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The joy of problem solving

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Richard Jackson, Sep 19, 2020.

  1. Richard Jackson

    Richard Jackson

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    Jan 12, 2019
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    Location (City & State):
    Hamilton, New Zealand
    Shortly after I began woodturning I knew that the creative, technical and social aspects were for me. They gave me great pleasure and were an excellent retirement activity.
    One benefit that came as a surprise was the mental joy of problem solving.
    How can i achieve this?
    What sort of jig do I need to create?
    In what order do I need to proceed?
    It seems that any spare moment I now have (especially in bed) can be pleasurably filled with such mental activity.
    I'm sure I'm not along.
     
  2. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    Wow Richard! I think you put your finger on what so appeals to me about turning. It relays on so many facets of our brains, from creative to technical. And it results in generosity, as it is impossible to hold onto everything we create. Got to give it away!
     
  3. Ross Scott

    Ross Scott

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    Aug 29, 2020
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    Location (City & State):
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    Hi Richard I know that feeling when I first started turning a year ago I always struggled with removing tenons from my finished bowls I was going to buy a set of cole jaws for mounting bowls then someone came along and said hey how about making a donut chuck and he even posted a video on the NZ woodturners facebook page to show me what he was talking about I made one and now I am sold on using it I did start making a lathe steady but I sold my old toolshed lathe and bought a Nova 1624 so have to start making another one by the way you and I share the same town.
     
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  4. Clifton C

    Clifton C

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    You are not alone...
    One of my all time favorite classes was with Hans Weissflog (at Arrowmont). A discussions we had that stuck with me about problem solving involved imagining the project, then getting the picture in your mind, but not knowing how to accomplish it. So, all done in the mind and on paper, working from the beginning, as in what size wood, how to mount etc., and working along until you get stuck. Then, starting with the imagined finished project work backward, essentially deconstructing as you go until you get stuck again. Then, mulling things over, letting them ferment, going from one end to the other until you meet somewhere in between. Now there is a whole plan that can be followed from beginning to end. This all sounds convoluted and unnecessary when considering turning a bowl or a platter but with more complicated projects it's a great exercise. To me, the fun part is that moment, that realization, when things fall into place, then it's off to the races...
    Here is a website...
    https://kirstenmuensterprojects.com/pages/hans-weissflog
     
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  5. odie

    odie

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    Wow.....what a great subject! :D

    That Hans Weissflog is to be greatly admired for what he accomplishes in a project.....just outstanding!

    For myself, I'm involved in a different kind of problem solving. "How to make shop operations easy to set-up, convenient, repeatable, and accurate." It wasn't my original intent, but I guess I've evolved to become a "semi-production turner".....even though I'm still about as slow as molasses! :eek:) My real enjoyment isn't necessarily what I produce (Like Hans Weissflog), but how I produce it. My turnings are fairly simple, and my purpose is to partner with Mother Nature, in an attempt to have the outcome an expression of natural beauty, with my own personal twist!

    One of the greatest concepts that makes progress a reality, is the "Do it now" slogan that I wrote on my shop wall about 25 years ago.....and, it's still there! When I get an idea for improving shop operations, I stop what I'm doing and work on that......right then and there! I never tell myself that I'll get around to doing it later.......because it almost never happens! :rolleyes:

    Always keep the option to re-do your repeatable set-ups, and keep re-doing them......until you get it right! Yeah, I know......it gets a bit frustrating to spend all that time and effort, and then break it all down again, and again, just to gain a seemingly small and insignificant minor improvement. The real benefit is the sum of the parts, rather than any one thing considered separately. o_O

    Looking forward to what others have to say about problem solving, and progress in this thread.......:D

    -----odie-----

    IMG_0450.JPG
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
    Dennis Weiner likes this.
  6. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Location (City & State):
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    Definitely not alone in this. I love thinking up new projects and figuring out how to build them. I'm constantly rigging something up.
     
