Once I have the natural edge vessel turned and sanded to my satisfaction I apply finish while it is still on the lathe.
When the finish is completely dry it is time to take the piece off the lathe and finish the base. I use a very simple jam chuck set up to hold the vessel in place. There is nothing fancy about the jam chuck – a piece of hard maple turned into a cylinder with a rounded nose. I attached a piece of bubble wrap to the nose with a rubber band – simple but effective.
I hold the piece against the jam chuck and bring the tail stock up to the tenon that was held in the chuck. I am using a blunt nose tip to hold the piece in place. Before I turn the lathe on I spin the vessel by hand to make sure that it is centered. Once satisfied that the piece is balanced I turn the lathe on to it’s slowest speed and visually check for balance once more.
I turn the tenon down until just a nub is left. I use a small spindle gouge that I have ground back to get the wood closest to the base down to around 1/16” of inch. Time to take this off the lathe and use a sharp skew to cut the nub off.
Nub successfully cut off and the bottom is ready to sand and finish. This is already very smooth and I will start with 200 grit sandpaper and work my way through the grits.
Bottom is finished and ready to be signed!
This piece is completely finished and ready to go to it’s new home. All the bark stayed on and you can still see some of the moss that was inbedded. There are two bark wings that stand out – when I first started turning this piece one of my goals was to keep those as part of the vessel’s edge. Hope everyone was able to follow this project. The wood was cut in January, ends sealed with paraffin and stored outside until I was ready to turn it. Very little moisture, but since the vessel walls and bottom are a uniform thickness there should not be issues with cracks or checks. It may go oval, but that will make the piece more interesting.
-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.