Sap glass

This week we drove past a boulevard where they were cutting down a whole row of Russian Olive trees! I couldn’t just pass up all that beautiful wood, so we asked a friend to come help us and we got two full carloads of wood. I think I’m going to be turning this stuff for the next ten years … there’s so much of it!

While I was working on organizing the wood, I noticed something interesting. The sap was oozing out from under the bark, and drying in the coolest shapes. It looked like glass work! I just had to get Anni to take some pictures of it.

So cool! Have you ever seen that happen before?

Boat building!

Guess what?

In our {rare} free time, a friend and I are building a boat in my garage-turned-boatyard!

This is called a Strongback Jig. Basically it’s a saw horse to hold the boat while we’re building it.

Here we’re screwing and using epoxy to seal the joints for the boat ribs.

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We’re still in the prep stages now, but once we start assembling in a week or two I’ll try to share more pictures!

Boxelder & Brass

Recently I turned a box out of spalted Boxelder wood. It had some knots in it and I wanted to try something new …

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So I took some brass tubing and sanded it with a disc sander. I took the resulting brass dust, along with some super glue, and put it in the knots of the wood!

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{Click images for larger view!!}

It turned out beautifully. It’s super smooth to the touch and it simply glows. I love the extra pizzazz. I am keeping this particular box, but will definitely use this new brass technique again for sale pieces!

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Custom Order

A while ago, a lady contacted me about a custom order. She had a tree that had sentimental value, but they had to cut it down. And she was wondering if I could make some mementos out of it for her and her daughters.

We decided I should make what I’ve dubbed “Candle Boats”!

Here’s the process of how I made them:

The finished items!

Thank you, Caren! I hope you are all enjoying them!

P.S. Check out the updated About and Gallery pages!

P.P.S. Jill over at Green Bean Gardens is giving away two of my items! Check it out here. Giveaway ends Feb. 1st 2012.

Unglued Christmas Market

A few weeks ago, Ashley from the Unglued Christmas Market  contacted me. She said they would like to sell some of my items at their pop-up boutique! Their store will be open Black Friday thru Christmas Eve.

I started working on making items for Unglued right away. I’ve been working on them for the few weeks now, which is why I haven’t been posting many new items on etsy recently.

Anni had to work on labeling and packaging all the items. She had to hand type over 50 tags. On a real typewriter! Which meant that if she messed up, she had to throw the tag away and start. all. over.

Here is a Boxelder Burl Pen all labeled and ready to go! The tag has the name of the wood, the price, and a little information about the pen on back. We also included a business card with each item.

And here are seven pens all ready!

L-R: Boxelder Burl, Black Ash Burl, Russian Olive, Black Walnut, White Tailed Deer Antler, Caragana, and another Boxelder Burl.

And here are the pens, along with a bangle, a top, and a honey stick.

These are just a few of the items I will have for sale at Unglued.

I have over 20 pens, along with some boxes, jewelry (a bangle and rings), a honey stick and almost a dozen tops!

I got to have a sneak peek at the store when I delivered the items. It is amazing! It is full of hand-made items from artists all over the Fargo-Moorhead area. The whole store is so modern and artistic. I’m really excited to be a part of it!

Meet the Team

When I started Turning Pro, my business partner (my sister) wanted to stay behind the scenes. But, now that I’ve been in business for awhile, we’ve decided she should be in front of the scenes, so to  speak.

So here she is, my sister and business partner, Anni!

Ben’s job description: Make cool stuff. Learn how to make stuff cooler. Make cooler stuff.

Anni’s job description: Photography, online work, packaging. All the stuff Ben doesn’t want to do. :)

So now you know!

Ebony

Recently my uncle gave me some Ebony wood!

It’s very rare to have a whole log of Ebony, most of the time you have to buy it in small pieces.

Ebony is a very dense hardwood. It’s so heavy that it sinks in water!

Traditionally, piano keys and the black pieces in chess sets were made out of ebony, while the white pieces were made out of ivory.

Tip: The log had a few small cracks in it, so I used melted candle wax to seal it. I had to use wax because I wasn’t at home, and didn’t have my end-grain sealer that I normally use. This was the only thing I could think of to keep it from cracking more. It seemed to work well.

A few weeks ago, I cut up the log into manageable pieces. I’ll have to plan and use them very carefully! I’m very excited to be able to use such a special kind of wood.