Sunday, May 18, 2008

J. Paul Fennell visits Central Ohio Woodturners - - Part II

The second half of J. Paul Fennell's demonstration focused on surface enhancement and carving techniques. Paul started the afternoon session by talking about design inspirations. He shared a couple of books, including: "Photography and the art of seeing." I can't remember the name of the other book and I forgot to snap a picture of it. Maybe Paul will send me a note to remind me and I'll update the blog to include the title.

The first texturing technique was pretty cool. Scored, parallel lines along the length of a turning. Paul first prepped a surface to use for the demonstration.

The scored lines are put in using a homemade tool that can cut evenly spaced grooves into the wood. The last groove of each pass serves as the guide for the next set.

This is Paul's grooving tool. It's a file with a cutter of several teeth soldered to the end.

Here's a closer look at the tool and its components.

The cutting teeth are from a die for tapping holes. Parallel edges are ground down to leave a flat surface where the teeth from two sides are exposed.

A length of this is snapped off and soldered to the file to make the grooving tool.

It's a pretty cool effect. I've seen several of Paul's hollow forms that have this texturing. It adds a wonderful dimension to a beautiful turning. At one point, Paul was adding metal leaf over the grooved surface and that added another interesting effect.

The grooves can be deepened using another homeade tool - basically a point tool where two sides are ground as in a skew and the top surface is slightly relieved into a negative rake. It's kind of a hybrid between a scraper and a skew.

Here's the side profile.

Before Paul started his carving demonstration, he talked about design layout. He uses a grid system where he draws lines onto the vessel prior to drawing the pattern. To facilitate making this layout graphing paper, he designed an indexing system where you can put any number of divisions onto the vessel. This is the wheel part of it. I didn't get a good detail shot of how the pin set-up works, but you can see the slots in the wheel. He has a sliding stop that fits into each of those grooves.

Alas, poor Yorick!

Alternatively, it could be "The thinker."

However, it was the vessel Paul was using for his carving demo.

Paul used an air-driven power carver that runs at 400,000 rpm. This particular one is made by NSK.

Paul made a manifold to run 6 carvers simultaneously for his hands-on class. After using it the next day, he's going to do some tweaking of the design.

This is a really neat design where the grooves have sharp edges.

Tool marks are cleaned up using small sanding disks placed in a micromotor tool. Paul uses double-sided masking tape to connect the disk to the mandrel. Disks of various sizes are cut with a leather punch.

This is going to be a really neat piece when it is finished. The wood is Eucalyptus, and it has some stunning figure.

Paul showed his piercing technique using a thin piece of wood.

A bit of heat is generated.

Here are some of the designs Paul showed us.

A few more here.

Paul has started an online company called "" All of the burs he demonstrated are available here. They are topnotch dental lab burs and I've been beta testing them. I highly recommend you try them if you are a woodcarver.

The last technique Paul demonstrated was a texturing pattern that used an engraver and a variable speed controller.

Paul used a rounded over nail to vibrate a random pattern over the surface.

The afternoon session went very well and everyone enjoyed the demonstration and the time spent with Paul.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wonder if you can get the same grooves using thread-chasers?