Turned Bowl with Ebony Rim

Turned Bowl with Ebony Rim

Posted in News |

Posted by  David J. Marks August 30, 2014 Unlike most turners who prefer to turn green wood (freshly cut wood that is still wet) I prefer to turn dry wood.  One reason is that I have collected a lot of highly figured and unusual wood during my thirty plus years of woodworking, most of which is dry now even if it was green when I purchased it.  But more importantly, I like to decorate my bowls, vessels, and wall sculptures with patina finishes and laminated rims, both of which require dry wood. Of course if you have green wood these techniques will work if you rough turn the piece, let it dry, and then put it back on the lathe to complete the turning. The process I will describe is fairly straightforward.  For the bowl blank I selected a highly figured piece of curly sycamore.  The sycamore is very light in color and contrasts nicely with the black gaboon ebony that I chose for the rim. I begin by rough cutting a block of sycamore eleven inches square from a two inch thick board.  I like to glue on a waste block so that I can screw a face plate to it.  You will need to flatten a three inch or four inch area in the center of the blank to get a secure bond.  Typically I will use a two inch thick piece of hardwood for my waste blocks.  After the material has been band sawn into a round and mounted on the lathe, you are ready to turn. Start out with the scraper and flatten an area approximately two inches wide around the outside perimeter.  Next resaw some ebony into strips ¼ inch thick by several inches wide and then drum sand them smooth.  Plexiglas makes great template stock because you can read the grain through it.  I have a dozen different sized Plexiglas templates I have made.  Use the template to layout the patterns on the ebony and then cut them out a little oversized on the band saw.  The disc sander works well to accurately grind the joint lines.  Using cyanoacryllate glue, I’ll glue and clamp one piece at a time.  The cyanoacryllate glue sets fast so then I can fit the next piece of ebony to it and continue working all the way around the perimeter. Once the glue has set, mount the piece back on the lathe and turn the outside with a 3/8 inch bowl gouge.  A parting tool works well to clean up and define the rim.  The bowl gouge can remove most of the inside of the bowl except where it is undercut at the shoulders.  For this, I like to use a 3/16 inch wide bit mounted in a boring bar that is used for hollowing.  Then use a round nose scraper tilted at 45 degrees and shear scrape. ...

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Working Out the Bugs

Posted in Double Bevel Marquetry, Woodworking |

The good folks at Popular Woodworking magazine invited me to do some demonstrations at the Woodworking in America show in Pasadena last October. One of my demos was on double bevel marquetry so I decided to make a small sample of something to show the people in my class. I decided to try and make a “bug”. Yellow heart made a great background color and I love the graphic qualities of the end grain of black palm wood from Indonesia so I used it for the main body. Ebony was my choice for the legs, Pernambuco for the eye with that amazing orange color, purpleheart for the face and a lapis substitute I purchased made from powder and resin for the head. The horn seemed to need something to make it stand out so I used a piece of 60 thousandths thick abalone shell that my good friend Larry Robinson gave to me. Abalone is very hard so when it was all glued up, I used a hardwood block and wrapped some 120 sandpaper over it to block sand and level the surface. After hand sanding to 600 grit, I applied Arm-R-Seal wiping varnish to the surface and using a rubber block, wet sanded it with 1000 grit. It really smoothed the surface and made the colors come out. My wife Victoria and I really enjoyed the show and I finally got to meet renown woodworker Roy Underhill for the first time. What a cool guy he is. My only regret is that I was too busy teaching to get much of a chance to walk around and see the rest of the show. So much great woodworking going on and not enough time to see it all. My  Double Bevel Marquetry DVD  explains the technique of creating pictures in wood step by step....

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