|Project by Stonekettle||posted 08-14-2010 05:58 AM||2586 views||4 times favorited||26 comments|
I collected tons of cut Alaskan Birch (a sub species of North American White or Paper Birch) from a new road area near my home in the MatSu Valley. The figure and character of Alaskan Birch depends entirely on where it grows. In the deep swamp where there is little light, the trees grow very little from year to year and the grain is dense like hard maple with tight figure and large amounts of brown heart and burl – this is the wood I usually work in. In the open, in Alaska’s 22 hours of sunlight summers, the wood grows quickly, it’s soft like soft maple or pine, and is usually white in color with straight grain – i.e. boring. Good mostly for firewood. The several tons of birch I got from the road cutting was of the later type – but, hey, free turning stock, not like I’m going to turn it down.
The question then, was how to make it more interesting? Carving and aniline dye was my answer. This bowl was turned green to rough, allowed to dry for a year in the shop until it was around 8%, finished turned and then dyed, carved, sanded, dyed, sanded, and dyed again, building layers of color and character. The idea was to create something that looked as if it had grown that way, like coral. The finish is twenty coats of very thin wipe-on poly gloss. It’s about 14” in diameter.
-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station