|Project by Mark Wilson||posted 10-25-2015 10:36 AM||1041 views||1 time favorited||26 comments|
When My family moved into this house, it was 1978. I was a wee lad. The two Hibiscus bushes in the back yark, however, were quite old, as bushes go. They had, evidently been planted when the original occupants (my family were the second) bought the house in 1958. That would make the two Hiniscuseses fifty-six years old. One of them is that old, now. The bigger of the two died some three to four years ago (chinch bugs, I believe). It was visibly lifeless for some time when I decided to extract it. I got out the chainsaw, clippers, and shovel, and went out there. I clipped the upper branches off, and, while I was leaning into the bush to reach the back side, the trunk snapped off at ground level. I shoved it aside and started with the shovel. There was nothing but really healthy-looking soil. The root system had utterly disintegrated (yeah, chinch bugs). I started chopping it all up to fit in the barrel. The trunk, about the lowest three to four feet of it, cought my interest. I had just gotten my Shopsmith, mebees a week earlier. I thought that I might be able to use some of this in the future. (I did take a very small piece of a branch to the lathe to see what it looked like inside – very plain, very featureless [I still have that piece].)
Well, sir, the main part of the trunk lay on the back patio since then, in the midst of most of the rest of my wood pile. I examined the biggest bit, and determined that there might be something in there. That was last Saturday. I cut a length of it that included a crotch of sorts. Parts of it were rotten and punky. Inspired by my new Buddy, Yuval Lahav, whose video I had just seen wherein he made a wing-ed vase from an Olive crotch, I set forth to make a wing-ed vase. I decided to make a video of the process, and, consequently, I didn’t take but a couple of still photos, for shame. I’ve yet to learn how to edit/cut down videos. When I do , I’ll probably post it in a blog. (Note: The photos you’ll see in this description are screen caps. Of questionable quality, at best.)
The startling thing about this Hibiscus (do I call it wood?) is that, in the time it lay out back, it spalted and became very interesting, indeed.
I didn’t end up with a wing-ed vase because the branches that would have made up the wings were just too far gone. I cut them off, leaving as much as I could of the space between the branches. Oh. And that little knot in one of those spaces was very important to me, too.
Some of the rotteness survived the turning and finishing. It was a bear to finish. I BLO’d it, and it got splotchy. So I sanded it back down. It was at this time that I decided to re-shape the bottom end. I decided that I would shape the bottom in a conical fashion, rather like a bomb, then turn the base with a hole that it would sit in. I finished the base in a less-refined way, leaving the bark bare. The vase itself, I finished (prior to parting off), by spraying it several times with Shellac, for sealing, and sanding it smooth. I then applied five coats of WOP with a camel hair brush, rubbing out between coats.
So there it is. A Hibiscus Vase. Complete with spalting. Enjoy.
All these photos show it standing straight up on the base. But, it can be played with by tilting it on the base, within reason. It’ll list nearly fifteen degrees in most any direction before it wants to fall over.