To keep myself on track, and for a bit of accountability, I decided to tweet my daily progress:
Day one: Find the actual lathe – buried under garden furniture, boxes, and random pieces of wood.
Day two: Remove surface rust and mould from tools and lathe.
Day three: Discover broken plug and replace.
Day four: Find and attach to faceplate a wood blank. Sharpen tools – grinder dead. Whetstone and diamond files tried. More practice required. Pause while awaiting delivery of switch for grinder.
Day five: Fix the grinder.
Day six: Set up the grinder/sharpening system jig and baseplate. Need to raise the grinder 35 mm. I have 40 mm wood …
Day seven: Cut wood for packing and for securing onto the stand. Need to remove the bracket on the grinder. Tools elsewhere.
Day eight: Progress being made on the grinder jig. Took ages to rummage through the random bolt box to find ones that would work.
Day nine: Grinding jig complete – plus new guards fitted.
Day ten: Chisels now shorter, and sharper – and some are slightly blue on the corners.
Day eleven: After ten days of faff (spread over about 2.5 weeks), which is approximately ten hours in the workshop, I finally made wood shavings!
No wonder I’d been putting it off. But now it’s all ready, and I am taking Andy Coates’s advice (@AndyWoodturner): “Take ten identical bowl blanks. Turn the same bowl ten times. The last three will be almost identical – and right. The others you can burn – you’ll want to. Do 20? Even better, 30? Now you’re talking.”
I’m starting with the bowl blanks I already have. The wood is a sunk cost – I didn’t need to justify it with a final product, which gives me the freedom to play and try things. Even if I do end up burning the first seven, it still means I have practised my skills. And that stack of wood is no longer burning into my consciousness and taking up mental and physical space.