I turned a hollow form from green Ficus, 6”dia x 9” h more or less. If you are not familiar with Ficus, it’s a very light, almost white wood, and holds a lot of water. Turning it is fun because it’s all chips and curls. No dust. When done the finish turned piece is surprisingly heavy. Dried, however, its like balsa. Light as ever. Being the impatient type and always looking to try new things, I decided to try the microwave technique to dry the piece. As I remember, 15 minutes on high, let it cool to room temp, microwave on high for another 15 minutes, let it cool, repeat until “done”. So Berg puts the piece in for 15 on high. Takes it out with steam pouring out the 1 5/8” opening. Cool! Hot! actually. A few hours later it is at room temp and quite a bit lighter.
Guess I’ll put it in for another 15. Now the important thing to remember is NEVER leave ANYTHING in a microwave oven for 15 minutes on high and walk away. “Why” you might ask….
The “stains” you see are burn marks and burned sap leaching through. Notice the lip is a nice caramel color. The whole inside is a nice charcoal color.
Here is the base. That’s burned Ficus right there. My DW came into the kitchen.. where was I?.. and discovered the microwave smoking like a Southern BBQ. Great if it’s a southern BBQ. Not so great when it’s your hollow form in the family microwave. ;)
That’s all. Well, no. I’ll add to this if I figure out some way to save the day. What would Trifern do?
Respectfully submitted for your entertainment.
WHAT WOULD TRIFERN DO?
I should retitle this “Fun With Microwaves and Torches”.
I sat on this for a while thinking I might find a use for it even if it was as a what-not-to-do-show-and-tell piece. Then it occurred to me that if it’s a little burned I might as well burn it “good”. I took a propane torch and charred the whole thing, rubbed it down, sealed it with lacquer, lightly sanded and put several more coats of lacquer and this is what I ended up with. In good light you can see some very subtle browns coming through the charcoal black. Everyone who sees it loves it. What’s that saying about lemons? :)
-- Pete - "To every thing there is a season Turn! Turn! turn!" [Ecclesiastes and Pete Seeger]