Sunday, 17 August 2014

Normal services will resume shortly

The summer months are a particularly busy time for me at work so I tend to push the mini making to one side. I've learned from experience that being tired or stressed is a sure way of destroying anything I'm working on. However my employers are pretty cool in that they actively promote having a break away from your desk. So August hasn't been a complete write-off. I took my lathe with me and set it down in a quiet little corner of the workshop so that I could work during a lunch break.



Ordinarily you would bolt the lathe to a table to stop it moving but the solid block of oak underneath mine works fine (even if I do need a burly bloke to lift it for me). I've turned to the lathe because I need to make multiple, cylindrical objects to fill the shelves of my miniature workshed. Rather than buying or making ten silicone tubes, I intend to make a mould of one and then cast as many as I need. 
I'm making masters of the shape out of dowels...





The reason is a simple one. Dowels are cheap, really cheap. I bought a bag of a 100 in 6, 8 and 10mm for less than £2. The other thing is that dowels tend to be made of Ramin which is easy to work on a lathe.
I can't remember if it was the very talented Linda or the equally very talented Karin who mentioned making your own tools, but I needed some rather fine chisels to get the shapes I was after. I used a set of spectacle repair screwdrivers and shaped the metal with a grinding stone to get different profiles. 


This will be a tub of Polyfilla 



This is a couple of weeks worth of lunch breaks - solvent/cement bottle - a mustard bottle - tub of Polyfilla - wood glue bottle and a tube of silicone. The mustard bottle, though it won't appear in the shed, was a practice piece =0)

I'm a little aprehensive about casting these because it's not something I'm practised at. But, I'll never know until I try. Wish me luck!

Apart from that I've jumped back onto another project which I started over two years ago (eek) My Dear Hubby bought me a kit shop as a Birthday present and I shamefully put it to one side when I couldn't think what to have inside. I'm still no closer to deciding what the shop will sell but at least it has a brick exterior, roof tiles and upper floor windows.



 I didn't like the windows that came with the kit because they looked very 'play-school' to me. I think these mimic the curves of the larger first floor windows much better. I really need to make a concerted effort to bring this project to a conclusion. Inspiration will hit me in the face eventually...it always does.

Have a wonderful day

Pepper =0)
 








40 comments:

  1. Love the lathe work! I like seeing them in their wooden format too. I hadn't thought of using dowels. I got a tad envious when I saw the Unimat :D And the shop looks brilliant, I really like the windows and the brick and roof tile work. It's perfect. There are so many types of shop that would be fun to make, and they can always go out of business and a new one open up :D

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    1. Hi Sarah,
      I like them in wood too. I was actually given the lathe as a gift by a really talented architectural modeller when he retired. I Don't think I could ever be that lucky again.. Cool idea. I could have a yearly shop change when the lease runs out for the tennants =0P

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  2. Boy I would like to take a class in mini lathe like that!

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    1. Hey Grandmommy. I'm sure there would be lots of courses in your neck of the woods =0)

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  3. Oh my your woodworking skills are quite amazing!. I always dream of getting some kind of magical wood creating device that would carve fancy things for me..but then I just stare at the wall.. ;)

    The corner shop is a wonderful build! I love the colors on it, I am sure the inspiration will happen when the busy time is less crazy!
    ~J

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    1. Aw thanks Jane, that's really nice of you to say =0)

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  4. What a great idea to turn your casting moulds from dowels. They look great! And making your own chisels, very clever. A wonderful way to spend your time during lunch breaks!

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    1. Hi Josje, I'm all about saving money and using what's available. I imagine dowels would be really good for all sorts of turnings =0)

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  5. I agree with Josje. It is a great idea. I look forward to seeing your castings. You could also turn plastic on your lathe if you go a bit slower. It melts if you go too fast. You can even sand a polish it while it is turning.
    I also have a Unimat I think it is a wonderful lathe.

    Your shop is looking great!!!

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    1. Hey Catherine, I've tried acrylic and wood but not much else. I'd like to get to grips with metal in time. It is a fantastic lathe to use isn't it? =0)

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  6. Has realizado un trabajo estupendo con el torno.

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    1. Muchas gracias Isabel. Eso es muy amable de su parte decir

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  7. Hi Pepper! Beautiful lathe work! The shapes are instantly recognizable. I have to admit I did wonder why you wanted a mustard bottle for the shed! My dad actually used an old mustard bottle to keep seeds in his shed, so there is a precedent there!
    The weathered bricks and roof tiles on your shop are amazingly realistic. Personally I think it should sell Lego, but I'm a bit biased!!
    Kind regards, Brian.