  7. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    La Grange, IL
    Absolutely agree. The creative outlet and social opportunities are strong attracters, but problem solving may be stronger. Sometimes the beauty of the solution is even more rewarding than the beauty of the piece.
     
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  8. R Henrickson

    R Henrickson

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    Problem solving has become perhaps the main attraction of turning. Coming up with ideas and seeing where they may lead. I tend to lose interest once the turning is over -- finishing (after sanding) is just not nearly as interesting. Trying to figure out how to make a shape, whether originally turned or not, is what draws me in.
    A week at Arrowmont in a Derek Weidman class was probably the greatest impact on my turning interests. In the four-plus years since that class I have never turned another animal head, but his approach has been crucial to most of what I have done. Figuring out how to set up not just the next step, but the several beyond that.
    In recent years I have turned few bowls, hollow forms, plates, etc. Only one pen ever. Almost everything has been either multiaxis, multiple spindle constructions, or some areas of traditional craft turning in other cultures.
     
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  9. Rob Fridenberg

    Rob Fridenberg

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    As a retired engineer, I too like the problem solving. As a new turner, everything is a problem/challenge!

    Funny that you mention the thinking in bed problem solving - I was just doing that the other night - walking through the process of designing/turning a lid for a bowl that I made. Honestly - the bathroom also provides a great thinking space alternative!!!
     
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  10. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Engineers: If it ain't broke, take it apart and fix it anyway. Some times it is a blessing, and some times it is a curse.... I blame it on my dad, who at age 98, still goes into work. He will never die from boredom... Me either. "I 'm not going to retire until my birth certificate expires."

    robo hippy
     
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  11. Tom Gall

    Tom Gall

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    Sadly, sometimes in takes me 2 - 3 hours to fall asleep....just for this reason! I wake up in the morning and feel like I should go back to bed. :(
     
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  12. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    Clearly, there are many of you who are well qualified to be marriage councilors. If problem solving is what you crave....it is an expanding field of endeavor.....:D
     
  13. Richard Jackson

    Richard Jackson

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    Interesting that Hans Weissflog's name should crop up in the discussion.
    I have just uploaded a lidded box inspired by him.
    So often, as was the case here, you think of a solution only to think of a better one some time later.
    And then some time later still ... "of course, why didn't I think of that in the first place"
     

    Attached Files:

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  14. brian horais

    brian horais

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    Great Post Richard! I think you really 'nailed it' in terms of what draws many of us to wood turning. (P.S. the term 'nailed it' is not meant to be an endorsement of turning wood with embedded nails...). I often find that the problem solving phase of a new turning is just as much fun as the production phase. This is especially true when planning actually works out and there are not too many redesign steps involved. Being able to create an idea, think it through and then turn it on a lathe - all within a matter of a few hours or days - is what makes wood turning so much more rewarding to me than furniture making. Keep the creative juices flowing. If you get bogged down in traditional round shapes, try some non round turning. It will really get the problem solving and creative juices flowing.
     
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  15. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    Tim, I’m a recently retired therapist and marriage counselor. You’re right, it’s an expanding field, especially during this time of corona virus. When a couple session goes well, you may feel like a genius and an artist all rolled into one, but when it doesn’t, sixty minutes can feel like three hours. I’m very happy now focusing exclusively on problems with wood.
     
  16. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    I too have been inspired by Hans, in my case I made a box similar to yours but in the process of doing the inside grooves I added an internal thread , then to hold the cover off set to do the outside grooves I made a male thread on a square blank then trimmed two adjacent sides so the cover was offset. That led to a domed lid where I laid out the inside and outside curve then determined the angle to cut the jig such that the lid would turn within the same arc. 101_0936.JPG
     
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  17. Tom Gall

    Tom Gall

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    I used to make Potpourri Boxes with domed lids originally inspired by Hans W. I told people they were the "poor man's version" of HW. :)

    Some leftover samples and a box with one of those lids.
    4 - Sample Lids - P1050267.jpg 5 - Box with Potpourri Lid - P1050277.jpg
     

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