Turning Archive 2008
>Andy DiPietro gave me a big holly log last year, and it sat in my pile until yesterday. I set out thinking one thing, but I settled on something else. Happily, I might add...
This piece is roughly 13" tall by 9" wide and hollowed to 1/4" +/-. Measuring in a vessel this big is probably the biggest challenge, since there are no tools on the market to handle that depth. I needed to cobble something together in a hurry, and at some point, I'll probably make a "better one", since the quick and dirty one isn't very pretty. I also used light to shine through the sides to get me "close enough" to final thickness, but now you know why it's +/-...
The other thing about big wood is that it carries a lot more rotational energy. When I make small things, they usually get done in an hour or so, and largely with no "stress" on me. Big wood is a different ball game. The outside wasn't difficult to shape, and may have taken an hour from mounting to starting to hollow. The inside took 6-7 hours. I took breaks, I had to make another hook for my boring bar, but most of the time was spent with a tool cutting. Probably 4-5 hours.
Physically exhausting, I started by cutting a small entry hole with a 1" bit. I don't drill to final depth, because the bit wanders too much. A few inches in, do some hollowing, then a few inches more. If you've ever cut with a hook tool, you know how fast they cut. Probably half the time spent hollowing was spent removing shavings. In a piece this big, a compressor doesn't have enough "ummph" to blow out all of the shavings once you get a larger cavity. Lots of unscrewing of the chuck, inverting the piece and letting gravity help. Noodles come out with a shot of air, but scrapings will fall out with a gentle tap on the side of the pot.
And so my day went on and on. Did I mention that I did this entire pot hand held? No captured systems in my shop, although I am thinking about building a second tool support for my 4' telescoping bar. Gets heavy after the third hour or so.
This piece is still damp. Yesterday, it was soaking wet, throwing water in the line of fire, and driping down the flute of my gouge. I checked it this AM, and it's already much closer to dry than 5PM last night when I put a bag over it to keep it from splitting. Cool to my cheek, but not cold. Another day or two, and I'll start hand sanding it, since it's gone out of round and has a slightly "wavy" texture. Then, I'll bleach it and resand. Finally, it will get a light lacquer just to keep it from picking up fingerprints, and that will be that...