Monday, September 25, 2006

Big ironwood natural edge bowl 1 ...

Today was a public holiday.
When I got into the workshop I felt very brave and mounted a large dry cracked ironwood bowl blank on the Stubby.

Before the hard work begins.

Turned the outside shape. That took a couple of hours!

This is the outside shape almost finished. A nice large spiggot turned so the blank can be reversed into the Axminster chuck.

The pith of the log is completely rotten and will result in large windows through the bowl.
I finished the day by reversing the blank and turning just beyond the depth of the wings.

Thanks to Gigi for taking the pics.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Solar eclipse in Cape Town ...

We had a 71% solar eclipse in Capetown at about 15h00 on 22 September.

I did not have anything to shield my eyes so I did not look at the sun.
However I went outside and looked at the shaddows under some trees that grow (imperceptably) in Dorp Street. Look at the shape of the shafts of sunlight on the tarmac. The gaps between the leaves act as pinholes, casting images of the partially obscurred sun on the ground.

A georgous spring day in Cape Town ...

Here is a pic I took on 22 September from the top of the building where I work in Cape Towm. It was an absolutely perfect spring day. This picture of Devil's Peak, left and Table Mountain is a panaorma comprising three separate images. Click on the picture below to enlarge it.

The Company Garden (green trees) can be seen at lower centre. This is where Jan van Riebeeck of the Dutch East India Company planted the first vegetable garden in 1652 shortly after he arrived in the Cape under the instruction to set up a victualing station for ships of the company plying the spice route to the Indies. The green roofed building is theCape Town High Court. My office looks out opposite the clock tower, bottom right. From my office window I get a view of the left half of the moutain just to the left of the concrete monstrosity behind the High Court!

The same day we had a 72% solar eclipse at about 15h000. See next post.

Burl walnut veneer core ...

About 4 years ago my brother-in-law, Hans Volkmann, gave me a 'log'. He had apparently bought it years before with the intention of sculpting it but had never done so. He could not tell me what sort of wood it was. It has been lying in my shed since then.

A couple of weeks ago I hauled out the lump from the bottom of the woodpile. It looked like a very dry burl. Indeed I suspected that it was walnut. I cut some of it up onto small bowl blanks and have since turned a couple of georgeous vessels from it. I'll post some pics soon. While I was busy with one piece on the lathe, Geoff Barton who runs theoffcuts section of Rare Woods stopped buy to deliver info to Gigi for the club newsletter. Looking at the impression of the drive dog on the end of the 'log' he confirmed my suspicion that the piece was actually the core of a log that had been used to make veneer. He confirmed later after conferring with the owner of Rare Woods, Rory Wood (yes believe it!) that it was walnut that Rory had imported about 25 years ago. ... and yes the wood is dry!

Last evening I took a couple of the vessels I had turned from the core to the show and tell at the club. I'll post pics of these georgeous vessels after I have photographed them tomorrow morning. Graeme Hill mentioned to me that Rory Wood had actually ordered 'walnut scraps' from an overseas supplier, expecting to receive scrap walnut planks. He was apparently surprised and dissapointed to receive these veneer cores. Never mind, I have put at least one of them to very good use 25 years later.

See the impression of the drive dog on this end of the 'log'

The wood has lots of character!

Global Warming ! ...

Global warming is essentially caused by the energy that is normally reflected back off the earth's surface being absorbed by the polluted atmosphere rather than passing through unpolluted air back into space. This is due to the recent dramatic increase in carbon dioxide and methane largely caused by the burning of fossil fuel, coal and oil.

On 12 Sept I flew up to a meeting in Pretoria. The following pics are just three of a series that I took as I flew back from Johannesburg to Cape Town. I was hoping to illustrate the improvement in air quality as we flew south, intending to use the pics in a schools presentation on Climate Change that I am preparing. I was not disappointed.

This first picture was taken shortly after we took off from Johannesburg (now Oliver Tambo) International Airport. You can just see the airport through the smog on this fine spring day!

This picture was taken about half way through the two hour flight over the southern Free State, just approaching the Great Karoo. The poluted air mass, left, that covers the northern half of the country where all our coal fired power stations are situated can be clearly seen. The cloudy area on the right of the picture was the extreme northern limit of the cleaner unpolluted southern ocean airmass.

This pic is taken about 18h00, two hours after the first picture. It shows the mountains about 60km north of Cape Town. Compare the great visibility through the atmosphere with the first picture.

Eish, Im glad to live in Cape Town.