Reshaping a Magnolia Home Dough Bowl

Last week, my wife, Anita, and I were walking through Target buying some clearance Christmas crap when Anita spotted this dough bowl on the shelf. If you know who Chip and Joanna Gaines are from the HGTV show Fixer Upper, then you’re probably aware that they have their own line of home decor in Target called Magnolia Home. Originally this Magnolia Home bowl was $50.00, but it was on clearance for only $15.00. Anita asked me to make a dough bowl for her a couple of years ago, but the project never got finished even though I got a piece of wood for it at a local lumberyard. For $15.00, I figured I could reshape this thing to make it look like the expensive antique dough bowls found in antique stores.

IMG_20190107_111413_566.jpg

The first thing I did was cut the stupid handles off and try to deepen the inside of the bowl out with a Northwest adze. The bowl is made from paulownia wood, a native to east Asia that grows ridiculously fast. It’s easy to work, but your tools need to be sharp in order to cut the through the porous grain. I was using the adze for a few minutes, but didn’t feel I was getting anywhere so I turned to my angle grinder with a King Arthur grinding disc.

20190106_095918.jpg

The grinder worked better, but it threw up a tremendous amount of dust. After a few minutes of that, I said screw it and stopped. The next time I use my grinder with that disc wheel, I’ll do it outdoors. Way too much dust for a basement shop.

20190106_100934.jpg

I ended up finishing the inside using a simple gouge. I’m not sure of the sweep of the gouge I was using, but I’m sure it was the wrong one. I bought a carving set at Costco about ten years ago and they are the only carving tools I own. If I was going to make a lot of these dough bowls, I’d buy the right tools for the job.

20190106_104048.jpg

After I was satisfied with the depth of the inside, I drew around the edge to mark where I wanted perimeter of the bowl to be. I wasn’t designing this bowl using elements based on the golden ratio or from the proportions of vases from ancient Egypt. I simply wanted a bowl that looked organic in form and handmade.

20190106_110017.jpg

I took the bowl over to my band saw and cut the ends off. You can see the rings of the paulownia wood and how fast the tree grows.

20190106_110208.jpg

Chopping off the backside of the bowl was the toughest part. I used everything I could from axes, to chisels, to a drawknife. Whatever it took to get the job done I did as long as the tool was sharp as to not crush the end grain. The drawknife ended up working the best.

20190106_120905.jpg

After a few hours, this is how the bowl came out. Turned out to be more of a pain in the ass than I thought it would, but my Anita likes it which is all that really matters. I doubt I’ll ever do it again unless I have a piece of green wood to start with.

20190107_083328.jpg

Advertisements

Eight Year Anniversary

Today is my eight year anniversary of my blog on WordPress. Eight years later, I’m further than I thought I would have been when I started, but still not far enough from where I need to be in order to have accomplished something. I guess I’ll keep plugging along. Thanks for being a part of it.

Mike

Making Black Shellac

Several years ago I heard about making black shellac out of an old 78 record. At the time, I didn’t have an old 78 around so I never gave much thought about it, but a few weeks ago, my Dad gave me some old records he had lying around his garage. In the pile were some old 78’s that were broken. I thought this would be a good opportunity to try to make black shellac.

wp-1543171785140.jpg

The first thing I did was make sure that the 78, even while broke, wasn’t worth anything. I scanned eBay to see what a good condition Darktown Strutters Ball was going for. At $3.00 plus shipping, it wasn’t worth much, so I was willing to destroy the record. I would only try this with broken 78’s that aren’t worth anything. Doing this to a 78 that is in good shape is considered sacrilege to audiophiles. Plus, you can only do this with old 78’s. Any newer records are made of vinyl and won’t work at all.

Screenshot_20181125-134856_eBay.jpg

I broke the record apart like snapping a KitKat. I couldn’t believe how easily it snapped in half. I then stuck all the pieces into a plastic bag and crushed it more with a hammer.

20181125_151218.jpg

20181125_151900.jpg

Next, I weighed the pieces into a mason jar and measured out 4 ounces of shellac since I was making a two pound cut with 16 ounces of denatured alcohol

20181125_152248.jpg

20181125_152401.jpg

If you get confused on much shellac flakes you need for certain pound cut of shellac, here’s a simple chart I’ve been using for years. Since I make 2 cups of shellac, I double the amount of flakes I need for a two pound cut on the chart. Pretty simple.

20181125_153115.jpg

Like any other shellac, I let the solution set for a day or two stirring the mix every few hours to help break it down. With the black carbon in the old 78 record, there will always be a sludge at the bottom of the jar. I shake and stir the black shellac before I use it to make sure the black dye is mixed well in the solution.

