Saturday, February 5, 2011

Clearing the backlog

I've made more shavings in the last 3 days than in the last 3 months put together.  I had a new student come over Thursday night, I think things went well, he's coming back on Monday.  We turned a small bowl out of Ornamental Yew, only about 8" diameter and 4" deep.  After he left I mounted a small piece my maple burl and turned it round.  It's about 2" diameter and 8" long.  This was a small piece I was able to break off where 2 cuts the previous owner made and were misaligned.

If this piece is any indication there's a ton of figure in the burl, I just have to get to it.

Friday evening I cut and mounted this piece of Mesquite Burl.  This is one half of the Mesquite Burl I got from Boyce Thompson Arboretum late last year.  I used my chainsaw to knock off the corners making it roughly round, about 18" diameter.

Because it's not a circle from point to point it's larger than 18".  I had to chip off some of the bark to get it to clear the bed.  My lathe can swing 20" diameter and this piece ended up with about 1/16" clearance.

The piece is mounted on a 3" aluminium faceplate with 8 #12 X 1.5" screws.  The tailstock is used for additional support and for safety.

 The outside was then roughed out.  There's quite a bit of figure here, not like the eyes of Maple Burl or Box Elder Burl, but clearly not just plain grain.

 I probably could have left this a little bigger but I wanted to get rid of most of the bark.  Some of the sapwood was left but I like the contrast.

I then removed the largest core.  It went reasonably well.  The surface has been moistened with water to enhance the figure.

 The roughout ended up at 17" diameter, slightly less than the 18" I was shooting for.  The core I removed is 14" diameter. 
 This morning I mounted up the 14" core I removed last night and proceeded to turn and core it.  I ended up with 4 pieces from this core, 5 total with the piece above.
Each piece is about 3" smaller than the last.  17" (not shown here), 14", 11", 8", and 5".

 Next I mounted and cored a piece of Olive.  This was a big piece, finished out at 17 1/2" diameter but as you can see from the pic below it has a typical defect for Olive.

Olive trees have a tendency to not be round, they end up growing lobes around the base which result in large voids in the piece.  I could have turned through the voids but then the piece would only be about 10" diameter and 2" deep.

Last I mounted the other half of the Mesquite Burl.  Also about 18" diameter.  A little bit of trimming and it was running very true.
This piece was a little rougher on the outside, it had several branches coming out and was quite a bit deeper than the other half, closer to 10" thick.  I started roughing but quickly determined that it was too deep for the largest diameter but I knew I didn't want to turn away all of that beautiful wood.  As I continued roughing the answer came to me.  I decided to try the technique I used the other day on the plates, coring in from the side rather than from the front.
I turned the bowls down so I had an idean where one would start and the other would end.  I was then able to core off the bottom of the blank and end up with 2 bowls with the maximum 17" diameter.  The core is removed and will be turned and cored in kind.

I ran out of time this evening.  Tomorrow I plan to rough and core the piece on the left.  It should yield 3 or 4 pieces.  I'll also need to spend an hour or 2 doing a cleanup.  The shavings have really started to pile up and I have my student coming back on Monday night.

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