Sunday, February 20, 2011

Desert Woodturing Roundup Day 3

 Today was the 3rd and final day of the 2011 Desert Woodturning Roundup.  There were 3 rotations (our term for a 90 minute demonstration).  2 before lunch and one after.  I spent the first hour of the morning, before the first rotation started, verifying that all the video equipment was setup and operating correctly.  I intended to attend Mike Mahoney's hollow form demo and did end up attending about 2/3rds of it but had to put out a few small fires here and there as they popped up.
I spent the rest of the day in Christian Burchard's room.  First at his 'Baskets and Gourds' demo and then at his 'Spheres and Spherical forms'.  I didn't know much about Christian prior to the DWR and now that I've seen him in action he's one of my favorite demonstators.  Unfortunately it seems he doesn't demonstrate very much, his last demonstration was the AAW convention held in Portland in 2007.  His work is almost exclusively Madrone Burl, it's turned green, turned thin, and the dried in the microwave to accelerate the drying process and to cause it to warp substantially.  Madrone is among the most unstable woods in the world and is known for extreme warping as it dries.  Christian emphasizes this in his work.
At the conclusion of his 'Baskets and Gourds' demonstration he had several inquiries about purchasing some of the finished pieces he had for use as examples.  I managed to purchase this piece from him for just $35.  A very fair price.  It's not very big, probably 2 1/2" diameter, just under the size of a baseball.  The texture of the piece is emphasized by sandblasting before the finish is applied, the pieces are never sanded.  This will be added to my small but growing collection.  My collection now includes pieces by J Paul Fennell, Christian Burchard, Al Stirt, Hans Finsterwalder, Molly Winton, Loren Fisher, and Brenda Behrens.
At the conclusion of the DWR he asked me if I'd ever turned green (wet) Madrone before and if I wanted some.  He'd shipped some extra pieces just in case something happened to one of his demo pieces.  His one condition is that it needs to be turned this week because one face on each block is not waxed and will start to dry and crack very quickly in this area.  Obviously I wasn't going to turn down such a generous offer.  He also included several glue blocks, the only way that he turns.  Now I have to figure out how to use the wood.  I don't want to copy his work (I may have to try 1 or 2) so I'm trying to think of something a little bit different, I'm leaning towards thin wall tubes, open at both ends.  Richard Raffan turns tubes and it's something that I've been wanting to try for a while, this may be the perfect opportunity.

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