Thursday, 28 July 2011

Kelton Hollowers

After a six week wait my set of 5/8" shaft Kelton hollowers arrived(I had to wait for some to come into the country). With the hectic way my life is currently it has taken me another week to try them out!!
Wow, these things are fantastic, my captured bar hollowing rig loves them! I'm easily halving the time it takes to hollow a vessel with these as they cut away the excess wood so quickly and effortlessly and leave a decent finish from light finishing passes. All this is easily done through a hole of less than an inch across. They are easily the least 'fancy' looking hollowing tools I have tried and by far my favourite to date!
The piece pictured to the right of this text was the first thing I have hollowed with them, a fairly basic shape
made from a piece of fairly rotten Elm(well half rotten, the lighter half in the pic!). I was so impressed with the hollowers I put another 'better' piece of Elm on the lathe to make a wider, flatter form to test how the Keltons could reach far into awkward corners. Using my captured bar rig I could only reach within half an inch of the desired thickness right at the shoulder, so I put the most curved hollower in a tool handle from one of those expensive hollowing tools and could easily reach all the way. The best bit about this was that they work as a handled tool just as easily as they do in the rig.
This second form was turned side grain as the Elm has such a wonderful stripe to it in this orientation. The lid is a piece of ebonised Beech and the finial is turned from 6mm diameter aluminium bar.
The bottom line here is I wish I had the Keltons right from the start, I have four other specialist hollowing tools, two of which were pretty expensive and in my very humble opinion they don't hold a candle to these beauties.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Dark Of Heart

Dark of heart is the second piece in what I'm planning to do as a series based on the ideas in the post below.
This one is a bit darker in thought, it is representative of the darkness that lives within a corner of all our hearts, the monster within, anger, hatred, etc.
The 'monster' has a large mouth filled with spike teeth to bite into its victim, its body is covered with backward pointing spikes so
that once its bit in to its victim its not coming out!! A nasty piece of work indeed! We try to not listen to it, pretend its not there and keep it down inside but its always lurking deep inside.....
The form itself is ebonised Elm, I used Elm as I wanted to have the open grain as texture on the monsters 'skin', it has 32 individual aluminium spikes, 22 on the outside and 10 inside as teeth.
Its a bit more sculptural than much of my usual fare but was a lot of fun to think up, design and produce.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Monochromatic Dreams

This represents one of those sudden changes in direction in my work that come rushing into my mind now and then, maybe I've been working with Elm and soft natural looking curves for a bit too long recently and my creative subconscious has given me a kick up the backside with thoughts of angular shapes,shiny metal, black, white, a more contemporary/futuristic style and a sculptural feel......
The idea of adding metals to my
work has been fed by the 'Brass Finial' series and the thoughts of high contrast satin black with shiny silver in a darker, spiky, almost industrial way seem very appealing at the moment.
This first piece based on these ideas was formed entirely in my mind and not on paper, hence the title 'Monochromatic Dreams'.
The 'bowl' section is ebonised Beech, there are nine polished aluminium spikes and it sits on a square of Mahogany coloured with white acrylic paint.

Last in the Brass Finial Series.

This is the last piece in the current 'Brass Finial' series. For this piece I decided to explore a different angle of presentation. It ties in with previous footless/pointy end pieces I have made but they have all rested either in a cradled way such as the 'pod' in this blogs banner or been held in position with a hidden weight inside and no stand/base whatsoever. I tried out a few different shaped bases but settled on a flattened cube shape,I cut this from a cracked and holed piece of Oak to give the base a solid but rustic look, this is to tie in with the slightly rotten Elm the form itself is made from. I hope the base gives a 'bold' look to the whole piece.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

3rd in a series.

This is the third Elm form with a brass finial in what is turning out to be a 'series' of pieces along those same lines.
I would like to think that this one represents a refinement of the design of the previous two and will try to give an explanation of the thoughts behind the design of the piece .
I have made this piece slightly more curved in form and must admit to being very happy with the overall shape of it. The finial is slightly simpler than the previous ones as on reflection I felt it being made of something as bright as the brass it would be better being simple and elegant rather than having too many shapes in the design. The 'lid' has also
been produced to be a flush fit rather than a lid that appears to sit on the form, this once again I hope simplifies the appearance of the form and gives more elegance and flow to it. A textured band around the top adds a bit of contrast and the gold accents on it tie in with the brass finial. The finial itself has been turned,sanded,finished to a shine with wire wool and finally treated with two coats of satin lacquer to give the 'brushed' appearance seen in the close up opposite.
The piece also features a bit of an experiment to make the grain stand out more but I need to try it out a few more times before revealing what it is.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


I've not had much turning time in the last couple of weeks and when I have managed to get a bit of time I've been messing up! I don't know why this happens but every now and then I have a week or so where everything I touch turns to...... well you know, the brown stuff! Luckily it always passes(no pun intended) and I can feel things starting to go right again! I often wonder if others get these little phases?
Anyway, after destroying a piece that had taken a lot of time on and off yesterday I decided to
make something simpler or at least more straight forward so produced a couple of lidded forms.
The first one (top right) is 6" tall
with a 3" brass finial, the brass was 'different' to turn, I have made bullet shaped legs for bowls in the past but this was the first proper turning I have done with it. You know when you get the cut right as you make really long curly shavings of brass, most satisfying! The lid is made from a small piece of Bocote I have left over from the knobs a few posts down.
For the second one I decided a black form would look great with the gorgeous Bocote and shiny brass finial. This form is a bit smaller at 4" with a 1 3/4 " finial. Mostly I'm just pleased to be making things that are coming out as intended again!