Monday, July 28, 2014

July Challenge

I was more than delighted to win the June challenge, Mr Pot Pourri was a winner all round!  The prize plaque was very nice too.

This months challenge has the theme, Artistic.  With a very broad spectrum of possibilities.

My eventual choice was to go with ancient Egypt as an inspiration for this oval finial box.

The final image is of an actual (or possibly a reproduction) Egyptian Artifact that has some similarities with my entry.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


I need to start taking before and after shots, the lump of timber this hollow form / vase what have you came from was not something for the fainthearted, 18" long, a great black hole with water and soil and whatever else found sucour in there surrounded by the remains of long gone branches, one of which had been sawn off years ago, the black wood still bearing the saw marks.

What to do with such a thing? I sawed off the other end to make a flat and square base and screwed the faceplate to it with 6 2.5" screws, about half the wood was punky, the rest sound, if spalted.

Roughing was a very slow process as the torque was very great, the old branches being hard like old knots, it took an age to render the thing cylindrical, but eventually I manged it and also turned down a tenon with sufficient material left for a bowl later too.

The shape was not something I planned, I just went with what leaving the natural edge and gaining something vaguely pleasing in form from the rest of it.

After hollowing, during which my primary aim was to maintain a constant wall thickness, which I almost managed, but it is a little thin at one point,  I went over the outside with a single pass using a small spindle gouge to get a decent "off the tool" finish which is what it would be left with, no sanding at all, (definitely not inside, no way was introducing anything other than a hollowing tool to that shape, it looks scary enough stationary, spinning, it does not invite you to attempt any kind of abrasive treatment!) David Ellsworth might be able to handle it, but not me. :)

I then coated it with several coats of finishing oil and a single coat of hard wax, then buffed it a little to give it a nice patina.

I like it because it made something of a truly rotten piece of timber, which nontheless has some very redeeming features as regards grain and colour, if not so much from the form. It was also quite fun to do as it was completely unplanned.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Gorse Candlesticks

Sometime back my son Richard brought me a large stem of Gorse, the bark is particularly interesting in that it is deeply fissured and angular making for a most interesting texture. Having already asked what He and his wife Jen would like me to make them, Candlesticks were settled on and I decided to use the gorse for the job.

In drying the wood split considerably, so a colour fill seemed a good option, having been employed several times before I was confident it would look OK. I also got some pearlescent powder which leaves a nacreous sheen, it works OK, but unfortunately part of the process is to heat the powder up upon the surface it is adorning to a pretty high temp with a heat gun, experiments proved that this darkened the wood (reaching a scorching point) and also caused further splitting, so I had to abandon that idea.

The bark, while looking great as a texture, was also pretty flaky and messy looking, I gave it a scrub with a brass brush which did improve it some, but it still had lots of tiny flakes hanging off, so I used this extremely fine gold powder and brushed it into the bark, then sealed it with an acrylic sealer, I finished the stems with shellac.

I also incorporated some of the gold dust into the dark blue to make it look like Lapis Lazuli.