Plates – 8/21/17

IMG_1962Now that the fall garden is planted and sprouting, I’ve been able to get back to the wood shop. After my wife gave me the lathe for Father’s Day, I gave a lot of attention to turning bowls and chalices. I’ve done a couple of small plates, but I have not had the time or the opportunity to work on larger plates that would work well for patens. Since I would like to start making communion sets, I’ve been wanting to work on some plates/patens.

Below are pictures of three plates I recently finished. I started to feel a little more comfortable with the process by the third plate! The biggest challenge I experienced was turning the underside of the plate — I ended up leaving a small rim to elevate the plates off of the table. Still, I am going to need to give a little more attention to smoothing out the surface of the plate.

This first plate is made from African Zebrawood. It is a little over 9 inches in diameter. It was very fun to work with this Zebrawood. I have about thee more pieces of it left, so I will probably be working with it again pretty soon.

The second plate is a segmented piece consisting of Walnut and Poplar. It is about 10 inches in diameter. The gluing process was not too difficult, but there are a few gaps. I went with a simply design, but I like how this plate turned out.

I am not sure what type of wood is used in this third plate. It came from a box of scrap pieces from Berlin G. Myers…good people. It is around 11 inches.

Cedar Bowl – 8/16/17

IMG_1935My father came across a cedar tree on a pile of debris earlier this summer. I’ve been able to use this particular cedar tree in several projects already.

I cut one of the logs into blanks a few weeks ago. The piece of wood I used for this bowl was among those blanks.

I have been excited to see what could come off this particular piece of wood! The blank was cut at the point of an emerging branch. Due to its dual-tone grain, cedar already offers interesting patterns. I was especially interested, however, to see what affect the darker branch would have to the overall look of the bowl! I will include a picture (with a different filter) of the inside of the bowl, which shows the variant in tones between the lighter living tissue, the redness of the core, and the darker branch at the base of the bowl. Once more, I have left the wormholes in the living tissue for added character.

Gavel – 8/9

I don’t believe my father is accustomed to using a gavel in his courtroom, but I wanted to turn one for him to have, at least, for display.

This particular gavel is a bit different from traditional looking gavels, but it is what I imagined. I thought I would put some rounded beads in it, but I like the look of the lines so I left them as they are.

The gavel was turned from the piece of Sapele my sister gave to me, which my father thought was pretty cool.

Also included are some pictures of a small bud vase I gave to my mother turned out of oak.

Botched Bowl & Vase – 8/8

IMG_1838I am not sure if it I turned a vase or a candlestick holder. Whatever it turned out to be, my wife apparently liked it enough to place it on the mantle!

I started with a section of a branch from a Magnolia tree. I intended to turn a bud vase, but the particular tool I used to cut the inside wall was not sufficient enough to cut to the bottom of the vase. The outside wall was so thin that I did not want to risk another cutting technique. When I get an extension for the drill chuck, I will come back and make a deeper cut.

I began working on a spalted Oak bowl a little over a week ago. The Oak was still green when I cut into it, so I used a microwave to quick dry the wood before shaping it. I also experimented with CC glue to fill the cracks that had formed during the drying process.

The final piece was not nearly smooth as I would have liked! There was a great deal of tear out on the end grain. I eventually set the bowl to the side because I was growing frustrated.  In the meantime, it has been quite functional in the kitchen!

Communion Set – 8/2

IMG_1801I’ve seen a lot of pictures of segmented bowls, goblets, plates, and other turned pieces and I have been insterested in the process creating a “laminated” or “segmented” piece.

I was presented with the opportunity to experiment with lamination last night. After getting the boys to bed, I went outside to work on an idea for a communion set.

My sister had given me a piece of 2.5″ x 2.5″ Sapele, which I have been able to use for a smaller chalice, but I was not sure how I could use the same wood to create a paten to turn a complete set.

I decided to cut a piece of the Sapele in half and glue Spruce between the two pieces of Sapele to create a larger diameter for the paten. I must say, I was incredibly surprised to see how strong the glue held the pieces together!

I was encouraged with the results as I ultimately would like to be able to work on more communion sets. This experimentation with lamination will certainly create the possibility for different designs.

 

Cedar Bowl – 8/1

IMG_1733I was able to get a little time in the wood shop this morning before heading out to make visits. The past month has seen some extremely humid mornings, but today was unusually comfortable for this time of year which made for a pleasant morning.

I returned to a piece of the cedar found on Edisto Beach. This particular piece had a limb coming out of it,  which made for an interesting design on the outside wall of the bowl.

 

A New Way to Reflect

I began Skipping Stones a little over a year ago. My hope was to reboot a failed attempt at  blogging from years ago; to have a place to write for the sake of writing. I celebrated my 100th post the other day! As I have shared previosuly, I never imagined how rewarding keeping a blog would be, nor did I expect to find such encouragement within the blogging community.

The tag line communicates my original intent for Skipping Stones:

“Skip a stone over water and you will discover you cannot control its destination. Some stones leap to the sky, others dance across the water, while others simply sink. My prayerful meditations are like these skipping stones. I never know where they will land, but I believe God is revealed in the process.”

My writings and messages were the ideal place to begin the blog; after all, my writing and my messages have been a reliable place to reflect upon the presence of God in my life and the life around me!

New opportunities have been presented to me over the past year, and each of these opportunities has enabled me to experience the creative power of God in new ways!

