Here’s a case where I don’t know what to do with myself. I decided this afternoon that, rather than setting out to make something astounding, I’d just put a piece of wood on the lathe and make something. So, I grabbed a Hackberry turning blank, 4” X 4”, tried to figure out a way to turn it in the fashion of a tricorn, decided that wasn’t a good idea, and mounted it the normal way between centers.
Hackberry is a funny wood. Those dark lines that make it so interesting are sap veins. Rivers of hardened resin. Extremely hard resin. The wood itself is very soft. Very cork-like, in point of fact. I’ve turned this wood before, so I knew what I was getting into. (See the Candle Lantern in my Gallery.) I’ve also done things with it that it simply didn’t survive. With such a small billet, there’s not a lot one can do. My thoughts went to Lidded Box. This stuff is so hard to turn, but I got something going. Then, I started thinking Egg-Shaped Lidded Box. Here’s the blank after I got most of the wax off and had started fighting to make it round. (I’m gonna try to limit myself to about a dozen of the fifty-photos I took.) I made a plinth and flipped it into my 2” chuck.
You can see that tearout is a major issue with this species, due, of course, to the tool bouncing over that resin. I did most of this shaping by carefully using a skew like a scraper. That didn’t help the tearout issue, but, with a light touch, I was able to knock the high spots down.
When I got the shape I was pleased with – not a ball; not quite an egg – I started trying to fill all that roughness by spraying shellac and sanding it in with 100G paper. (Glue would work, but, discolors the wood; Sanding Sealer would probably work, but, that’s shellac, innit?) It seemed to be working, so I kept going.
And going. Seven or eight times. It looked good. So, I wondered how well it would polish up
I made with the Micro Mesh, and it got better.
So, I got out the Shine Juice. I picked up my Shine Juice rag, stiff from the last usage, and thought, This thing’s full of Shine Juice. I wonder…. So, I put the bottle of Shine Juice down and held the stiff rag to the Thing, and, it got better still.
I heated that puppy up real good. and wondered, How shiny can it get? I kept doing that, and, it got somewhat shinier. When it stopped getting shinier, I added more Juice, and went to town.
And went to town again and again.
The reflection in the center got sharper and sharper.
I moved it into the sunlight, and, it looked even better. I began noticing that I could see my fingers.
So, this is where it stands. I want to cut a small lid – one that doesn’t need to be hollowed out (there’s no way to chuck it up) – and hog out the innards. Or, I suppose, I could cut the top off and make a separate lid/finial structure. (That thought just came to me.) Or, I could call it a Pet Rock, leaving it as-is. It’s an awful pretty piece of wood. It really needs to be something astounding, don’t you think?
So, here’s where you come in. Suggestions. Ideas. What, my beloved Buddies would you do? And remember, you’re scared of screwing it up.