So I bought a lathe!

Well, this is actually my second lathe. My first one was the Parkside lathe from Lidl, which I bought probably two or three weeks ago. I’ve used it (the Parkside one) to turn two pieces of wood (other than some very quick tests).  I made a bowl out of sycamore and a cup / goblet / thing out of apple wood (from a tree we cut down in our garden).

Plain wooden bowl on a black backgroundI had read bad things about the Parkside lathe, but I really wanted to give turning a go, and as they re-appeared in the middle of Lidl I purchased one in a moment of weakness.

Super easy to set up, made mostly of plastic and aluminium, the lathe sits nicely on a bench. But it’s flimsy. The spindle wiggles, the tool rest doesn’t lock fully, the tailstock actually lifts up from the lathe ‘bed’ (I use that term loosely) if you apply it hard enough to keep your piece in place.

But, it does allow you to turn wood, even someone like me who’s never turned anything his life. I made the bowl and the other thing (chalice?) and it was only mildly frustrating and painful. But, by the time I’d finished the second piece, the lathe was even flimsier. The wobble on the spindle was worse, the tool rest is chipped and dented and no longer locks, and the tail stock is as useful as a piece of wet fish. It was clear I was doing stuff it was never intended to be useful for (which begs the question, what was it intended to be used for).

Anyway, I’d been watching Facebook market place for months for various second hand DIY items (more blog posts coming about all that stuff I suspect) and yesterday I spotted a bargain. A Record Power CL2 lathe, for a really good price, not too far away and in good working order. I collected it today.

Turned wooden gobletFuck me it’s heavy. I mean, it didn’t look that big in the Facebook marketplace photo. But it’s heavy. The two metal bars which form the bed are heavy. The motor and spindle are very heavy. I really should not have been lifting that onto the bench on my own. It came with loads of accessories including an unused four jaw chuck, which I’m super excited about.

Now I just need to build a stand for it (it can’t stay on the bench, it’s too high for one thing), and then enlist the help of someone to move it (not making that mistake again).

I am excited to give it a whirl – the two things I’ve made were hard, but I don’t know if that was technique, the lathe or the tools (or all three). It can’t be the lathe next time I make something, so we’ll hopefully see if it’s tools, technique or both!

Another glorious day in the core

Fantastic bright spring morning today.  My hands don’t ache anywhere near as much as I feared they would after an hour of wood action yesterday, so that’s good.  I may get out if the weather holds and see how much more I can convert from branch to foot long stick.

Chopping wood

I sat down earlier to play some Lord of the Rings, I thought maybe I’d try and catch up on some deeds.  If you’ve not played, each area has a number of different deeds which end up giving you titles or small improvements to your character.  Among those deeds there are kill deeds, both basic and advanced.  So you may have to kill say 100 goblins for the basic deed and get a title, and then another 250 for the advanced deed and a virtue reward (character improvement).  In some locations, the quests you do end up ensuring you kill plenty of the relevant creatures, so the deeds come naturally, but if you group with a few people or move through an area quickly you find you easily move on before the deeds are complete.  Even on your own, some deeds involve creatures that are small in number, hard to kill or just out of the way – so there’s always a reason to go back and do them.

But it’s tedious.  Killing 250 wargs, especially on low DPS characters, is not something that takes a few moments.  This is doubly true in areas where the creatures still give XP, since killing them is still an effort.  Not life or death perhaps, but you still need to take care and avoid too many at once.

So it was with all that in mind that I set off to Eregion to kill wargs, half-orcs, and assorted other creatures.   I didn’t have more than 60 kills in any of the deeds and they all needed 250 in total.  I think I had maybe 15 wolf kills out of the 250.  After about 20 minutes I realised if I was going to be doing something tedious that made my hands hurt, I may as well go into the garden and chop the wood that got left over from my pruning a couple of weekends ago.

And now I can’t make a fist with either hand.  Chopping, sawing, cutting and piling.  Probably got half, or maybe just over a third of the wood chopped into less than 1 foot sections.  Some went into our brown wheelie bin (collection on Thursday), but most is piled up in the grass next to the remaining huge pile still to be sorted.

Still it feels good to make some progress with it and we’ll see how my hands are tomorrow – I may try and get some more done.  Typical British spring weather out there – windy, sunny for 10 minutes, overcast for 10 minutes.  Constantly taking my coat off, putting my coat on, taking my coat off.  Enjoyable being out in the fresh air however – and it always amuses the cats when one of us is in the back garden.  They’re not really sure how to respond when we’re in their domain, so they tend to run around being scatty and amusing.

Bubbles spent 15 mintues sitting on the shed roof staring down at me – with a sort of ‘yes minion, chop the wood, clear my grassy playground’ look on her face.