Turning Archive 2004
Mike Schwing from Maryland
>Mine is evolving, of course, as my skills do, too.
I was struck this morning by the profile of a piece (the "collar or finial post below) when I put it up on a shelf against a white background. That form that looked so pleasing when photographed has an extremely obvious fat spot in it on the bottom curve.
It got me thinking about how to improve my forms while they're still on the lathe, and me wonder how you all addressed the same issue.
I do frequently remove the work from the lathe, still in the chuck, and examine it closely for form, tooling, defects, etc. before final shearing cuts and sanding, and before hollowing. I did the same on this one, too but I missed the flaw in the profile. I think my background wasn't plain enough, or didn't provide enough of a contrast against which to judge the form.
I used to just critique it against the wall behind the lathe, while still going round and round. I think this is helpful because my eye can't focus on the grain, eliminating it from my evaluation, but it needs more than that. I'm continually amazed at how what looks great on the lathe does not when removed.
The other thing I do / have done is photograph it with the chuck attached and submit it to a web forum for critique and design help. This is IMMENSELY helpful and I would definitely urge folks to do this.
I'm sure some of you guys have been doing this for so long your eyes can see the form properly on the lathe. Mine can't. Please share your ideas and practices. Thanks!