Amphora with flame dye finish - Homage to Trifern

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Project by Mike_D_S posted 04-26-2016 12:08 PM 658 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been a big fan of Trifern's work for a while. On a basic level, something about his work simply resonates with me.

Part of what fascinates me is not just his obvious talent, but the artistic side of it. I’m an engineer by trade and I’m the guy that can take an innovative idea and make it happen, but I am rarely the person who actually has the innovative idea. So this type of artistic creation would never have been possible for me by myself, but having seen that it is possible I can duplicate the technical implementation. Trifern had posted a blog on how he does his dye process to get this type of color pattern, so after reviewing his process and picking up a piece of maple, I set off to try one in his style.

I was showing Trifern’s pieces to my wife and she asked for a more traditional amphora shape. Since I wasn’t planning on hollowing the piece, the exterior shape was chosen with no regard for difficulty to hollow the inside. At my skill level, I don’t believe I could have hollowed it successfully with this shape. The turning went more or less ok, I’m a new turner with just a few simple pieces under my belt, so I took my time. There is a little tear out in spots and I tried to turn to final shape and then sand them out. I would have been better to leave it a bit big and then aggressively sand out the defects while shaping the final curve. As it was, I ended up having to leave a few of the defects on the piece, thought they are not that visible at the end.

The dye job went fairly smooth, I followed Trifern’s process. The big learning for me was not to leave too much black on the piece. More space for color is better and as the additonal dye coats go on, the dark areas tend to get darker. The aniline dyes (my first time to use them) were easy to mix and use. A nice aspect was the next dye coat would rewet the existing dye and this allowed the two colors to mix to some extent on the edges creating a nice color progression.

The finish process was relatively straightforward except for how much the wood really absorbed the first coat or two of Arm-R-Seal in the spots where the grain was more open. I’m normally use stains which tend to fill the grain a bit, so this was a surprise for me, but makes sense. I just went by feel in the finishing process and ended up with 6 coats of Arm-R-Seal, sanding back with 320 to smooth the finish after the last couple of coats. Then I gave it two coats of gloss lacquer to finish. The final finish came out pretty nice, adding a depth to the color.

Anyway, I also blogged the process here.

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

5 comments so far

View aussiedave's profile (online now)


3114 posts in 1247 days

#1 posted 04-26-2016 02:57 PM

Nicely turned, coloured and finished…..great job Mike.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View ZAGREB's profile


450 posts in 1072 days

#2 posted 04-26-2016 07:02 PM

perfect work,realy nice

-- bambi

View John's profile


419 posts in 692 days

#3 posted 04-27-2016 05:29 AM

Beautiful project, well done Mike.

-- John, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada.

View bushmaster's profile


1255 posts in 1705 days

#4 posted 04-27-2016 01:02 PM

Very nice work, will favorite and look into this process more carefully later, Would be nice to try it with the birch wood that I use.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View Scott Oldre's profile

Scott Oldre

742 posts in 2854 days

#5 posted 04-27-2016 01:08 PM

Looks like quality to me. Yep, I also enjoyed Trifern’s pieces and was amazed at his colors as well.

-- Scott, Irmo SC

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