|Project by olivine||posted 02-24-2013 12:30 AM||1061 views||1 time favorited||8 comments|
This was a fun project, but it took me a little time to think about. I knew I was going to make a vase out of this spalted blank so I started by roughing out the shape. I spent three weeks thinking about how I wanted to complete the turning. This is not uncommon as part of my process to start a rough shape and then decide the details. Sometimes that is easier than planning from start to finish because I’ve had a number of projects where the wood dictated major changes as I turn.
I finally decided that a piece of wood with such a distinctive grain pattern should be simple. I finish sanded the piece and bored a deep hole using a forstner bit and an extension shank on the lathe.
Next came the really fun part (It actually took about a week of courage to carve such a nice piece of wood). Using a piece of string, I taped it at the top of the mouth down about 3/4 of the piece and traced the line with a pencil. The point of using the string was to make the curve look naturally smooth as it wrapped around the form (I was afraid freehand wouldn’t be as nice). Next, I left the string taped at the top and pulled it around the cylinder at a slight angle to define the shape of the opening. Using a saw, I cut at an angle around the top following the spiral line until it intersected the major line. Using chisels and a file I cleaned up the top. To define the major line, I deeply scribed the line with a chisel and then used several carving chisels to recess the surface a little more than 1/8”. I had to continue the carving around the piece so that the removed material blended with the rest of the piece (it required about 1/3 of the circumference to look about right). Since I can’t lock the head of my lathe, I used a homemade carving vise to mount the vase. Maybe sometime soon I’ll post the carving vise and the place I found the plans on the web.
After carving, I smoothed it up with sand paper to 600 grit. Sanding blocks came in handy to prevent marks from my hand. The piece was then finished with tung oil thinned with acetone for the first couple coats and then tung oil finish for another four or five coats (desired gloss). The reason it takes so many coats is because I use a lint-free cotton rag to apply the oil and finish and I apply very thin coats to make sure that it is even and does not run. I hate finishes: the smell and how tacky feel. That’s why I start with tung oil first. I’ve found this requires less stinky finish that way.