Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The path never runs smooth!

This Yew Pot looks reasonably straightforward eh? Well, it was at first, but then the original lid I had made flew out of my hand during the buffing stage and acquired 2 dents right on the rim, no way to rescue it, it had to be replaced. Trouble is, I have very little Yew left, a search through the various woodpiles though dredges up the remains of a branch, the diameter is barely sufficient. I get it mounted in the lathe and turn the inside first, deciding on a small safety factor I decide to incorporate a recessed area for an expanding collet, this will be a less marking means of remounting for the outside.

Having completed the interior, which had two steps to accommodate the rather unusual arrangement I had cut into the body (this was because I was rather making it up as I went along, no plan!) I remounted it and started to cut the outside, but just as the final details were being cut a chunk flew off, a weak section from the pith had split away.

I immediately found the piece on my very clean floor (translation, I searched for ten minutes through a three day heap of shavings) and found the offending bit, much muttering accompanied this part of the task.

I got lucky though, a good dollop of CA fixed it back and an hour later I was able to finish the cuts. The little finial lid is made from a bit of Lignum from an old bowling ball.

The finish of the body is once again chestnuts gloss lacquer, cut back with 400 grit and buffed to a gloss with the 3 wheel system.  The lid though is an experiment with Shellac, I bought some IDA and a packet of best blonde dewaxed Shellac, made up an equivalent 2lb cut mix in a small jam jar, (this was done a week or so back) I applied the shellac in thin layers using a small artists brush, I built up about six layers (it drys pretty quickly, each layer though needs to be at least partly dry before adding the next)  This was then left overnight to fully harden, then I cut it back with 400 grit by hand (i.e. not on the lathe)  and finally used the three wheel system to bring it up to high gloss. It gives a very nice look to the wood, colours it very little and doesn't look plastic, but it is quite time consuming and tricky to get an even coat.  I intend to try other pieces by this method to see it is a worthwhile method.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


I was delighted yesterday to get a phone call from Ian at the Boatyard Gallery, the very shiny vase below had sold!  Yippee!! :)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

High speed turning

Just for fun yesterday, Martin and myself made this time lapse video showing the roughing out of an Ash Bowl, the blank looked OK at first, but it quickly became apparent that it was not as it seemed, a large section of the interior had completely rotted away, this made it very tricky to reverse mount as the jaws had little to grip securely on, hence the outside of the bowl is done very carefully!

If you hit the pause button frequently you can see some of the individual snaps that make up the movie sequence.

See the video Here

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Getting the wet look!

Finishing is by far the most challenging aspect of turning, so much can, and indeed often does go wrong at this critical stage, and correcting such comes with its own attendant risks and problems, so achieving a high quality finish without having to make minor repairs or corrections is a prize to be enjoyed, because it is also a rare thing! (at least it is to me so far anyway!)

So it was with some trepidation and an element of disbelief that I looked at this finished vase, was it truly done without a hitch? No. But! The outside was! (The interior was a little more troublesome and did require some patching after reverse chucking the vase left some serious marks in the applied finish)
Nevertheless, the crucial part of the item from the standpoint of most visual aspect, the exterior, did indeed go as planned, with a lot of care and much careful hand sanding to denib etc prior to the final buffing and polishing went without anything causing me to bemoan my actions.

The end result is a very high quality gloss finish, glass like even, I finally got the "wet look" I was after.

The Vase is in Sycamore, taken from a small log with three side branches, these provide the "eyes".
To me the impression the colours and overall look of the thing remind me of walking through a deep woodland.