My son and I planted our first garden this past Spring. I wrote about the decision to prepare a garden in the post tillit a couple months ago. The blessings  from the garden has supplied the inspiration for many writings and messages over the last couple of weeks: everything from what a cucumber can teach us about the Christian community to the feeling of wilt when we are exhausted of the Spirit.

The garden has been a place of inspiration and I pray the garden will continue to be a place for me to witness the creative power of God, which may just show up in my writings and messages…

I have recently found another way to experience the awesome power of the creator…

My wife gave me a wood lathe for Father’s Day this year. I have no experience in wood working and I certainly have no experience in wood turning, but I have had a truly awesome time learning the lathe and trying to figure out how to turn wood!

A lot of my writing time as been given to my new adventures in woodturning, which  may explain a bit of my absence from the blogging sphere. The time in the wood shop has been very inspiring, though! I would hope, and I would image, there will be some writings and some messages emerging from the wood shop before too long.

While I might not always walk out of the wood shop with a new idea to reflect upon in my writing or in my messages, I do hope some creations will come from this time that will help me to better perceive the wonderment of the Creator. For that reason, I established a separate category on Skipping Stones to provide a space to chronicle this new adventure! Since the wood turning is different from my writings and my messages, I though it would be appropriate to properly categorize it!

Anyways, here are a few pictures of some of the pieces I have been working on over the last few weeks!

Blessings to you all!!!

The bowl and chalice were my first two projects. The bowl was made from a piece of scrap pine. The chalice is black walnut, which was given to me by a friend.

Each of these pieces are cedar from Edisto Beach, SC. My father called me a couple of weeks ago. He was driving to our beach house and passed an entire cedar tree that had been cut up and placed on the side of the road. I image the tree was destroyed during Hurricane Matthew. I picked up several logs the next day, which has produced some interesting pieces with wormholes running though many of them.

Also, the chalice and paten pictured above was the first complete communion set!

These bowls were made out of spalted Sugarberry, which is also known as Southern Hackberry, from Edisto Beach. The wood came from a tree in our family’s yard. My family has not been able to identify the wood for several years, but with the help of some friends in the timber business we finally discovery it to be a form of hackberry. The tree was trimmed a few months ago and the debris was placed in a pile on the edge of our property… I had no idea the wood had spalted nor that it would produce such interesting grain patterns! Anyways, I have made several pieces of out this wood, but here are a few examples.

My sister gave me a piece of Sapelle and several magnolia branches. The goblet is the sapele, which I gave to here. I left a bit of the bark on the magnolia to give a little additional design. I actually sent the magnolia bowl to my grandmother. The additional bowl was made for a friend. It is made from oak I found on the side of the road…

Speck: Choosing to See with Compassion and Empathy

fontcandy“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. — Matthew 7:1-5

I got a speck of saw dust in my eye yesterday. The speck posed an annoyance yesterday evening as Ginny and I sat down to watch America’s Got Talent. I did not mess with my eye, figuring the speck would be flushed out when I slept later that night.

I woke up this morning in a bit of discomfort. The speck had not flushed out. Worse, the speck was rubbing against my eye forming tiny scratches. I tried a couple different approaches to remove the speck: rubbing my eye (not a good idea); wiping the eye lid; eye drops; and, flushing my eye with water. Nothing seemed to help. The speck remained and the discomfort increased as my eye became more bloodshot.

While delivering his “sermon on the mount,” Jesus asks his disciples, “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)

The question is asked so Jesus can further encourage his disciples to first remove the log from their eye so they may see clearly to take the speck out of their neighbor’s eye.

These words are likely familiar to many of you. Jesus uses the imagery of speck/log in reference to the human tendency to judge others. The point of Jesus is to first attend to one’s shortcomings before addressing the shortcomings of others. Or, a more strident reading of this teaching suggests Jesus commands his disciples to attend to their sinful tendencies against the tendency to judge the sinfulness of others. And, of course, this is a teaching that speaks beyond the Twelve to all followers of Jesus — Judge not, lest ye not be judged! 

While judging others is certainly the central issue, Jesus makes a comment towards the end of his teaching, which brings another point into view. Jesus instructs his disciples to remove the log from their eye so they might see clearly to remove the speck out of the eye of their neighbor (Matthew 7:5).

Jesus does identify the ability to assist in the removal of a speck from the eye of a neighbor. The emphasis is a matter of one’s approach: do not seek to call out (judge) others for the specks that limits the view; but rather, approach your neighbor with compassion and empathy as one who knows the pain of having one’s sight blinded by a log!!

A little speck of saw dust is still floating around in my eye. It is uncomfortable; and, it is limiting my ability to see clearly.

Our tendency towards sin is no different. Sin limits our ability to see clearly. Sin blurs our view of God and it disrupts our ability to see and live into our relationship with God through Jesus. Life lived out of rhythm with God through Jesus Christ can be extremely uncomfortable.

That is the point we often miss!

Judging others is not just unhealthy, because it points out the flaws of another without acknowledging the faults of our own. Judging is ineffective! (Dare I say, negligent?)

When we choose to judge, we are choosing to withhold compassion and empathy from our neighbor. We forget the smallest speck can cause a great deal of discomfort and limit one’s vision.

When we choose to judge, we miss the opportunity to serve the well-being of our neighbor – to honor the pain they carry; to comfort them in their distress; or, to offer them a guiding hand.

I guess, at the end of it all, its a matter of the way you choose to see things…

Are you able to see clearly with the love of God? Or, is there a speck in your eye blurring your vision?

Blessings,
RC