Turning Archive 2008

My box only had 8 crayons.....

Mike Stafford
>We were so poor when I was growing up that when I went to school I could not afford to pay attention. My parents did the best they could but they never were able to buy me crayons except in the little box with only 8 basic colors. Everyone else in school had those big boxes with 64 different colors or heaven forbid 128. So my Indians were red, my African-Americans were black and of course everybody else was orange. And just like in the old song flowers were red and green.

Later on I asked for and received a Jon Nagy paint by number set. I never did finish painting my masterpiece of a kitten playing with a ball of yarn. It seems I was allergic to cats.

The reason for all this background is when I see the wonderful painted and dyed pieces by some of the turners on WC and elsewhere I always think back to my box of 8 crayons and left over Jon Nagy paints. In my imagination I think maybe one day I can do something like Andi Wolfe or Chris Pytlik or some other true artist.

Well, today was the day. Not with crayons or left over paints but with alcohol based aniline dye.

I had a piece of very nondescript maple that I thought would be perfect for this grand adventure. I turned a completely new shape for me and sanded it very finely.

I got out my little bottle of aniline dye powder and mixed up a nice red color with some fresh alcohol. I applied this to my piece while it was still on the lathe and just as advertised it dried very rapidly. I am not sure you will ever see this piece as it was experimental but I did want to share with you what I learned today.

1. Use a new pair of gloves. An old pair probably has holes and your fingers just might turn red. The dye tends to pool up in the finger tips so my cuticles and finger tips look like I voted in Iraq.

2. Alcohol dyes dry very rapidly and it is very hard to get an even color. The more you paint on the more it runs down into the join between the lid and the body and accumulates.

3. Even though the dye appears dry it is still probably a good idea to wear a face mask when you turn on the lathe to buff it out. See 2 above. I am not sure how long people will be asking me if I have the measles.

4. Wear old clothes. See 3 above. My white shirt looks like I was sole survivor of the shootout with Bonnie and Clyde.

5. Wear a shower cap or at the bare minimum a hat. See 3 above. I am blond and now areas of my hair resemble Lucy's coif.

6. Alcohol is non grain raising but nobody said anything about the effect it would have on my wife's temper. See we are supposed to go to a New Year's Eve get together tonight and I don't think she wants to go with an Iraqi who voted who is now impersonating Clyde Barrow, infected with the measles and wearing a Lucy wig....

I did have a good time though......

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