Monday, March 24, 2008

Work in Progress : hollow form bottom

I got the bottom sanded and done. One of the questions I get asked frequently is about doing bottoms, as in "how to?" It turns out (all puns intended) that one of the easiest ways to accomplish a good bottom is not to turn it but rather to sand it. The motion is to mount a sanding pad to a lathe, drill press or other motor and work the wood against the pad.

Start with a motion that begins in the middle and works its way to the edge. Concentrate on sanding almost to the edge. You will actually get right to the edge and the start in center will leave the bottom concave so it will sit right.

I use a wood burner to put my name, the type of wood and the year along the bottom. Indelible ink pens like an ultrafine Sharpie work well here also. The page is found at working the bottom

Thursday, March 20, 2008

work in progress: burl on the lathe - remove the block

I have put a couple more pages up on the web site dealing with turning the spruce burl. The piece has been flipped end for end and the glue block removed. This is one of the things that throws people at first but it is fairly simple. Just take your time.

It is easy to rush things this near the end. Unfortunately, that can make a catch happen and there is not a lot of wood left on the piece. One good catch and boom she goes. While there is a lot said about riding the bevel and making sure the edge is sharp and all that other true stuff, the big thing is to take your time. There is no need to rush.

Think about the cut.
Make the cut.
Look at the result.
Do it over.

Remember that the fun is in the doing and the result is just nice to see. Ok, a lot of the fun is in the result too, but take the time to enjoy the cuts. Chances are, none of us enjoy the catches.

Have a good Easter.


Friday, March 14, 2008

work in progress: burl on the lathe - outside prep

I have managed to finish hollowing the vase or hollow form or whatever this burl is, and I have gotten the outside ready to finish. see it here
It introduces one of the questions that may hit several times as you turn a burl that allows a glimpse into the interior, "how much of the interior should be revealed and what do the edges of the opening look like?" A lot of the time the change from one thickness to another at the unsupported edge of the openings will allow a very thin membrane of wood to extend over the opening or negative space of the burl.

Those membranes can be left or removed. Each change alters the amount of light that enters the vessel along with varying shadows. The style of edge affects shadows and depth perceptions. How shall these things be done so as to leave the natural look of the burl but also expose its beauty to the viewer?

Hopefully I have begun to answer the questions.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

work in progress continues: hollowing

I have had a couple of hectic weeks of funerals at work, annual meetings, and computer problems. In fact I am writing this on my laptop because my desktop, and favoured computer, is in the shop.

I did get a bit if time in the shop and also some time to write up a couple more pages on the spruce burl. One of the things I noticed as I was hollowing the piece is the drilling of the center with a 1/4" gouge. This is something I learned from Maurice Gamblin who has been turning professionally for twenty years now. Still I do not see many others doing it. I have used drills for the purpose but the gouge is easily as fast and more versatile. In fact, many vessels can be hollowed using only the gouge.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pages