepper grinders. They are a bit of a challenge in particular with my lathe which is under-powered for the job. This doesn’t stop me it just takes longer. I have my eye on a larger lathe with a little more grunt. I have been preparing some blanks for the next round of pepper grinders and I decided to have a crack at a short stop motion video. Spur of the moment without too much planning. I got he idea from watching Frank Howarth’s YouTube videos check out his web site www.frankmakes.com. He does quite a few stop motion videos. He has also produced a few behind the scenes videos showing some of what he does including the equipment he uses.

Taking my que from Frank Howarth I set up my DSLR a Nikon D40x on a tripod and started shooting. I took about 70 photos and imported them into my video editing program. I use Pinnacle Studio 17. A bit of background music and some effects so voila.


Lathe setup

The attached video shows my lathe setup and an overview of a pepper grinder being turned. The lathe steady is far from ideal but it only only cost $29. It did require a little wrangling to make it fit the bed of my lathe. I intend to make a larger steady out of plywood and use roller blade wheels.

The lathe is under powered for 10 inch pepper grinders but I still managed to make it.  However in the best traditions working from home you make the best of what you have. It takes longer than I would like but luckily I enjoy turning.

I filmed the entire thing on my iPhone 5 and uploaded it to YouTube. I haven’t uploaded a YouTube video for while. There is now a basic video editor. This means that I was able to stitch together four short clips. Pretty basic but did the trick.