Wednesday, September 5, 2012

National Geographic

Recently while reading an old issue of National Geographic I found a interesting little tid bit.

The article was talking about the varrious ecosystems on earth, and had a little blur about trees. The blur talked about a recent survey by NASA and the amount of trees that they had found.

"In 2005, with the help of NASA satellite imagery, it was estimated that there were approximately 400 billion, 246 million trees on the earth. That would be approximately 61 trees per person."

I am not sure if I should be amazed at the number of people, or sadden by the fact that both these numbers have problem changed in the last years. Seeing as the population increases in the last 8 years would cause more deforestation. But I guess it would be National Geographic if it did not make me feel bad while sitting on the toilet. (Yes ladies that is truly where men do their reading)

So before I leave you all the on the save the tree note, I found wow fact for you.

The world's tallest living standing tree, a softwood Coast Redwood (sequoia sempervirens) named Hyperion, is in Redwood National Park located in California. Last measured in October 2006, it was approximately 379 feet, 1 1/2 inches tall (almost 38 stories!), or about 8 stories higher than the Statue of Liberty.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Paper in trees

Sorry about the week off, I did not feel very well last week. But during the greatness of moaning and slumping around the house, I was asked an interesting question. My grandson, who is in the "why" stage of youth asked me how many papers come from a tree. Seeing as paper, even in today's paperless society still plays a big role, I though it would be a nice fun fact. So next time your at work, or just need something to start the awkward conversations, tell them about this.

How much paper can you get from one tree? It depends.

First, unit measurements of pulpwood (for paper and packaging) and sawlogs (for lumber and wood products) are in "cords" and "board feet" respectfully. A pulpwood cord is a stack of logs four feet tall, four feet deep and eight feet long (4 x 4 x 8). All measurements of how much wood fiber is used to produce paper products are in cords or tons.
Second, the initial step in preparing logs for pulpmaking is to remove the bark. It is unsuitable for paper production, but is burned by paper firms to produce energy. However, depending on the type of tree, bark can account for 10 to 20 percent of a tree’s volume.
Third, different trees yield varying quantities of pulp. It varies, for example, by species (hardwood, softwood and aspen) and subspecies (red pine, jack pine, white pine).
Fourth, different paper grades — tissue, computer, magazine, book — require different volumes or densities of pulp. Even within the book grades, there are different weights of paper which require more or less volume of pulp (and wood fiber).
Because of these variables, it isn’t possible to determine how many books are made from a single tree. However, it is possible to estimate — in general numbers — how many different products may be produced from a cord of wood.

Fun fact of the fun fact:
An acre of forested land may yield an average of 10-15 cords of wood when harvested at maturity — depending not only on the size of the trees, but how productively the land has been managed.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Linseed (Flax) Oil Recipe

This is the recipe my granddaughter made for me. As a side note you have to get the Flax oil. Which is another name for linseed oil. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Linseed Oil

Recently I was asked why I use linseed oil and recommend it for bowl care. Well, I had honestly never through about it. I use it because it was what my wife would pick up at the store, and with 50 years of marriage under my belt, I have learned not to question what she buys.
So I decided to do some research and back up my use of this type of oil.

Linseed oil comes from a dried ripe flax seed. The oil it self is made by pressing to extract the aplaha-linolenic acid (which for you non-chemist about there is a form of Omega-3). This allows the oil to polymerize in to a solid form, a property that lets the oil act as natural varrish in wood finishes, and brings the pigment out of the wood, or oil paints.

Also unlike some synthetic oils on the mark, linseed is an edible oil. In parts of Europe it is often eaten with potatoes, quark, and cheese. These treats are regarded as a delicacy due to the oils hearty taste, that spices up the bland dishes.  An for the people who have no desire to try it, I can say it is not bad. If fact I had my grand-daughter look up a recipe involving the oil, I will see if I can get her to post it later. I have to admit it was not what I was expecting when I first look at the recipe, but overall it was nice.

But the the overall take away that I got from my research. Is that linseed is a natural oil that gives your wood a beatufiul shine and even add hardness to the wood. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Free Shipping

Now till the 24 of July 2012, we are offering free shipping on all purchases.
Just use the code, bluespruce.
This offer is for US residents only.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


The lathe, I have to say it a pretty important part to turning wood. I mean with out my it would take me years to widdle down a wood section to a bowl.
I know that their are many makers of lathes but I don't have a real preference for any group. I a made my own lathe when I was 14 and still to this day am using it.

You basic setting for a lathe

The lathe by definition is a "machine for turning wood, plastic or metal into cylindrical or onical parts or for cutting holes or screws-thread in them." In case people really wanted to know what the dictionary said it was.
In most cases lathes are used for mass production for machine components. (nails, tubes, axle, housings, gears, etc..)
Lathe work, for machine parts

Most lathes are composed of more that 3,500 components. About half contribute to the moments of the lathe. Mine personally I don't think I had the skill at 14 to put that many parts into, but I have never really counted. I do know it took me around two weeks to finish it, with a few days for just ripping apart what I have built.

In a recently survey, there was around 80,0000 lathes in USA, and around 60,000 in Germany. I will note that I found this number in a car article about machine part production across the world.

I hope you enjoyed this little blur about the lathes. If you are interested in a lathe I would suggest going to a wood working store or even a machine supply shop. These people work every day and would know a good deal with what on the market at the moments.
For those who want to go my way and build it, that is great an I wish you luck.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Blue Spruce

Blue spruce is not a wood have been able to turn yet. I have some on the drying rack at the moment, it should be ready to turn in about a month or so, have to say I am excited. I love the Spruce family, it has wonderful color that varies from tree to tree. I also just really enjoy the look of the tree, the color that the needles give off is just great.

