Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New burl bowl

I received a large chunk of an unknown burl last summer. This weekend I took the chainsaw to it and whacked out a few blanks. It appears to be a bit unstable in as far as voids and cracks, but after a few tries, I managed to get this bowl. Diameter is 8-inches. Watco Teak Oil finish with wax.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Shaman Box in Operation

A 10 second (or so) exposure of the Brain Wave Audio Machine (aka Shaman Box) in operation.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Shaman Box

Aha!!! Finally.....I've completed the Brain Wave/Audio Machine (aka The Shaman Box) and I think I'm in love. I've always been a sucker for flashing lights. Years ago I began building the original Brain Machine glasses that interface via the parallel port on my old DOS box. I'd set the pattern to something interesting and slip on the headphones with some heavy techno...and just relax. (in fact, my author photo shows the original glasses I built).

I was never quite happy though....of course, because of issues getting the Brain Machine software to work on my XP laptop. XP does odd things to the parallel port addresses. I happened across Andrew Moya's page at and knew I had to build it.'s taken me a while..but I got there in the end.

I LOVE this thing! The left/right LEDs are driven by the two channels output from the audio source (in my case, my aging MP3 player) the pattern displayed on the retinas are directly pumped in via the music. I've wired in a 3.5mm pass-thru, so I plug in my MP3 player and headphones to the two 3.5mm jacks. The glasses plug into the RCA jacks. Unlike Andrew's original schematic, I used a double-ganged 50K pot (since I found some surplus). I coated the clear safety glasses with GCE's Insulating Compound (aka liquid electrical tape) cut out ambient light, protect the LED interconnections and just looks cooler..grin. The enclosure is a Hammond box. I connected the 9-volt battery in an external holder since I think it'd be a pain to open it up to change the battery.

This is easy to build....taking a few hours. And so well worth the effort.

Andrew's site:

Note: I have found this site:
I don't know if MagicJim is the originator of the schematic or not, but hey, check it out.

The original Brain Wave Machine (parallel port interfaced) site :

Check it out. Wire your brain.....and trip the light fantastic.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lathe Lore Continued

Yah! Mesquite bowl. Roughly 4.25-inch diameter x 4-inches high. Watco Teak Oil & wax.

Turned down through the log. Managed to keep some of the bark and yet show the incredible richness of grain available in this wood.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Yet Another Bowl Redux

Myrtlewood. Roughly 4.75-inch diameter x 4-inches high.

I LOVE myrtlewood - the grain is always fascinating and it cuts relatively smoothly. The heartwood seems to deteriorate quickly, however, judging from every piece of it I have and that poses problematic issues when turning down through the wood (as opposed to turning through the wood). I always have to inject a filler, else I end up with cracks at the base. I suspect this is due to the age of the wood I have (not that I'm complaining).

I'm happy with the finish now that I've switched to Watco Teak Oil. I think it's the varnish in the solution -- it penetrates the pores and allows for a smoother over-all feel. A coat of beeswax completes the bowl.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hemlock bowl

Turned from Hemlock (white fir). 7.5-inch diameter, 3-inches tall. Watco Tung Oil finish with wax.