Turning Archive 2005

Painted Mahogany

David Breth
>A guy at work kept promising to bring in some mahogany for me that his grandfather ended up with at some point to turn. The pieces are retired buoys. Promised kept - today I've got two old pieces of buoy sitting on the floor next to me. Both are laminated pieces, roughly a foot tall, already cylindrical, one about 7" diameter, the other about 3".

The problem is that both are painted red. I have no way to know if the paint is lead-based or not. I know the pieces were obtained within the past 15-20 years because my friend remembers when his grampa came home with them, but that's no indication of the age of the buoys.

The coats of paint are not exactly vibrant, but very solid. No peeling, no missing areas. On one of them it almost looks like oil because it is so thin I don't think you could shave it close enough to scrape of flakes. The other the coat appears very thin, but looks like paint.

By the way, I have my doubts about these being Mahogany. I'm no expert by any stretch, but this wood looks pretty blond to be mahogany to me, though that's what the grandfather was told when he picked them up. Maybe years of getting soaked then drying bleached them out a bit. (the larger piece is a segment, so I can see the end grains on the bottom, but the cut is really fuzzy so you can't tell much). I think both pieces could make excellent boxes.

So whattya think? Here are the choices:
1) throw them out, danger, danger, danger, you've got two little kids in the house!
2) turn them, not a big deal (I wear a north 7700)
3) wait until you've saved your pennies for a proper dust collection system, then turn them
4) strip them first, then turn them.

Apparently the grandfather and grandson turned a number of these over the years, and knowing what little I know, I'm going to bet they turned them without any protection of any kind whatsoever. When the grandfather brought them home, he filled the trunk of the car and the backseat of the car, and drew some fire from the grandmother. (Now THAT's a turner!) What remains of the haul is two or three pieces plus what I've got next to me.

By the way, just keeping these decoratively isn't really an option. Both have had a few cuts taken.

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