|Project by StevenAntonucci||posted 05-22-2009 12:34 AM||1725 views||0 times favorited||11 comments|
Neither picture really does this piece justice, as the wood, form and finish all beg to be inspected to truly appreciate it.
Every once in a while, it all comes together at the lathe. Your shape is expressive and the wood perfectly suited for it. I wanted to turn another one of these pots, since I had stumbled on this form many years ago. I have a habit of undercutting the rim larger than the diameter of the vessel, and thusly a fine collection of bowls. When you have a combination of undercutting and form, it’s much more difficult to get it just so… even moreso than the flat river rock vessels I occassionallly make.
The other half of this piece of wood didn’t make it. I blew it, so I didn’t want to ruin the whole log. I also struggled with producing mediocrity. “It’s only wood” is usually true, but it only goes so far. Clearly, this is a piece of wood deserving of a less callous attitude. Faced with this decision, I decided on 1/8” to 3/16” walls through a 1/2” hole. Smalller hole would be too risky (how I lost the first one) and 1/16” would also be pushing my skills (yeah, the first one was 3/8”+/- and 1/16”...and one blink of an eye later it was 0/16”)
Hollowing a vessel this size (4×6” give or take) is only about an hour’s work from between centers to hand sanding. There just isn’t that much wood to remove, so it doesn’t take very long getting it done. However, for one solid hour, you need to be in the moment. Nothing else can matter but you and the wood and the sound of the lathe and the tool cutting. No “design changes” from a catch. No dismounts. Lots of measument and compressors puffs to blow out chips. It’s like a dance, and you have to make every move and step to get perfect marks.
On to finishing. If your cuts are clean, start at 180 grit or better. I usually cut the outer surfaces with a skew to avoid tearout, and I sand back to 180 to get a level and consistent surface. Quick spin at 220 and 320 and 400, and we come off the lathe. Inspect the surface for any defects, and correct by hand sanding. Once I am off the lathe, I never go back on. Three coats of oil with a day or more in between, and sanded with 400 Grit before buffing with white diamond and a coating of Carnuba wax. Signed with a heat brand and calligraphy pen.
I am done, but this piece isn’t complete yet. African Sumac is similar to cherry in that it reacts to UV light. Over time, this piece will turn a dramatically different color- red!- with exposure to sunlight. It sits in my sunroom waiting to get to it’s environmental equilibrium
Thanks for reading.
(Epilogue: I really need to make a photo setup…)