20181215_202955.jpg

Below is a sample of three coats of black shellac on four different species of wood. You can see how the soft maple and red oak look a bit muddy however, the southern yellow pine and poplar highlight the early wood and late wood of the grain. As of right now, I’m just playing around with the shellac. I need to see how it performs on a project I make. What I like about the shellac so far is that it’s very quick to add more coats not having to wait very long between coats as the shellac dries very fast.

20181215_102324.jpg

This is one side of an old rosewood tote from a Stanley plane with normal blonde shellac applied to it. Below is the other side of the tote with a coat of black shellac. Even though, the blonde shellac pops the grain, you can see how the grain on the black shellac is much more subdue and looks more natural. It’s all in what your intentions are.

20181127_090230.jpg

20181127_090152.jpg

Have you ever played around with black shellac? Let me know what you think about it.

 

Popular Woodworking’s New Look

I received the latest issue of Popular Woodworking today. As soon as I saw the cover, I knew things had changed big time with the magazine. I read on Lost Art Press blog a few weeks ago that Chris Schwarz will no longer write articles for them. That, and the fact that since a lot of the old contributors like Megan Fitzpatrick, Bob Lang, and Glen Huey are long gone, the magazine is a complete a new rag.

20181015_172954.jpg

The new look just looks like a typical run of the mill woodworking magazine that appeals to the masses. Something like a Woodworker’s Journal or American Woodworker. It definitely lost its old hand tool feel charm. As far as the projects inside, don’t get me started. I asked my wife about the projects in it (basically two of them) and she said “who builds this shit? Why don’t they put furniture in there that people want to make?” It’s been an ongoing conversation with us for years about why I subscribe to woodworking magazines with uninspiring projects in it.

20181015_181409.jpg

The new look has a lot of photo boxes where they describe what’s going on in the picture. Not a bad idea as it’s kind of the same idea of how I write this blog, but the layout seems a bit impersonal. On the plus side, they did have an article about welding. I’ve always thought that woodworking magazines should focus more on mixed mediums. Plus, Peter Follansbee’s Arts and Mysteries and George Walker’s Design Matters are still there.

20181015_173001.jpg

I also noticed there are a lot of ads in the magazine for people who are old. From hearing aids, to walk in tubs, to a plethora of ads for medications. Don’t get me wrong, I actually don’t mind ads. If anything I learn from the good ones, but damn, don’t make me feel like I need to go get my dentures fitted.

20181015_173044.jpg

Did you get your copy? If so, what do you think? Am I being too harsh? Are the days of the old Popular Woodworking concentrating on hand tools techniques long gone? It’s frustrating because Popular Woodworking was my favorite magazine. I guess I’ll have to start subscribing to Mortise and Tenon instead.

Hillbilly Tool Stand

My wife hates this thing. She hates the noise it makes as well as the little wire bristles that fly off the wheel and land onto the floor only to be stepped on with bare feet. Can’t say I blame her as I too have had the fun of pulling a wire out of my foot from time to time. So, it’s been delegated to the garage from now on. The problem was when I used the thing in the garage, I had to step on the end of it with my foot so it wouldn’t spin away, and then bend over to clean my tool parts. Not exactly ideal working conditions.

20180902_114700.jpg

I was going to buy a tool stand from Harbor Freight for $40 but, I was too cheap to buy one. Seems like the money was never available since it’s been tight around here for awhile. I kept thinking of what else I could use as a tool stand when it dawned on me to use one of my old sawhorses.

20180902_114725.jpg

I simply took three 3/4″ boards that were 6″ wide to lift the buffer to a comfortable height, and laminated them together. Then took two more to straddle the side of the sawhorse and bolted the buffer onto a base. So simple it’s stupid, but it works.

IMG_20180902_161821_320.jpg

I guess if I worked for a woodworking magazine, I’d make this fixture out of nice cabinet grade maple plywood and stainless steel woodworking screws, but since I don’t, I just whipped it up with some scrap wood and drywall screws. Terrible I know. If you want, you could probably submit this tip to a magazine and win a cordless jigsaw. haha. You can thank me later.

10 Signs You Might be a Woodworking Snob

10. When your friend tells you about his awesome CNC machine, you walk away.

9. You think all the employees at Woodcraft are idiots.

8. You use liquid hide glue on everything.

7. You claim to be a hand tool only purist, yet you stream all your favorite TV shows on Netflix.

6. You think using Kreg pocket screws are beneath you.

5. You use the word “bespoke” because “custom” is too pedestrian.

4. You haven’t been inspired by an article in a woodworking magazine since 1996.

3. Your workbench is nicer than your dining room table.

2. You think smelling like walnut sawdust is a good thing.

1. You own every title from Lost Art Press even though you have no idea where Estonia is.

Cheers!

Happy Easter.

Mike