Element 4 – Air

2015-09-27 13.35.15Yes, you’re right there was a different Element 4 pot up a couple weeks ago but I pulled it from the series because it didn’t please me. I got scads of compliments on it but it had to please me to be in the series. I let this one dictate the design and the big knot just screamed sun and the random swirls and tan spots said desert so I named it “Desert Sky“. I’m not sure what kind of wood this is be we determined a lot of things it wasn’t. Once again not sure where it came from, I just have logs sitting around now. This one completes the series, the last one has taken it’s rightful spot on the wall of shame.


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Turning Inventory

2015-09-13 15.58.40I’m toying with the idea of opening an Etsy Store so I need some more standard inventory — which is actually a bit faster to make than art pieces. This candy(?) dish is a perfect example. I have turned lots of these and they are always a big hit. This is Brazilian Cherry and a bit thick because I found it has a tendency to crack if you turn it too thin. Added benefit — it could be used a weapon! The lid is American cherry with a mahogany spindle which is colored with Dark Walnut oil. Still trying to figure out the pricing at Etsy since it seems to be all over the map but I don’t want to work for less than I could make at McDonalds!

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Element 3 – Water

2015-09-11 15.32.25This piece is called “Ocean Bottom” because the hues suggest an ocean bottom rather than a murky river bottom. The effect is accentuated by bits of plankton floating around and the dark area at the very bottom. I wanted to use a different type of finial on this one and this one is a stylistic dolphin beak breaking up from the surface. I wanted to stick a “pearl” in the mouth but had nothing around the shop that could be used. The finish is 10 coats of lacquer but the true shine is not really visible in my light box — maybe time to upgrade it? It took a while to finish this due to a vacation last week but I did finish it today and moved on to the next element — air.

Element 2 – Fire

Turned sycamore urn with fire colors

Up From The Embers – Element 2

I call this one “Up From The Embers“. I decided to do an element series of urns using different colors and techniques — all from Sycamore which is white enough to give me a blank canvas to work with.  On this particular piece I used red, black and yellow alcohol dyes. Although many of the application techniques were the same I used on the Mother Earth piece, the effect is totally different. It does have a fire feel to the appearance. I also brought the colors up to the finial. I felt it needed a bit of natural wood to rein the colors in a bit so I used walnut for the lid and transitioned into that with a purple heart rim. I used a gloss acrylic to get a high gloss finish. I like the look but the piece feels a bit “plasticy”. The next in the series has 10 coats of lacquer which feels a bit better — but nothing feels quite like wood except wood. That should be posted next weekend and the hint is “water”.

Element 1 – Earth

Turned sycamore urn with earth tones

Mother Earth – Element 1

I keep going back to playing with color just for the artistic possibilities color adds to the woodturner’s tool palette.  With this piece I was striving for a marble look. I think I got that and figured out a few techniques in the process that I will use in the next piece. And since it was just a practice piece anyway I had something else to try. I had picked up some hemp twine to try insetting a band of that. That was a failure on this pot. I used CA glue to glue the string in but it wicked though causing big blotches so then I tried to color the string with water based dye which only looked nasty when I got done. Next week I am going to pull all that out and dry again with a clear glue of some sort. I really want to perfect this technique because the texture is just wonderful against the high gloss finish. The purple heart rim is another nice accent. If I replace the string I think this piece will be a keeper.

Update: old title “Experiment in marbleizing”. I got this one fixed now. The trick I found was to use super glue gel which won’t weep into the hemp twine. The third time was gold. I also found some multi-colored hemp which had the other colors of the urn already in it. Sweet! I call this one “Mother Earth

Sycamore – not just a white wood

2015-08-08 16.33.20I have playing with wood dye off and on and have never been really please with the results until this weekend. I have so much of this sycamore I was getting a bit bored with the whiteness of it and it seemed to be a good place to experiment. The base coat is brown with red and yellow highlights. I also dyed the top black — just a light coat that lets the grain show through. The piece is finished with one coat of lacquer and several coats of wax.

Yet another way to view

tammycardTammy’s Cool Things right here in Trappe is now stocking some of my work in her store. If you’ve never been in by all means stop by as they have an eclectic mix of merchandise geared to your “inner hippie”. It’s hard to miss — just look for the 60’s flower van sitting next to the road!

More fun with firewood

2015-07-15 14.20.09This beats the heck out of burning a piece of wood — especially with the figure I found in this one. Lots of spalting and being a piece of crotch wood it has very pronounced dark heart wood on multiple faces. I left it a bit thick because the bottom was a little soft and I was apprehensive about losing the piece. I’m pretty sure it is walnut with a whole lot of sap wood. I also like the lopsided rim. I could have brought it all in on itself but it wouldn’t have the same effect. Continue reading

We all get stoned

2015-07-26 15.37.15More stone dust to play with. This was a father’s day gift and I have been anxious to try it out. It is more brown than red but it still looks great. This was a piece of road log that was picked up while walking the dog. Lots of sap wood, bug holes and the like which it needed so it would be just a piece of red oak. I actually pulled the Dremel out and widened some cracks so I could also fill those to add a little consistency to the piece.

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It’s all natural

2015-07-15 16.18.03I have been turning a lot of crotch wood lately. I love the surprise of finding out what is inside – sometimes a gem, sometimes a disappointment. As Forrest would say “turning is like a box of chocolate”.  This wood is unknown as someone dropped it off in front of my shop one day when I wasn’t around. I really like the little knot hole. Being a crotch it has different figure going all the way around and it was hard to show it all so I spun it by hand and did a short video clip.