Turning Archive 2008
>So yesterday, I was digging a trench in 85 degrees and told my son we'd "go camping" on the deck. Well, my wife didn't let me back out of it, so I slept in my bag in a tent from 10:30PM to 3:30AM before I couldn't take it any more. Slept is an exaggeration. More like laid there wishing it was morning, closing my eyes, and trying to get comfortable for 5 hours. He made it until 6AM when he woke up alone and came into see me on the couch in my bag, since my daughter decided to take my spot in my bed. But I digress...
So with a limited amount of sleep and soreness everywhere, I decided to embark on a "big turning project" (for some crazy reason...) I have a bunch of this spalted maple in my waiting for inspiration stock pile, and I had roughed this piece round with two tenons on either end. I changed out the spigot jaws on my Super Nova II for the 55mm long nose and rerounded.
The roughout proved that the surface finish would be difficult at best. The end grain tore out with a gouge, so I used a skew to get a pretty good finish. Since the piece was so large (10" H x 8" W), I knew that I would never get a perfect surface off of the tool and sanding would be a dusty mess with soft and uneven spots from the hard and soft woods. Dilemma. How to finish?
I recently saw a few Ellsworth pieces and recalled a conversation we had when I was a student a few years back. He mentioned that he didn't care to sand his pieces to 10M grit because it robbed the work of the makers hand. Now, David is either a genius (who doesn't want to sand) or making a point. When I looked at his work, there was clear evidence that he practiced what he preached. Tool marks.
As I sat, aching in my chair, it dawned on me that this piece of decaying wood really didn't need to be sanded. At all. The surface is far from polished, but it is "perfect". It highlights the various stages of decay, from "crappy wood" to world class spalting. There are cracks in the wood that were there when I cut it down to throw it in the back of my truck with Andy DiPietro last summer. It would be an insult to the wood to "polish" it.
So I set out about hollowing it. Normally, I'd aim for 1/4" or less in something this big, but with the cracks and the spalting, I'm guessing that I left this one marginally thicker to avoid losing it in some turning catastophe. During the effort, I made some tools, changed some tools, and even debated rewiring the switch on my lathe for remote access. I took about 5 hours to shape and hollow it , and I'm pretty happy with how it came out. I'm most likely going to wire brush the outside and bleach it, and then lightly lacquer it.
As usual, comments and such are welcome...