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    1. Aw thanks Brian. Ah, so I wasn't mad turning a mustard bottle? Your Dad obviously had great ideas for storage =0)
      Lego...? Man that would be an awful lot of bricks to make ha-ha. Boxes of lego...? That might be doable =0P

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  8. I've been trying for months to join your blog but google won't let me.....can't comment either so this comment is a test. And in case it does publish I want to say that your turnings are perfect! You've clearly made some wonderful tools to turn with.
    I LOVE the bricks on the building :)

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    1. Hi Linda,
      urgh, Google works when it feels like, I've had the same problems too. At least your comment slipped through the net =0)
      Yeah, a really clever lady pointed me in the right direction with making my own chisels. They worked like a charm =0)

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  9. Hi pepper,

    Your turnings are amazing, I can't wait to see how they turn out, no pun intended. What type of lathe do you have? It seems a great size for mini work.

    Natalie

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    1. Hi Natalie, it's an Emco Unimat 3 hobby lathe. They don't do this particular model anymore but you can buy the newer version of Unimat hobby lathes and accessories at most hobby stores. It is a great size for working miniatures =0)

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  10. creo que has hecho un gran trabajo con el torno, yo seria incapaz , soy totalmente negada con la madera

    besitos

    Mari

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    1. muchas gracias Mari, que es muy amable

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  11. Hello Pepper,
    Great work and using the dowels is a very clever idea. I love the shop and look forward to seeing what you use it for...maybe a carpenter's workroom or a tool shop??? You inspire me to get a bit more adventurous with tools...my utility knife and xacto blades have their limitations.
    Big hug,
    Giac

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    1. Thanks Giac.
      If all you're using is an knife and xacto blades then you're doing some pretty amazing work with them =0)

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  12. Great post and great photos - I love what you did with the dowels. Very creative and inspiring.

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    1. Thank you Troy, really appreciate that =0)

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  13. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who's had a busy summer! ;-) How creative of you to take your lathe to work! I adore that mustard bottle, BTW. I'll be interested in hearing how the mold making goes. I have a few things I'd like to make a mold of but haven't tried yet. You've done an amazing job on the exterior of the shop--hubby must be so proud! xo Jennifer

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    1. Thank you Jennifer. I really hope the molds work...it's a first for me so I'm keeping everything crossed =0)

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  14. Really great pieces Pepper! I think it was mentioned above how easily recognizable they are, quite an accomplishment for something so tiny and handmade. I'm blown away at the quality of wood these dowels make, I never would have thought! ..And that exterior ...bless. It's so pretty! I immediately think bookshop for some reason, but I can't wait to see what you do. Hugs :)

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    1. Hi Kristine, yeah the Ramin is a really nice wood to carve. I was told by a joiner that it's used for expensive moulding in skirting boards so I thought why not. Funny, I think bookshop...it must look like a bookshop that we've both seen =0)

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  15. Pepper you never fail to astonish me with your talent. Tiny bottles and tubes from dowel! Mind blowing!

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    1. Aww thank you. That's very kind of you =0)

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  16. that is such a smart thing to do and what a great job you have been doing with those masters! I love them all, but am especially in awe of the wood glue bottle, that top must be tiny, but is just amazing! Good luck with the casting, I'm sure you'll succeed! The shop looks great, what did you make the stones of? They look so good. I'm not very helpfull with ideas on the interior I'm afraid, all I can think of is small type of gallery or something? Doesn't need a lot to fill it either, so maybe quite doable too, if you would like it of course, but I'm sure you'll come up with something wonderful!

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    1. Hey sweets, the brick is Richard Stacey brick slips. I love them because it's real brick slices and I don't have to paint them (which I am terrible at) =0)

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  17. Pepper: you are so talented: Those tiny tubes and bottles are gorgeous, I Love them all!!
    And the shop is so beautiful, can't wait to see more!
    Hugs
    Kikka

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  18. Amazing! Those wooden dowels have been transformed, and the miniatures look perfect! I like the brick work on the shop too, and the tiling, looking forward to seeing what you decide to do with it eventually!

    Andy

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  19. Oh wow, that looks fantastic! I've not used a lathe much but it was great fun when I had to make a miniature mouse clickwheel for college.

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  20. I've never seen the results of miniatures made on a lathe. How did you learn how to do it?

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    1. Hi Julie,
      basically I watched a lot of videos. I had limited experience from using a lathe in college so when I got one, I watched how everyone else did it and then practiced =0)

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