Custom Bottle Openers
A couple weeks before Father’s Day I was asked to make some custom acrylic handled bottle openers. Not a problem, I can do this and the primary color was to be orange. Once a again not a problem or so I thought.
I decided that a good secondary color would be yellow or gold. So Mary (my lovely wife and assistant) and I got to mixing up the Alumilite. I poured parts A & B and Mary stirred them together. I added orange coloring to the Alumilite and it turned red. Wait red? So I put in more orange coloring and it was still red. More coloring, still red. I added gold flakes to the other clear Alumilite that we had stirred up and that was gold. We were running out of time. We have seven minutes from the time that part A and B start being mixed together until the mixture has to be in the mold and under air pressure or else the urethane acrylic starts to harden and the air bubbles are too big and will leave voids in the acrylic. The air pressure makes the air bubbles so small that they aren’t a problem. I realize that seven minutes sounds like plenty of time but it can get intense especially if things don’t seem to be going quite as planned.
So we are at five and a half minutes and things aren’t looking good. Actually they are looking great but it’s red and not orange. We pour the colors into the mold and mix them together to get some swirls working for us. We just made it under the allotted time and the proof will be once they are turned.
The next day I took the block out from under pressure and, yup, it’s still red and gold. I cut the block up into the 4 blanks that I needed and the block is still showing red and gold but the shavings that were created during the cutting process are orange. Well all right, now things are looking up.
I start to turn the first handle and the handle looks like it’s red and gold but the shavings on the floor, the lathe and me are orange and gold. I get the handle done and polished up and it’s a beautiful red and gold but not orange, unlike my shop. These shavings are clinging to everything. You can see every place that I walked because I am leaving behind a trail of orange shavings.
We show the customer two of the openers to see what she thinks of them, and luckily for us, she loved them. They really are spectacular. The coloring has a lot of depth to it and if you rotate the handles in the light things seem to change and shift.
- Kim Dailey
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May Flowers - Limited Edition Haynes MillMeet the limited edition 8 inch Haynes pepper mill made in May Flowers laminated Birch veneer.
- Kim Dailey
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Day 3 and I found a cool appJed and I for day three and the app that I used to put together this cool video.
- Kim Dailey
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Recently I've been experimenting more with stabilizing wood and also with dying wood during the stabilizing process. So far I've stabilized the following woods: Birdseye Maple, Box Elder Burl, Cherry Burl, Curly Maple, Maple Burl and Redwood Burl. I've dyed and stabilized the following woods: Box Elder Burl with the color blue and Curly Maple with the color green.
Stabilizing is a process where as much moisture is cooked out of the wood as possible and then the wood is put in to a vacuum chamber with resin. The vacuum pulls the air in the wood out of the wood and replaces it with the resin. If I want to add color to the wood I just mix the resin with a dye and then do the process of putting the wood into the vacuum chamber with the dyed resin. The wood is generally under vacuum for an hour or more and then left to soak in the resin (or resin and dye) for hours or sometimes a day or more. Once this part is done, I then take the wood out of the chamber and wrap the pieces in aluminum foil and put them in to the oven to cook the wood again. Don't worry, I have a separate toaster oven that I do this in and I don't use our kitchen oven for this process. After allowing the wood to cool sufficiently, I take off the foil and I'm ready to start the turning process with the stabilized wood.
From left to right in the picture above
Dyed Green Box Elder Burl t-handle bottle stopper and corkscrew combination
Dyed Blue Box Elder Burl t-handle bottle stopper and corkscrew combination
Dyed Green Curly Maple handle on the pizza cutter
Stabilized Birdseye Maple t-handle bottle stopper and corkscrew combination
- Kim Dailey
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Looking for some honey
I've been looking for something small to make. I had a few guidelines for myself to follow. I didn't want to use anything thicker than 1-inch wood and I wanted to be able to turn it on my mini-lathe. Oh, and I wanted to be able to turn most of the piece using only the skew.
Probably one of my wife, Mary's, all time favorite characters is Winnie-the-Pooh. So I did what Pooh would do. I sat down, tapped my head repeatedly with my right hand and said, "Think, Think, Think". When that didn't work for me, I got up and walked around and again, repeatedly tapped my head with my right hand and said, "Think, Think, Think".
When the headache finally cleared, I came up with the idea of making honey dippers. I would start with wood that was 1 inch by 7 inches long and I would be able to use the skew for at least 90 percent of the project. A parting tool would be used for the rest. Perfect!
I turned the prototypes that you see in the picture above and then realized that I had another problem. Do they really work? See I don't use honey in much stuff, I'm already sweet enough. Don't ask my wife about that one though, I'm pretty sure she would just roll her eyes.
I don't say it enough - Thank you
I don't say it enough to my customers but I owe you a huge thank you. Thank you for allowing me to do what I love to do more than anything else. Thank you for allowing me to have a flexible schedule. Let's be honest, do you really care if I'm out of bed and in my shop working on your order of mills at 9 am? No, probably not. Do you care if I'm working on them at 1 am? No, probably not. It's not top of your mind but you probably do care that I got to see my oldest daughter's field hockey games or tennis matches or my youngest push herself in a cross-country ski race or softball game. In the long run, by being able to see our daughters do these things you've helped me be a better father, husband and wood turner. I'm more focused on what's at hand and how could that not make me better.
I get to meet great people at shows and through on-line correspondence. The pieces that I make get to see parts of the world that I can only hope to see one day. I get to be a part of your lives and most of us have never met in person. You spend hours agonizing over getting someone the perfect gift for their wedding, maybe it's for Christmas or Hanukkah or maybe it's for that special someone's birthday and it turns out to be something that I get to share in too. I get to make that gift for your loved one.
Sometimes I even hear back from you or the loved one on the receiving end of your generosity. I get feedback from people like JS in Minnesota who shared this about a set of mini-grinders that she bought: "I bought these as a gift for my mom for Christmas. Not only was she thrilled with them, she let me know they were her favorite present of the year!".
JF from Pennsylvania wrote and told me this: "Kim, Words cannot express how much I love the grinders, your presentation and your craft! The pieces are so beautiful...true statement pieces on my counter top. Thank you for taking great care in shipping and just all of the finishing touches. I know what to order for future wedding gifts! Thanks again and keep on turning!!!!!"
That's pretty heady stuff for a guy working in his basement shop, deep in the woods of Maine. Thank you for sharing how the pieces that I've made affect you or the lucky recipients of your gift giving.
But most of all, thank you for taking a chance on me and please keep sharing your stories and photos.