Keep Turning,Designing & Creating

Like everything else, the more you turn, the better you get! There is an old story told about a famous South African golfer who achieved an unusually high amount of hole-in-ones. A reporter said to him something like; "Wow, you get so many hole-in-ones, you are so lucky!" His response was; "The more I practice, the luckier I get!" A little pithy, but so true!

Hence the title of this blog, keep turning, designing and creating. Keep at it, the more you practice the better you get! Luckily, this practice is rather fun and it does just get easier and easier. Everything becomes more fluid and good decisions more instinctive.

I generally start off with a chunk of wood that I have chainsawed and sometimes bandsawed into a workable shape. I then mount this onto the lathe and begin to turn it into a roughly rounded shape that is balanced and workable. #turning #designing #creating

Once in this format, you then get to assess the piece of wood and start making #DesignDecisions. Sometimes you have a fairly predictable piece that makes the design options really easy or obvious. Like this piece of #Ginko wood that I turned recently, clearly it was going to be a platter. There were no surprises inside and it turned into a very plain, for me, uninteresting flat wood platter without any real figuring or interesting marks in the wood. So, I had to make some #creative design decisions. As you can see from the pics below, I ended up ridging the wood to enable me to draw in spokes and color a pattern on the wood using archival india ink pens.

I am not sure that the platter is practical for food presentation, in spite of several layers of lacquer, but it is much prettier and can be used to display non-food items. It works for me!

Of course the bigger challenges are the unpredictable chunks of wood where you initially have to struggle to turn a large, uneven, unwieldy chunk of wood into a manageable form and then you have no idea what you are going to find inside once you get going.

This was a big lump of #SugarMaple wood. I have a really big lathe, it has a "swing" of 22 inches, this means that in theory you can mount a piece of wood close to that size on your lathe. In practice, certainly for me, just getting a piece of wood that big up onto the lathe is a challenge! But I got it there and with the help of physics and some wood blocks to hold things up. I got it safely mounted and ready to turn without any critical incidents!

This piece of wood presented many new challenges for me. I had never #turned Sugar Maple, a new experience and learning curve for me, as all wood has it own turning characteristics that one needs to learn. This was a piece of wood that had been lying about my workshop for a while, so it was fairly dry and had just begun some natural #spalting, which made it really interesting. I like to turn #WetWood. It is easier to turn and it makes nice manageable shavings without much dust, but I was ready to give this one a try. Unfortunately as I started to round it up it developed some significant cracks. Decision time, dump it or give it several squirts of super glue and see what happens. Of course I went with option 2! On the design decision side of things I wanted to maximize the size and shape of the wood so stuck with a simple big bowl shape. Nothing innovative, basically a more practical option to give me experience with turning Sugar Maple. I have a lot more of it in my wood pile, so I can get more #artistic with future pieces once I have more information and experience with this wood.

As you can see, it ended up as quite a pretty big bowl with some interesting wood figure, the crack fix worked well, but we will see how it holds up as the drying process continues. Of course I can always add some other interesting fixes should that become necessary, but we will wait and see what happens next!

Yesterday afternoon I picked up a small #AppleWood #Burl and mounted it on the lathe, I like to keep things varied and interesting! Short attention span??

Check back in a day or two to see how that one went!

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