I could think of many other words to name this – words beginning with other letters. I found the one I chose to be the least offensive.
Now, why do I put this in a Blog series I named “Fixing Things?” To “Fix,” in this context, is to “Settle” a matter, once and for all. The Matter is the Meaning of Life.
The meaning of MY life – the reason I’m on this planet – is, I’m convinced, to serve as a warning to others. That is to say: “There. I did that. Now you don’t have to.” I know. I don’t hold the corner on that market.
That being “settled,” on with the show.
Do you remember the Olive log that traveled safely halfway around the world from Bethlehem in the care of RBS?
Wednesday, the log finally found its way to my lathe.
It had an unworkable skew to one end, so I ran it across the table saw to get a flat spot for a live center, then mounted it between centers.
I began making it round. I had no definitive idea of what was going to come of this, as yet. I knew only that I needed to round it up, somewhat, and, put a foot on it.
This is the first “wild” piece of Olive I had had the chance, so far, to work with. I’ll say this about that: The ease with which I found I was able to make shavings off of it reminded me of Walnut. That is, it felt, under my tools, like Playdough. It was wonderful. Hypnotically so. Those veins in the wood reminded me a great deal of Hackberry, with a huge difference. Hackberry’s veins are really, really hard, making said wood very difficult to turn. In the case of the Olive, the veins and the surrounding wood are of the same density. I made up my sick mind that this would be a wine goblet, possibly with a captive ring. So, on I went, shaping the bowl.
Note: I did a sloppy job on the foot. It was secure in the chuck, but, not perfectly so. I carried on, leaving what-may-come-of-that for Future Mark to deal with. Looking at the figure in the veins, I saw a craggy mountainscape. I decided that it might add interest to the piece if I could put a moon on one of those crags. So, using a 3/16” Aluminum rod – a handful of which I’d had lying around, wondering what to do with themselves – I created said “moon effect.” I had bored out the bowl with a 1-3/8” Forstener bit, leaving the wall, at this point, about 3/8” thick. This is the right time to introduce such a thing – when there’s still plenty of meat.
Being very proud of myownbadself, thus far, I continued shaping the outside to my satisfaction. I polished it up, so I could see how pretty it could, potentially, get.
Now, after un-polishing, and re-polishing (tool marks, and such), I determined that it was time to go inside.
Using my 3/8” fingernail gouge and my home-made Allen Wrench Hollower, I began thinning up the wall from inside. This was working rather well, but for one thing. These tools kept producing a wave in the wood. I’ve had this happen many times, in the past. The way I’ve dealt with it, in the past, with some success, was to go in straight, making very shallow cuts, with the toe of a skew, so to speak excavating the waves from the sides thereof. This works. Really, it does. It keeps the pressure on the spinning piece longitudinal, whereas trying to scrape the wave down from the tops thereof introduces much lateral pressure, threatening many ill effects, not the least of which is departure from the chuck. This going-under the waves with the toe also has the effect of presenting the edge of the toe to the freshly un-waved wall. By carefully pivoting the skew on the tool rest, I’m also able to shape the inner wall, with in-and-out motions of the skew. Being so mesmerized by how well this is going – how nicely the tool is cutting and how well the Olive is responding, I, being too stupid to live, failed to pay attention to the advancing outer wall. That’s when Dammit happened.
All is not lost, I suppose. I can’t bring myownbadself to throw this wonderful piece of Olive away. I can probably get a decent toothpick holder or something out of what’s left. For now, however, I need a break.
Thank you. Be warned. And, I apologize.