Author Archives: Alan

Back from Vacation

I just got back from spending a week out in Sedona Arizona and would highly recommend that destination to anyone. If you do make the trip, go on up to Jerome and visit that little town which is a mecca of local artisans.

I haven’t had any driving desire to make anything since my return but did find a cache of test tubes while doing some clean up in the work shop. I had bought these to do bud vases so I had to do one just to justify having them in stock. This one (above) was a piece of holly that had been sitting on the shelf since early 2014 and was such a small piece that it was perfect for this project. 

Tupelo Turning

I had a nice sized chunk of some Tupelo that a friend who does carving gifted me with, The wood is very soft which makes it perfect for carving decoys but not so much for turning, But it does sand nice which helps tremendously. It also lacks any grain to speak of and is a bland light color which begs to be dyed. The problem I ran into was that the softness of the wood was soaking up all the lacquer I was spraying on it. I ended up brushing on several coats of brushing lacquer with a lot of wet sanding between coats. I was finally able to spray the lacquer at an acceptable level. The cherry for the rim and foot were both scraps from my work bench.

Fallen Limb Pot

We lost a massive branch from one of our pecan trees last week. I had not turned green wood for a while and this was a good opportunity to revisit that. I hollowed and shaped it a bit, put it in the microwave for a bit and then turned the walls thin. I had one small crack develop during the microwaving which is not bad. The pecan was not that interesting – very light colored. To accentuate the grain I put a coat of black dye before the final sanding. Consequently all the grain showed up spectacularly though the green dye. I still have about 8 foot of this 6″ round limb so a few more of these will probably be in the works.

Natural edge bowl with pedestal

This piece of spalted wood came out of my pile and needed to be gone. I liked the figure but the light color was not what I wanted. I have brown dye which seldom gets used and I used that for something different. The inside is natural color. My wife really wanted me to do another natural edge bowl so this is what I did. The shape I was able to get out of that chunk needed a bit of enhancement. I first thought a tall decorative pedestal would look good but I ended up doing a short one out of walnut and gave it a coat of the same brown dye. I also picked out a lot of bug damage and filled with epoxy with black dye in it. Right now the bowl has a satin lacquer finish from a rattle can to seal the dye but it will be sprayed on my next spray lacquer day.

Sold at Oxford Artist Studio Tour

Turned Wood Vessel of many colors

This pot was turned with the intention  of creating another Jade Green piece. The green had some issues and I decided to abandon that and turned the color off. I then decided that a black dye would look good if all the grain showed though – a good idea for a future project but it didn’t hit me on this. I then decided to put a coat of black lacquer on it just to avoid having to get rid of the black dye. Again — epic fail as every dimple and defect were just compounded through the lacquer. I almost tossed it in the bin but decided to turn it all off one more time and let it go natural. This time I added a couple of coats of walnut danish oil. I was actually quite pleased this time. The lid was almost a perfect fit and was a left over from another “binned” project. 

Glass lidded segmented container

I had not done a glass lidded turned container for a while and all the ones I had sold rather quickly. This pot was going to be another open segment like the last but blew apart on me. Rather than scrap it, I just put solid wood in between — alternating between coco bolo and maple to set off the main walnut segments. The bottom wasn’t looking too nice after multiple attempts to sand down there. As chance would have it, I had a 2″ diameter mirror that just fit. 

By the way, I will be displaying (and hopefully selling!) at the Oxford Studio Tour on September 6.

Maple urn with walnut

This piece had been sitting unfinished for a year in my shop. It had some end grain cracks in the maple but they haven’t changed in a year. I turned out a bigger hole and inserted a nice walnut lip. The lid is also maple but lacquered black for contrast. The cherry spindle just came out of the scrap pile. The urn is about 7 1/2″ tall with lid and 5″ in diameter. The whole piece has a satin lacquer finish.

Sold at Oxford Artist Studio Tour

Open Segmented Walnut Pot

This was just an experiment that I had in mind to try for a long time. I had seen other people make similar vessels using jigs and convoluted methods to get this effect. This was done by putting strips of pvc lumber between regular segments. The glue won’t stick to this material and I was able to just pop them out before turning. The lid is temporary and came from another project sitting in stock (and just happened to fit perfectly — what a shock). This may be good for a potpourri pot or house a candle (without using the lid or and LED candle with lid on).