Blog posts

Mr. BW does not live here anymore – Todd Beck 1-19-2020

Late last Winter (or early Spring) a  large black and white male cat appeared at our house.   This is not an unusual event.  In the nearly 40 years we have lived out here (rural VanBuren county) it would be unusual for us not to have seen at least one stray animal a year.  But this one seemed a little different.  He seemed reasonably well fed, he was friendly and didn’t run off when we approached him. He had no collar so we couldn’t notify any owner.  After showing up for several days we started giving him some food and water which he eagerly accepted. 

We already have two cats and there was no way we could take him in as our pet.  So we put him on the waiting list for adoption at the AlVan Humane Society in South Haven in early June.

We gave him the name “BW” for “black and white”.  I know, not too imaginative, but we had to call him something and we didn’t think he was going to be around too long. Well, last week (after nearly 7 months) we finally got a call from AlVan that they had room for him.  So this last Thursday we loaded him in the cat carrier and despite some minor protests took him to South Haven.  Our timing couldn’t have been better what with the change in weather on Friday. I’m so glad he is not out in this cold, snow and ice.

I know we did the right thing, but I still miss him. Funny how things work out.  Take care of yourself, your family and friends no matter who or what they are.

Now for the woodturning stuff!

 Yes, I am making boxes and cutting threads for the tops just like I said I would.  In fact, if all goes well and the creek don’t rise I will presenting a demonstration of thread cutting at the upcoming meeting on Feb 8. I will bring all my equipment and (if there is time) show some of the process of building the jig.

 John Cameron will be cutting threads using “chasing” hand tools.  I  admire his ablility to take on the task of learning the art of thread chasing.  You will observe that it takes skill and  patience to cut threads by hand.

While our demonstration in February is strictly on thread cutting and not on box making, I recommend that if you have not turned any boxes you should give it a try. It is quite different than turning bowls and platters. Size does matter.  I think we have a guest demo coming in the near future on box making. I look forward to it.

Hope to see you in February.


Welcome to my shop – Todd Beck 8-14-2019

Just thought I would share some of my latest forays in the land of woodturning.

 After turning lots of bowls and burning them with various designs I decided to try boxes.

 Obviously boxes come in two pieces, the box proper and the lid.  There are several ways of fitting the lid to the box.  Some, like a pill box, need a tight, piston type lid that “pops” when removed.  Generally this lid is appreciated more by other turners than by prospective customers and requires a steady hand, good eye and a not a little luck.  It can all go wrong in making that “last cut”.

 Buyers usually want a box they can operate with one hand.  This requires a loose, not sloppy, but loose enough to be opened with the box sitting on the table or shelf. This lid also requires a good share of skill and patience.

Then we come to the lid I have recently tackled…The THREADED LID!  This one requires the usual turning skills and patience, but also either the added skill of chasing threads by hand or the use of a threading jig. I know myself well enough to realize I am never going to commit to the time and effort to become proficient at chasing threads by hand.  I admire anyone who can chase threads, but it is not for me.

That means using a threading jig.  The few that are available  are quite expensive…at least $300 and up. Not willing to spend so much money on what might turn out to be a one time exercise I had nearly given up on the idea when I happened to run into a youtube video on Starting with that video I began building my own threading jig. My friend and fellow turner Bruce says I have become obsessed with the project.  He may be right but, I’m having fun developing the jig and cutting threads.

I will bring some of my efforts to the August 10 meeting along with some pictures of the jig.  Some of you may be interested in building a jig of your own.  Let’s see what develops.

Thanks, Todd