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 (below) 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.
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.
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.
Once again I turned something similar to one I really liked that sold recently. I didn’t bring the photo up of the old project since I didn’t want to duplicate it. I went back after finishing and looked though and I like this one even better. Up to 6 coats of lacquer but I plan on a few more to take care of a few flat spots. This was the first day I had to spray outside for quite a while. Rain did come in a couple of hours after I finished, I guess I got lucky. The lid is some canary wood of which I have a few small pieces squirreled away. This will probably end up on Etsy next week.
This maple blank was painted with white lacquer and has a teak top (which has been hanging around my shop for about 25 years). I have to say that I hate working with teak. It dulls tools quickly and smells awful but it sure is pretty when finished. Only one more white blank sitting on the bench after this one — I have special plans for it.
Since I have been turning a lot of black items I wanted to stretch a bit and do white. I had tried to achieve a transparent white in the past and was very disappointed so this time I went in a different direction. I got some white spray lacquer and used that. What i found was that certain areas of the wood wouldn’t take the lacquer which seemed odd. So this piece I ended up using spray paint. I did figure out that sealing the wood first with a coat of shellac solves the adhesion problem and have several other white projects in progress on the bench.
This piece of cedar was just too “cedary” for an urn like this so I decided to go the limit and ebonize it. This was done with black lacquer in a spray can (after a lot of careful taping). I had added the foot and rim before deciding to blacken the project but wanted to leave those natural. That did add a lot of time to the project. Plus trying to achieve a perfect finish in gloss black is a nightmare. I got about a 98% perfect finish — the best I could hope for. The top was done with white spray lacquer just for the dramatic contrast.
I had a small piece of maple that just looked horrible and it had some checks in it. It is too hot for a fire these days so I decided to use it up. I also had a few pieces of cherry on my bench that needed to be moved out so I glued them on as a foot and a rim. after turning the shape I wanted I tried filling the checks with CA glue but that didn’t make the cracks look any better I decided to use black lacquer but to make sure they didn’t show up I spun two coats of CA on it to bridge any remnants of the cracks – fail. After spraying on the black the evidence was still there. That’s when I put the acrylic on it. The cracks still show but are really hard to find unless you are looking for them.
Some wood is too nice to toss and this cedar was no exception. Also the maple ring which was just cluttering up my bench — time to let it go as well. The cherry bits came out of the scrap box so it was totally a scrap wood project. On the cedar I tried a new experiment — I put orange alcohol dye in the shellac to brighten up the colors in lieu of dyeing the bare wood as I normally do. I was very pleased with the result – just a hint of color. I’m sure all wood turners have boxes of cut-offs and scraps that can be used for these types of projects.
This project was a rework of an older project from several years ago. It never really worked for me and has been in hiding but I pulled it out to clear out space and decided to go wild with it. I first ebonized it using black leather dye. The result is a nice leather texture on the black. Also the lid was rudimentary at best and it needed something a bit more dramatic to work with the black. The result is just wonderful with the glass. I also added a cherry knob to match the cherry rim left on the bowl itself.