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tests #1: a thin, fig dish test

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 1841 days ago 889 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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This is from nearly a month ago. I’m behind on my adventures.

Chucking something properly in a lathe takes a little bit of thought and prep work. I only had about an hour after work, but was in the mood to learn a bit more. In this test, I simply wanted to see if I could make a thin, dish-like object in a small chunk of Indian Laurel (Ficus microcarpa). I had recently acquired a ton of it, so I just pinched it between centers and had at it.

The test dish I would turn was from a piece similar to this one, cut from the same slab:

small slab of Indian Laurel

small slab of Indian Laurel, bark side

The proper method on such green wood is typically to turn thicker than your target, let it dry a few months, then finish turning to final dimensions to turn away the warps. If you don’t, you end up with a warped bowl. That’s often desirable in more artistic, ‘natural’ turnings, but I didn’t care either way as it was just a test. I simply went for “as thin as I could make it” right away. Note that the spur driver dug in a bit as I turned it. It was in the soft outer bark.

turned dish

Because I did everything between centers, I was left with a central support piece in the center of the dish. Again, I didn’t care. I wasn’t keeping this, and just wanted to work on turning a thin dish edge.

dish turning with central support

I did manage to get it pretty thin, though!

thin, turned dish

It’s also very uniform. That’s something I need to work on – getting the outside and inside faces to feel smooth, and contoured to follow each other smoothly, without bumps, and sudden, unintended changes in angle. This dish was smooth inside and out.

Here it is with the top and bottom planed smooth a bit with my cheap block plane:

top support piece planed smooth

bottom planed smooth

You can still see the spur driver’s ‘shadow’ in the support piece. I was thinking I could put a votive on there, and maybe potpourri in the dish around it. Again, unintended – just a test piece, for the learnin’.

support piece in turned bowl

And while I’m sure the piece should dry out completely before applying a finish, I just couldn’t resist seeing how some dewaxed shellac rubbed into it would look. The answer? Like a cheap salad bowl :)

turned dish with dewaxed shellac coating

turned dish bottom

turning blank, and weird dish turned from similar

Something I do wonder, however, is whether or not turning a bit oversized, then rubbing in some BLO would help to slow the drying, and protect the wood from checks as the MC stabilizes. It would be prettier and less messy than Anchorseal. I have a bunch of this wood, so I can run some long-term tests, I suppose…

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator



8 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2766 days


#1 posted 1840 days ago

the best lessons are learned through trial and error! I’ll be watching to see what else you learn.

And it’s a lovely bowl!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1000 posts in 1987 days


#2 posted 1840 days ago

Thanks, Ms. Debbie!

The successful turning of the outer part of this piece inspires me to try a proper turning next, taking my time to chuck things up properly, and follow a proper order of operations. I think given that this wood isn’t the most glamorous, I’d like to try out some of trifern’s dye techniques on it. It’s fibrous, and will probably suck up the ink. Multiple layers, and a glossy finish might actually work in its favor.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2766 days


#3 posted 1840 days ago

you experiment and we’ll learn from you :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14623 posts in 2281 days


#4 posted 1840 days ago

Ya done good Gary, been wonderin’ where you went ?? :-))

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1000 posts in 1987 days


#5 posted 1840 days ago

I’ve been slicing up logs and sealing them, Topamax! I’ve also been saving, which means I haven’t blown a bunch of money on lumber for some projects that I’d like to get to one of these days. I’ve got a few things to post soon, though. Thanks!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View DaleM's profile

DaleM

903 posts in 1989 days


#6 posted 1840 days ago

Nice turning Gary, practice or not. I’m a newbie at turning too. I don’t see myself making plates and HFs though. I’ll probably stick to simpler things. I’ve been learning as I need something. I just made my daughter a jump rope. I turned the handles and bored them out with a bigger bore on one end for the knots. I’ve got some walnut chucked up in it now for a chisel handle. Lathes are definitely fun.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14623 posts in 2281 days


#7 posted 1840 days ago

We were out at the tree farm a couple weeks ago. I was working on clearing a road of windfalls. I decided to make “lumber” :-)) out of a maple branch about a foot or a little better in diameter. I stood a piece about 4’ long on end and proceeded to rip it staight down a bit off center. I was quite please with myself because I’d cut straight down where I wanted to cut. When I looked at the back side it had wandered way off to the side. I cut the other side and the 3” “board” looked a bit warped :-(( I trimmed it up a bit. The pith goes strainght through the middle. There was a 4” check on the end that had been previously cut. The end I cut checked fairly quickly. I painted the ends a couple days after I got it home. I’ve been watching those checks grow. They are both about 12-16” long. Just an experiment to see what’s a gonna happen. Looks like I’m going to end up with 2 crooked 3×4’s :-))

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112002 posts in 2182 days


#8 posted 1840 days ago

Cool Gary well done

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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