Sunday, June 24, 2012


European Olive (olea europaea) blank, roughly 11" X 6". Half dry and half green. This piece was cut back in December and was left outside unprotected.

Outside shaped and the hollowing started. It was slow going as the blank was extremely out of balance because of the voids and the variation in water content.

Hollowing mostly done. I was having a hard time getting into the outside corner so I gave up for the evening.

Hollowing complete and the initial sanding done. I've set it aside for the time being to dry out a bit before I resume the sanding and finishing process. I may still take one last cut (famous last words) on the bottom half as It's still a bit thicker and heavier than I'd like.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Next project

I think I found my next project. This is the useable portion of an Olive stump I got a couple weeks ago. I cut off the cracked portions and all of the various protrusions that Olive trees tend to get around the base. I plan to do a fairly large hollow form and expect 1 or 2 significant voids to remain.

This is an extreme example, but this type of growth is typical for Olive trees. It's uncommon to find one with a round or even oblong trunk; unlike most other trees.

Rough cut this piece is 11" diameter and 6" thick. If everything goes well I expect it to finish up about 10" x 5". Its about half dry, the stump was cut about 6 months ago and had been setting outside since. There would have been more useable wood but there was a deep chainsaw cut in the other half of the stump. With the other half being cut it only yielded a blank roughly 6" diameter and 4" thick.

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Sunday, June 10, 2012


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Friday, June 8, 2012

Challenge accepted.

Tonight I finished the Eucalyptus hollow form.  I put it back between centers and took another cut from the mid point up to the rim.  This helped reduce the weight but it's still not where I'd like it to be.  Unfortunately this wood is very dense so a ultra lightweight form isn't in the cards.

This is one of my favorite parts of the whole process.  The piece has been sanded and I've started to apply the first coat of oil.  Now is the first time I get to see what the final piece will actually look like.
Top view showing the fake opening.
Bottom view.  The hollowing was done through the bottom and was then plugged with another piece of the same blank.  The grooves on the bottom help disguise the joint.
Profile view.  The sapwood on this side is lighter colored, with much less red.  It also has some small voids and a fair amount of crystallized resin.  The voids are helpful to judge the wall thickness.
Finished piece in my photo booth.  The color here is pretty accurate, and it's all natural.  The oil finish is nothing more than Watco Danish Oil.  They make several varieties, including Walnut, Cherry, and Mahogany but I always opt for the "Natural" variety.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bottoming out

The President's Challenge for June is "Hollow Forms". Like most of the other challenges I've done I take the challenge part literally. I've done a bunch of hollow forms over the years but I've never done one that is hollowed from the bottom. Tonight I chucked up a chunk of figured Eucalyptus and went to work.

This is my progress so far. It doesn't look like I got much done but I'm actually mostly done. I may take one more pass on the outside to reduce the weight, other than that all I have left is the sanding, removing the nub from the bottom, and finishing.

I wanted the hole in the top to be impossibly small, it's about 3/8" on a form almost 5 1/2" across. I only know of 1 person that could possibly pull off hollowing this form through that opening, David Ellsworth. I might be able to do it through a hole about 5/8" but that's significantly larger than this hole (0.11 square inches vs 0.30 square inches).

Bottom view. I still have to remove the nub. Hollowing was done through a hole slightly over 1" diameter. Before I started I parted off the bottom of the form to maintain the best grain match possible. The joint will be hidden in a series of small grooves on the base.

The color should end up like the first photo once sanded and the oil finish has been applied.

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Saturday, June 2, 2012


It was a little over a month ago that I got word that the Mesa Republic wanted to do a feature on me and my work. Today that story was finally published.

The Mesa Republic is one of the local editions of the Arizona Republic.  It's published as an insert into the copies of the Arizona Republic that are distributed around Mesa.  Not only was the article featuring me published today it was teased on the front cover of the Mesa Republic section.  Not really teased, this image took up about 2/3 of the front cover of the section.  That was a major surprise to me.

Here's the rest of the article.  Again roughly 2/3 of the page (the section is printed as 1/2 the height of a normal newspaper).  I'm very happy with the article bit except that it doesn't include any of my contact information.  No email, phone number, website, blog address.  Fortunately I think that you can find me fairly easily via google if you use the correct search terms.  We'll see if this results in any more web traffic or sales.