Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Not Bad. Not Bad At All.

A while back I talked about losing a lot more roughs to cracking since moving to the great state of Washington. Cherry mostly. Well, turns out there's a reason for that. Cherry trees on the East coast grow about 15-foot tall. On the West coast, they can grow upwards of 40-feet. And they're a lot less stable than their Eastern cousins.

If you've been following along, you remember I filled the cracks in one bad round with epoxy dyed red; not wanting to waste any more of this purdy wood. You're looking at the results. Pretty neat, eh?

All in all, it worked well. I had some air bubbles get trapped which causes a bit of pitting. Have to figure out how to thin the mix next time. And I wasn't able to get the glue deep into all the edges of the cracks, so I ended up filling those areas with CA glue.

I am pleased nevertheless. And I'll be doing this again. Nice thickness. Wicked grain patterning. Lovely color. And now it's got lightning bolts running throughout Nature's magic. What do you think?

Slightly different pewter button for the bottom. Seems to suit it. And I'd like to thank my pal Bebet for taking such lovely picture for me. You're the most, BB.

Washington Cherry. 12.25" x 4". Gloss polyurethane finish.(that's new for me, too.)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Egg, Anyone?

And sometimes I make boxes. This one's egg shaped, if you can't tell.

Not my best work, (nor my best photography...) but a fun little expedition nonetheless. And I've held onto it for about six years now, so something about it must speak to me.

It's Black Locust. Wormy. Quite a bear to work with. Hard, cracks easy. I love the name of the wood far better than the actual timber.

This was full of good lessons on creating vacuum seals, lining up the age rings and the patterns in the wood for a better look, and really just learning how to keep the damn thing on the lathe while you figure out how to finish it.

Fun stuff. A great way to while away a rainy Saturday afternoon.

Always Learning.

I love to make something out of wormwood. Just think the finished pieces feel older. Like maybe they've seen more. Have richer stories.

This particular Ash bowl taught me two very valuable things well after I thought we were done.

First, always put your wormwood in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute after you're finished (and before any metal adornments, of course). Why? Many times those darn worms are still hard at work inside. The last thing you want, is to set your creation down on something they'd find tastier. Like, say, an expensive table. Or your prized stash of other drying wood. Because they will gravitate towards it. They will tuck in.

Second, oil makes things yellow over time. First it brings out the color, later if turns yellow. I used standard Tung oil here. This Ash started out a lovely silver, with black mold running all through it. I hadn't paid any attention to it in several months, only to realize, well, now it's yellow.

Still a lovely bowl, but not anything like its former color. Now it has a different feel about it. More old than aged. Good to know.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

And, Again.

I learned a really valuable lesson watching the glass blowers at the Waterford Crystal plant in Ireland a few years ago. I asked one of the fellas how they could do the patterns so precisely. The answer? He said he'd been doing the same goblet, more or less, for almost 18 years now. Sheesh...

I'm gonna keep hammering this design until I'm fully satisfied. This is the thinnest I've ever gone, and I really like looking down into this particular bowl.

I also tried a different sanding technique, using a painters' sanding wheel on my drill to soften the carving bit. I think I like the end result better. I also added a little detail just below the rim and above the foot.

There's a bit of spalting in this cherry bowl, but I don't mind. It's kinda purdy.

Finished in walnut oil. 10" wide x 4" deep. Completely food safe and ready for the table.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Yo, B.

And here's the first finished piece I've pulled from The Urner's maple tree (If you remember, a few posts back...) Many thanks guys. I hope you get as much pleasure knowing that old tree lives on and is making someone else happy, as I've gotten helping it along its journey.

This one's about 14 inches across and almost 5 deep. Finished in walnut oil, it's 100% food safe. I think it looks great on our dining room table, and I hope it looks even better on my neighbor's Brian and Christina's table for years to come.

You'll also notice I tried a slightly different signature for the bottom. Several months ago, we took the kids north for a weekend of poking around, and I discovered these green marble bits in a tiny sewing store. I knew they'd come in handy some day. I think I like them.

What do you think?

For Another Day.

Since moving from Atlanta, I think I've mentioned the incidences of my roughs cracking as they dry have gone up. Either I'm not paying enough attention to the circumference/thickness ratios, or the damp nature of my drying space ain't helpin'.

I got tired of throwing out nice, big cherry roughs, so I've decided to try something. Dye and epoxy. Maybe it'll make for a pretty neat design. Dunno. I do know I'll save another piece of wood and learn something in the process if nothing else. So, off we go.

First I got the rough back in round.

Then taped off the outside of the bowl; as it'll be easier to fill the crack full from the smaller side. Otherwise, I'll have a flat spot that won't be rounded.

After filling the crack, I taped up the inside and let it set for a couple of hours to dry. Had to repeat the process, as air bubbles worked their way up and out of the fill. Suppose a thinner epoxy mix might account for alleviating that, but we shall see as I do more of them.

For now, I'm looking forward to finishing this one, and seeing what comes of it. Stay tuned.

What's In Thar?—Part II

A while back, I got a few pieces of wood from my pal Lou Maxon. Lou's been building a 100% LEED certified modern home in Carnation, WA.

I thought this would be a nice little crotch piece to keep his spirits up while the LEED process dragged out. Consider it part of a greater work in progress. (Who knew it took sooooooooooo long to do it right and not cut any corners?)

In any event, Lou was pleased to get it. And even gave us a wee shout out on Dwell Magazine's blog; where he's a recent sanctioned contributor. How 'bout that?