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Burl slab motorcycle stand; 1st commissioned piece

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Project by jfk4032 posted 04-22-2013 12:46 PM 1140 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Some good friends of ours had recently purchased a rustic steel nuts, bolts and gear piece of motorcycle artwork. They’ve seen some of my other work and commissioned me to build a nice base for it to sit on his desk. I immediately thought of a burl slab and got in touch with Greg Dahl over at Oregon Burls. I sent him the dimensions of the artwork and the basic shape of it and asked for as much live edge as possible and in a slim curving shape. Greg took the time and sent me a dozen or so pictures to choose from and after forwarding my suggestions to my friends we all agreed on which piece to purchase.

The piece that came varied between 3.75” and 4”thick. (second picture) I finally had installed and brought power to my new Laguna 16HD bandsaw and what better piece to christen it in than this. I cut several thin slices to even out the piece and see what the wood actually looked like. Then cut the remaining slab into 2 pieces, the keeper a little under 1.75” and the cutoff a little less than 1”. I then ran the keeper through my drum sander to remove all of the saw marks and thin the piece down to a little over 1.5”.

I then started the task of picking out all of the bark, inclusions and various crud from the piece to expose the pins and the other live edge elements. That took several very patient hours to complete. I am lucky to have a woodworking buddy who has a sandblasting booth and I was able to give a final cleaning of the burl and inclusions with the help of that…thanks Ron!

Next, I shaped the flat edges and contours of the slab with various small pneumatic drums that I use for my intarsia work. Because the art piece is so heavy, (about 20 lbs) I needed to fix the place where it would sit so it wouldn’t move and scratch the slab surface if it were jostled out of place. Since I didn’t have any carving tools, why not use this as an excuse to get some! I picked up the Wecheer carving handpiece and cut two angled depressions for the two chopper wheels to sit and one round depression for the kickstand to fit into. (fourth picture)

I then began hand sanding from 150 grit up to 600 grit. I cleaned off the surface with denatured alcohol and then applied a thick coat of 100% tung oil to all sides and wiped off the excess on both of the flat surfaces. That really brought the piece to life but it did take up to 3 weeks to fully soak in with several places still a bit wet when touched. I hoped that applying a coat of Deft brushable satin lacquer would seal in the small areas that were still wet, but the oil did leach up through it for the first three coats. After that, I applied that same finish with the spray cans since it dries so fast, I thought that would seal it in. After 4-5 coats it seemed to do the trick, but after steel wooling it smooth, the wet areas were still exposed a little bit…so off to more coats of spray finish. When smoothing it down with the steel wool after another 8-10 coats of the spray finish, the surface finally kept its integrity.

The last step was to apply a felt bottom to the piece so it wouldn’t scratch my friend’s nice wooden desk. This wasn’t the easiest of tasks because of the irregular perimeter of the piece and the various inclusion holes that went through the entire slab. If I didn’t cut out those interior holes on the felt, you could see the reverse adhesive side when viewing from the top side of the stand. So it took some time to carefully cut the felt to fit it like a glove. (last picture) I can’t wait to deliver the piece and see their reaction.

-- ---Joel; Central MD...rookie empter nester and getting back into woodworking!





5 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

14600 posts in 1028 days


#1 posted 04-22-2013 12:53 PM

Beautiful piece. Great job on it.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View luv2learn's profile

luv2learn

1768 posts in 993 days


#2 posted 04-22-2013 01:59 PM

This might be your first commissioned piece but I dare say it won’t be your last. The display shows patience and class all the way. Wonderful work, it’s a beauty!!

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View twokidsnosleep's profile

twokidsnosleep

1063 posts in 1664 days


#3 posted 04-22-2013 04:06 PM

That is cool!!
First thing that jumped to my mind when I saw the pic

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View Fishinbo's profile

Fishinbo

11301 posts in 866 days


#4 posted 04-25-2013 01:27 PM

Awesome burl stand! The art work deserves it. Great combination of wood and metal. Great job!

—www.sawblade.com

View Leonard5's profile

Leonard5

372 posts in 1383 days


#5 posted 07-26-2014 01:08 PM

Very cool

-- Leonard H.

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