Wednesday, 31 August 2011


My dry timber stock is running very low and timber is getting more and more expensive. Yesterday I ventured down to the local timber yard in search of something to top up my stock without hurting my own less than full wallet too much!
I had a rummage through their 'dry timber shed' and discovered three, four inch thick chunks of Acacia, air dried and been there for years as the wood yard guy told me. I asked for a price and he said £15 each, I didn't say anything for a bit and let him try to find me other stuff before I said " £30 for all 3?" He agreed and I took them away.
I took them over to the new, unfinished workshop, which houses the 'big'(not that big) bandsaw to process them. I got a good few turning blanks from it, these are on the left of the picture. Ten bowl/side grain blanks, the biggest of which is twelve inches wide and the smallest six inches, seven end grain four inch square by six inch long blanks, three eighteen inch long two inch squared spindle blanks and a few small bits for pens(I hate making pens but people do like to buy them!) Not bad for £30.......
The right hand side of the picture is the last of my four inch thick Elm stash! I'm pretty gutted about this coming to an end as English Elm is hard to come by and this came from a big tree(which you don't see any more) with nice 'big tree' grain patterning. Just six, five inch side grain blanks and six four inch square by six inch end grain ones and thats it :(
I have also acquired a large piece of Ekki which is really dense and my piece is difficult to lift! I don't know how it will turn and may regret getting it..............
What I really want is a supply of three or four inch thick dry Sycamore but I can only seem to find two inch!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Elm and Aluminium Hollow Form

I haven't made it out to the lathe for a good few days, the day job, family, and a fine test match performance by the England cricket team have kept me away!! Lukily(for my turning) today has been a very wet Tuesday in Norfolk and I found myself with an afternoon of no distractions in the shed, just me, a coffee, loud music and shavings!
I started out to make a small Elm hollow form which I wanted to carve and embellish to fit with my current series, but my plans for this were scuppered by finding an internal(to the blank) knot with holes and cracks........ Time for plan B!
I have been collecting up some of the shavings from the aluminium I have been using in recent work to use for something such as this. I turned the shape for the form and filled the holes with the aluminium shavings, packing them in as tightly as possible and soaking them with superglue. A quick sand with some 80 grit paper makes light work of bringing the surface of the aluminium into line with the rest of the form. After hollowing and sanding to a final finish, several coats of oil have been applied, allowed to soak in and buffed to bring the Elm up nice and dark and bring out those rich colours in the grain. A small amount of silver gilt cream has been rubbed into the surface to give a hint of silver in the open grain and a flush fit lid with an aluminium finial to tie in with the filler job and gilt cream. The form is 5" wide and was hollowed with the Keltons, which I am still massively impressed with!
I'm hoping to get some more turning time tomorrow, I have another piece in the 'dark' series under way and a few more ideas of things I want to try out!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011


Here is the third piece in my 'dark' series. This one is a part turned, part carved sculptural piece. As the title suggests its based on a claw, more to the point, this would be the claw of a nightmarish creature whose grip could not be escaped!
The shape is more or less based on half of a crabs pincer but with the long hooked slightly beyond round 'over-reach' of a velociraptor's claw. It also has three sharp aluminium spikes/spines along the back of the claw, I hope these make it look much more of a fearsome weapon!
The claw itself is made from Mahogany, this is for two reasons, the first is that I had some mahogany board laying around and am no great fan of it as a timber for turning! The second and most important reason is the open grain structure of Mahogany, this gives a nice visual texture to the otherwise smooth claw through the ebonising lacquer. Again a square white plinth seemed the right mount for the piece to sit on, it was never an intention to have the whole series sitting on these but now the first three pieces have them it may well be a recurring theme on further work of this series.