As many of you are aware, my turning experience is fraught with cracked wood. I lean, in my turnings, towards live-edge, natural, even whacky, results. There’s a kind of OOAK in such things that simply can’t be planned. It’s a reactionary process, really. Sometimes, the outcome is amazing. (See: Hibiscus Vase; Rose Fist, etc.)
So, I’ve done quite a bit of time studying videos and other turners’ work, filling my head with different notions of addressing cracks. In my efforts, I’ve filled them – my latest, Jacaranda Wing-ed Bowl (http://lumberjocks.com/projects/217122), bridged them – Pork Butt (http://lumberjocks.com/projects/189370), doweled them – Ficus Bowls (http://lumberjocks.com/MLWilson/blog/75194), etc. In all this, every time a crack needs to be dealt with, I spend way too much time thinking about what to do. My first inclination, it seems in almost every instance, is some kind of filling process. Unless, that is, the crack(s) present a structural issue, or go all the way through. Sometimes, I don’t know they go all the way through. Case in point: A very lovely little Peach bowl that I had used dowels on, to good effect, before hogging it out.
Well, sir, I left it in the chuck and filled that crack across the bottom with Envirotex Casting resin, unaware that the crack went all the way through. Well, sir, it got cemented to the chuck. I was able to pry it off. But the resin had cured in the chuck recess. So, unless I can devise a way to clean out the recess, I can’t remount it. I tried hard to slice off the cured drip, and, in the process, broke a bit of that lovely bark (it’s still attached, but only just).
So, I’ve pretty much given up on this one. For now. I have the second one in the chuck now. I’m set up to bore holes (this one has three cracks, and, I think, one goes all the way through). I spent much time on Sketchup, toying with several ways to place dowels. But, I’m all wanting to do something different with it.
So I start thinking about filling. No. I already did that (with this bowl – it used to be bigger). I tried coloring 5-min Epoxy with Acrylic paint. Now, you don’t have to. (Acrylic paint turns Epoxy into rubber. And the only way to remove it from a crack is to turn it out, thus making the piece smaller.)
Given my late penchant for eggshell thin turnings (again, http://lumberjocks.com/projects/217122), where I can achieve a translucent window-like effect with filler, I’m thinking I want to do some such with this Peach bowl. Only, instead of filling the crack with epoxy, or Epoxy/Quartz (very hard on the tools), I want to bore holes of various sizes, arranged in an attractive design and fill them with Resin. Colored Resin. Not just any colored Resin. What I’m dreaming about is something like a stained-glass window. I’ve watched several videos about coloring the Envirotex. But they all seem to simply tint the resin into a uniform, translucent, hue. People use food coloring, for lack of the expensive “casting resin dyes-and-whatnot.” Food coloring is inert, and has no effect on the Resin’s ability to cure, so it works well.
I want to bore out the “window” (made up of several, individual holes – five per crack, of which there are three – of different, overlapping sizes) and fill it with the Resin, and then drip one or more colors into it and swirl it around with a toothpick. The thing I don’t know is whether the coloring will remain in suspension in the Resin, or just dissipate. Also present in this scheme is the fact that I’ll have to bore a hole, fill it, color it, wait for the Resin to cure enough that I can turn it flush and bore the next, overlapping hole, and repeat, at least fifteen times. Envirotex takes 24 hours to harden, and as much as 72 to cure. And, I still have no idea how it’ll react to the steel on the spinning lathe – it could come right out of the hole; it could crack and shatter like glass (I don’t expect it to, inasmuch as it’s not glass, but a really hard plastic). I’m sure it should turn fine if I do the turning somewhere between hardening and curing, while it’s still, somewhat, pliable.
So, all this verbiage is a play at digging into your heads. A thing I enjoy doing, and have done to great success in the past (http://lumberjocks.com/MLWilson/blog/67610).
On that Blog, there was a comment from Don Rockbuster (my second[?] Buddy.) I just read it, and, enjoyed his humor. I quote:
“Lets See!! You could tie a dollar bill to it, set it out in the street, and hope that somebody would come by and steal both of them That way all of your problems would be solved. Easy way out. If memory serves me right, you seem to have a few car enthusiasts buddies that might like to have a really nice Shifter knob made out of it. For some reason, when I view it with the finish on it, it sorta reminds me of a Snails Shell Maybe it is time to learn another craft like carving, and try to incorporate it with this piece. Well! you did ask for some ideas eh.”
(If any of you have any recent information about that dear, sweet man, I’d like to hear it.)