Weekend Projects - Five items for the office archive

Friday 22 April 2016

Sue Harker creates five different useful items for the office, all of which add a more personal and unique addition to your working environment

Gallery

It would be so easy to take a trip to your local stationer’s or go on the internet to buy variations of the items illustrated in this article; however, these individually turned projects add a more personal and unique addition to any study or office environment. All the projects in this article are made using basic turning techniques and have each been sanded down to 400 grit abrasive. They have been made from a selection of timbers but would suit being turned from the same species, if they are all to sit on the same desk. The mug coaster/drip tray has been made oversize to allow for accidental spillage to be contained within the coaster. It has been coated with several coats of finishing oil to offer water and heat resistance. The knick knack tidy has been designed to hold paper clips in the dish, and pens, pencils, highlighter pens, erasers, etc. in the remainder. The letter rack has been made from one disc of turned mahogany (Khaya ivorensis) which has been cut into three pieces and glued together; you could add small button feet to raise it from the desk if you like. For the picture frame I have used a small, spalted beech (Fagus sylvatica), bowl blank. The glass can be obtained from a glazier and the fixing can be purchased from a picture frame supplier or recycled from broken or surplus picture frames. The clock has been made with a small clock insert but could be scaled up to receive a larger clock insert, should you wish.

Letter rack

Tools used:

10mm standard-grind bowl gouge

10mm bead former

Negative-rake scraper

Take a piece of mahogany measuring 240mm diameter x 25mm thick. The easiest way to mount the timber on the lathe is with a vacuum chuck. Thickness the timber first and mount on a vacuum chuck. Turn into the round and true up the front surface. Cut the cove and bead details making sure the surface remains totally flat. Sand to a finish and apply two coats of sanding sealer before removing from the chuck. If you do not have a vacuum chuck, thickness the timber and attach a sacrificial chucking spigot using hot melt glue. When the turning is complete, the sacrificial chucking spigot can then be removed by applying heat to the glue. Sand the underneath using an orbital sander working through the grits and apply two coats of sanding sealer. Using a bandsaw, cut into three pieces: 115mm for the top section, 40mm for the middle section and 70mm for the front section. Trim the centre section until the concentric bead details match with those on the bottom edge of the back section. Cut off the cove detail. To do this, set the rip fence to the width of the cove and use it as a guide to evenly remove the cove as close to the bead as possible. Sand smooth and apply sanding sealer. Attach some masking tape where the glue joints will be and buff the remaining timber using a three-mop buffing system. Glue the pieces together taking care that the finished item sits squarely on a flat surface.

Mug coaster/drip tray

Tools used:

10mm standard-grind bowl gouge

10mm bedan

6mm parting tool

Three-point tool

Negative-rake scraper

1.5mm fluted parting tool

Take a piece of ash measuring 125mm diameter x 38mm thick. Mount on the lathe using a Forstner bit drilled hole, the correct size for your chuck. Turn the timber into the round approximately 120mm diameter and cut two beads on the outer edge. Using a bedan or similar, cut a 7mm deep recess to a diameter of 105mm. Cut concentric ‘V’ grooves in the bottom of the coaster and sand to the required finish. Use a fluted parting tool to part off. Use the remaining timber to cut a jam chuck to receive the coaster. Mount on the jam chuck, true up the underneath and slightly undercut. A couple of ‘V’ grooves can be added for decoration. Sand to a finish and remove from the jam chuck. Apply several coats of finishing oil; this will give the coaster some moisture and heat protection.

Olive ash clock

Tools used:

25mm spindle roughing gouge

6mm parting tool

12mm fingernail-profile spindle gouge

1.5mm fluted parting tool

Take a piece of olive ash measuring 75 x 75 x 100mm for this project. Mount between centres and turn into the round. Cut a chucking spigot at one end and mount in the chuck. Dome over the front edge and drill a hole to receive a clock insert. Only 50mm is required for the body so make a reference cut, then sand to a finish and apply sanding sealer. Once dry, apply friction polish and buff to a shine. Part off and use a scrap piece of timber to make a jam chuck to receive the recess cut for the clock insert. Tidy the parted off section and decorate with a bead and button detail. Sand, seal and apply friction polish before removing from the lathe. Drill a 12mm diameter hole in the underneath of the clock body at an angle to slightly tilt the clock face upwards. The base is made from the remaining timber. Cut a 12mm diameter spigot at the top; this will attach to the clock body. When shaped, sanded, sealed and polished, use a fluted parting tool to part the base off, slightly undercutting. Sand the underneath by hand before applying a finish.

Knick knack tidy

Tools used:

10mm standard-grind bowl gouge

6mm parting tool

25mm spindle roughing gouge

12mm fingernail-profile spindle gouge

1.5mm fluted parting tool

Negative-rake scraper

10mm bedan

This is a nice little project which requires three pieces of elm (Ulmus procera): one piece 185mm diameter x 45mm, one piece measuring 100mm diameter x 50mm, and another piece 50 x 50mm x approximately 380mm long. Using a thicknesser, thickness the 185mm diameter piece of elm and sand the back surface with an orbital sander. Using a vacuum chuck or a sacrificial chucking spigot, mount on the lathe and turn into the round. Round over the edge and cut a shallow recess continuing the rolled over rim. Sand to a finish and apply sanding sealer before removing from the lathe. Mount the 100mm diameter piece of timber on the lathe and turn a shallow bowl. Cut a flat bottom and a 25mm diameter spigot for attaching to the tray. Cut the 50 x 50 x 380mm piece of timber into three lengths approximately 90mm, 125mm and 165mm. Each piece needs to be turned in the same way. Mount between centres using a steb centre and a revolving taildrive. Turn into the round and cut a chucking spigot at one end. Mount in the chuck and turn into a 45mm diameter parallel cylinder. Drill a 35mm hole to the required depth using a Forstner bit held in a Jacobs chuck. Then, cut a 25mm diameter spigot at the base and part off. Sit the tubes and dish on the base and mark the positions for drilling. Use a pillar drill to drill 25mm diameter holes to receive the four components. Glue together and apply oil to finish.

Picture frame

Tools used:

10mm standard-grind bowl gouge

6mm parting tool

12mm fingernail-profile spindle gouge

Negative-rake scraper

This picture frame is made from a piece of spalted beech (Fagus sylvatica) measuring 155mm diameter x 38mm thick. Drill a hole with a Forstner bit held in a pillar drill the correct size for your chuck. Due to the size of the timber and drill, it is advisable to clamp the timber to hold securely while drilling. Mount on the lathe and turn into approximately 153mm diameter. True up the surface and cut a rebate 6mm deep and 10mm wide at 103mm diameter. Cut a chucking recess for reverse mounting. Sand to a finish and apply two coats of sanding sealer. Reverse mount and turn the front profile, sand to a finish and apply sanding sealer. Put masking tape on the back surface and part through at a diameter of 93mm; the masking tape should hold the frame securely enough to allow you to stop the lathe once parted through. Sand the parted section by hand and you can achieve a deep gloss by buffing on a three-mop buffing system. Use a 2mm thick piece of picture framing glass and fixings to complete the project.


Briony Darnley

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Sue Harker , Weekend Projects