Blue spruces are hardy evergreens found through out the northern hemisphere. Unlike a pine or fir, spruces produce single needles along the branches. This makes it  real pain to clean up when they fall, or a sticky mess on your grandsons shoes.

Most may recognize the blue spruce as your mainstream Christmas Tree, at least in the United States. It was made the officially Christmas tree a few years back, Colorado even has a living Spruce that it decorates every year. Every year, Norway gifts New York city with a Norway spruce placed in the middle of Rockefeller Center.

Many cultures have myths surrounding the tree. One is that the tree is a protective female element, the tree of life, the mother tree, and were often made into maypoles for spring festival.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Box Elder

The box elder is probably one of my most turned types of woods. It has a crisp light color with an interesting tiger eye pattern through out it's grain. It has smooth fill with narrow ridges that interlace with the furrow. You can tell the how old the tree is by it's color, the older the tree is the darker the brown it will be.

The box elder is native to portions of the southern tier and Susquehanan Valley, but has become wide spread through out the world. For people who don't believe I will simple note my back yard jungle.
Box elder commonly grows along banks, streams, river, and other water ways. It is used for stabilization along said water ways.
It is most times considered a weed species in most urban area, and has little to no commercial value. This is due to it being a soft wood.

One issue that has become prevalent with the tree being near house is the box elder bug. These little guys cause huge amounts of damage to trees, which lead to the trees deaf and it falling on your house.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

State on fire

For those who do not know Utah is on fire. An as any retired Utahan I do really enjoy watching the helicopters try an hit the flames. I have to admit a great sigh of relief here that I am in a non-effected area. Although I can see the billowing clouds of smoke from the majority of the fires over my house.

It is still amazing what one year of poor snow fall can do, that combined with some people who I honestly think lack common sense. But that is topic is just a long winded rant, that ends with story about walking up a hill both ways for 8 miles.

I though I would share some pictures, these may have already been seen on the news and what not. But if you like me you get the first 10 minutes fall asleep and wake up just in time for weather.

This one keeps flying over my house

Hey check this out

Looks like my etsy shop was featured in top shops blog. I will be honest when I applied for it, I was not really expecting to hear back. Much less this soon.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The American Cherry

Cherry is one of my favorite woods to turn with. Unfortunately I never seem to have any, or at least not large enough pieces of it for turning. I though that I should spread the word about this wood, and why I enjoy turning with it so much.

First off the North American Cherry is one of the most well know woods. From it blossoms to rich colored wood, the cherry emanates a delicate beauty. That cultures around the world have used as inspiration for their art.

Art featuring Cherrys from Japan
It's bark is not only used for wood turning but was also used for medical tonics. I am not sure if it still used in modern medicine, but there are Chinese supplements that still use its wood and petals.

Currently it is a popular wood for furniture and floor. Having incredible high sales in the Midwest and Eastern United States. Which might be a reason why I like it so much, seeing as I live toward the Midwest demographic.

Now the reason why it is my favorite wood to turn. The heart wood of the cherry is a rich red, but as saplings the color can range from white to a light brown-red. This gives the wood a very different character from other woods. It also has a very defined pattern with in the wood.
 Steaming the wood can help "bleed" the red across the surface. This gives it a more tone down uniform look. I only steam cherry on request, I feel that is ruins the wood. Cherry is meant to be a robust red, not a dull red.

Solid piece of cherry

The robust color of the cherry

Saturday, June 30, 2012

New idea's and Wooden Bowl Care

After a little though I decided that maybe I should start adding more to the blog other than the new pieces or sales. So I am starting a basic information/trivia entries. This is hopefully going to be a weekly thing.

An what better way to start this that with basic bowl care. I hope if helps not only with Allen's bowls but with all your wooden decortations.

Allen's bowls are finished with either a mineral oil or a bee's wax. This gives the bowl a unique texture and look, guaranteeing every bowl a one of a kind look.

1) Although we don't recommend using our bowls for food, I know people still do it. So first off for bowl care DO NOT PUT YOUR BOWL IN THE DISHWASHER. I have received a complaint about the our bowls not being able to handle the dish washer, and all I could say was find a wooden bowl that could. Doing this removes finishes and warps or possible breaks the wood. If you want to wash your bowl get warm soapy water in a bowl and dip a sponge in it so it is slightly damp. Then wipe the bowl down making sure not to get the bowl to wet.

2) Every few month, or when ever your bowl feels slightly dry lightly oil it. Allen recommends a linseed oil. This will give your bowl a new luster and re-hydrate the wood.
When oiling spread the oil over the entire bowl. Let the oil sit for a few minutes then buff your bowl with a cotton cloth, or rag. The more time you have your bowl the less you will need to oil it.

3) If you have light colored bowl, you do have to worry about darkening of the wood. To slow this process keep your bowl out of direct sun light. This will allow your bowl to stay lighter longer.
The darkening that occurs with bowls is not a huge difference in color but it may end up a shade or two darker.

We would like to thank you for visiting our blog, and taking an interest in our bowls. I hope these handy tips help you and will answer any question you had on basic bowl care.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Bowls Soon

Sorry for the long down time.
But we will be posting new bowls soon so keep an eye out.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mothers Day Sale

Mothers day is coming up.
Why not surprise your mother or the mother of your children with a hand crafted bowl.
Now through mothers day 2012, get 10% off, with the code Mother at our etsy store.