When it Doesn't Fit Anywhere Else
More Wood Stories
In my never-ending quest to make something fun continually difficult (or challenging), I turned this bowl in a board of maple. Ok, so you made a carved out impression in the wood, so what you say? Well, take a look at the side view, and you can see the bottom of the bowl underneath the wide board surface.
I should note that the completed piece measures roughly 7" x 6", and has no finish other than the polished wood and a very light wax for protection. The challenge behind this type of turning is in the spinning rectangle, where a significant part of the piece's rotation on the lathe is nothing but air, leaving no support for the cutting tool. Needless to say it requires a delicate touch, otherwise the tool would slam back into the wood once it rotates back under the cutting edge.
Yesterday, I turned an interestingly-grained maple platter It has evidence of a branch extension running through the face that resembles a wave in the ocean, or a volcano erupting, depending on how you turn the piece. (stand on your head, turn your monitor upside down, or stop by to see the real thing)
My goal for this piece was to turn a very thin shallow platter. As the wood is turned thinner and thinner, it starts to sing, going higher in pitch - giving immediate measurement on the thickness as the cut proceeds to the center of the face. I'm pleased with the results. Again, no finish - just polished wood. It measures 9.5" in diameter.
You might also take note that a number of my pieces are done in a very nice maple. About 15 years ago I was riding my bike while we lived in Michigan, and decided to take a rest under a tree alongside the road. A farmer approached and we got talking about things. The discussion led to this marvelous maple tree that he was going to remove in a day or two. Well, there's an opportunity for some lumber in that tree. I helped him cut down the tree into lumber-sized logs, arranged for a local mill to pickup the find, and cut it into slabwood for me. A week in the kiln, and a run through a planer, and I ended up with over 400 board feet of Rock Maple, most of it slightly spalted.
This wood has moved with me from Michigan, to Chicago, back to Michigan, and to each of our homes in Indiana. Over the years it has provided material for a number of projects, many that I sold or gave away as gifts. These art pieces continue to remind me of that wonderful shade tree destined to be burned for farm acreage - objects of creativity that will continue to provide a refreshing place to pause for many years to come.
Sunday, November 30, 2003