Here are My Woodturnings!
by Jim Brown
Old Forge, NY
Note: click any picture to see a larger version.
Woodturning is the woodworkers version of sculpting...you become one with the lathe and the gouge... and watch the immediate results before your eyes. It is very satisfying.
My seaplane woodworking project was inspired by my fascination with airplanes when I was younger.
My first airplane ride was with my Dad in the Adirondack mountains over 45 years ago. I can still remember that flight and how it changed my life in so many ways. I was eleven years old and my parents Joan and Howard Brown brought me and my sister, Mary, to 7th Lake in the Adirondack Mountains in New York for a seaplane ride.
Five years after that “First Flight” I flew my first solo flight at the age of 16 in a Cessna 150. Eventually, I stopped flying after about 30 hours of instruction. I never got my pilots license due to dollars being in short supply, and saving for a car becoming more of a priority.
I decided to start Woodturning about 4 years ago out of a need to restore some spindles on an antique chair. Once my wife gave me the "Green Light" on purchasing a lathe I decided to join the
, a turning club in the central New York area. I highly recommend any novice turner to join a club to quickly get tips from the expertise of its members. Soon the spindle turning graduated into bowl turning and my confidence level was at a point to attempt turning the seaplane project. 45 years after my "First Flight," I built my seaplane.
I wanted to create the seaplane as a solid piece of wood. It would have been easy to just turn the nose cone as a single piece and attach it to the main body, but the challenge of turning a solid piece appealed to me more. I used a blueprint on the C195 I found in order to build everything to scale.
After turning the main body I spent the better part of 4 months worth of weekends creating the individual parts of the plane. I finished all of the parts with Bush Oil. The pieces in this picture are still pretty wet.
Once dry I used the
Beall Wood Buff Kit
to buff the fuselage and all parts.
I wanted to attach the wing in a way that would not show any signs of fasteners. So I drilled a series of holes into the main fuselage and mirrored holes in the bottom side of the wing. After the holes were drilled I inserted small sections of ring shank stainless steel siding nails into the holes. Before inserting the nails I dipped each one in West System marine epoxy and joined the two surfaces.
The carving and sanding took a lot of patience but was just as satisfying. I even made sure the bottom of the pontoons had the original hull details.
Creating that Cessna C195 that gave me that "First Flight" was a lot of challenges and a lot of fun. This project required patience… but that's OK. My wife, Karen, and I know all about patience. It took us 7 years worth of weekends to build our camp in the Adirondacks.
My seaplane is for sale in a gallery in Old Forge, NY called
The Starving Artist
. When it sells I plan on using the funds to hop on a plane to see my mom and dad in Florida.
You can email Jim at
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