Turned Bowl with Ebony Rim

Turned Bowl with Ebony Rim

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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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Drying Olive Wood for Turning

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Olive wood from California orchards is prone towards developing cracks and checks very easily.  It is a beautiful wood and it is stable once it has dried. Here is what has worked for me in dealing with olive wood for turning. I recommend that you have some Green Wood Sealer on hand. Anchorseal Green Wood Sealer I brush green wood sealer over the entire piece of olive wood, which means the ends (number 1 priority and it is best to double coat them) as well as the faces and sides. Keep the olive wood in a cool dark place for long term storage, away from the sun and the wind. I like to twice turn bowl, vessel blanks or any object that I turn from green wood.  Here is the procedure I follow: 1)  The first rough turning is to shape the object and get it down to a wall thickness somewhere between 1 inch to 1 and a half inches thick. As soon as I have completed the rough turning, I completely submerge the bowl or object in denatured alcohol. I have found that using a heavy duty contractors 3 mil garbage bag works well for conserving the amount of alcohol needed. Place the object in the bag and fill it with denatured alcohol (available at all hardware and paint supply stores for thinning shellac etc.) until the object is completely submerged, then close and secure the bag with a rubber band or spring clamp. Allow it to set for 24 hours. The alcohol will displace the bound water inside the cell walls of the wood. Take it out and place it upside down on a rack and let it drip dry for another day with a paper bag over it to block air movement. Look for the start of any checks and if you see any then apply CA glue (cyanoacrylate) over them right away. The CA glue will adhere to wet wood and stop the checks from progressing.   2)  To further prevent checks, I paint the object completely with green wood sealer again. This will slow down the drying process.  Usually the alcohol treatment will dry the rough turned object within 2 weeks which is great, and then you can remount the piece and do the final turning and sanding and finishing. Since olive wood likes to check and crack easily, I have found it is worth the extra effort to paint it with green wood sealer (after the alcohol treatment) so that it slows the drying process and helps to minimize any cracks. This can slow the alcohol drying process down to 1 or two months but it is worth it to prevent those darn cracks.  3)  Once the wood is dry (I use a moisture meter to check it and look for a 10 percent moisture content) then you can remount it on...

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Desert Woodturning Roundup Mesa, AZ 2013

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Last weekend I demonstrated at the Desert Woodturning Roundup in Mesa, Arizona. I had 6 rotations, 2 on combining metal with wood, 2 on gilding turned vessels and 2 on creating patinas on vessels. There was a great line up of Demonstrators : J. Paul Fennel who lives in Scottsdale and does some amazing pierced and carved hollow vessels. Richard Raffan from Australia who is one of the best known turners in the world with several books and videos that have won critical acclaim. Molly Winton who has earned her fine reputation for her surface embellishments of wood burning, carving, texturing, and coloring. Malcolm Tibbetts famous for his incredible segmented turnings that boggle the imagination and his book and numerous DVDs on the subject. Michael Hosaluk who is a member of Canada’s Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and is well known world wide for his incredible creativity not to mention turned and burned baseballs. Matt Monaco, a production turner (and fellow drummer) who lives in Arizona whose work is influenced by Mexican, Southwestern, and African cultures. John Lucas from Tennessee, who is well known for his turned hand mirrors, sculptural turnings, articles on wood turning, and photography. Here are some photos of the work I demonstrated. The instant Gallery had numerous works of art with a wide range of talent. Malcolm Tibbetts and I were asked to be available to give critiques to those who wanted them in the Instant Gallery. I want to personally thank Dale Gillaspy and the entire crew of volunteers from the Arizona Woodturners Association who worked really hard and did an excellent job of organizing this event. I will be teaching a 3 days hands on group class on Gilding & Chemical Patination at my school here in Santa Rosa, CA on August 16 – 18, 2013. For the class description and registration, go to the Classes Section of my website: Classes If you cannot make it to my Gilding & Chemical Patination Class, I do have a DVD that I sell from my estore at my website that gives step by step instructions on the process: Gilding & Chemical Patinations...

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