Shop Notes




Special Items 
    The following items I consider special either because they turned out exceptionally well or they required me to push the understanding of my hobby to its limits.  Each item includes a brief explanation.  Enjoy.  

    (The most recent additions are at the bottom of the page.)

    Mahogany & Bass Open Form
    Mahogany & Bass.jpg (52347 bytes)

    I am particularly proud of this segmented open form, because I completed not long after I began woodturning.  It remains one of my all-time favorites.  It is made from mahogany and bass veneer.  The blank was cut apart four separate times and bass veneer was glued between the cut pieces.  It was then mounted on the lathe and turned, sanded and finished with Minwax 209 and paste wax.  

    It is owned by a collector in Montana. 

    Mesquite with Raffia Bowl
    Mesquite w Raffia.jpg (66013 bytes)

    I really enjoy working with Mesquite.  It has wonderful color and figure and finishes well.  Unfortunately, Mesquite is not indigenous to the Gulf Coast region of Texas where I live.  Large, old-growth Mesquite is plentiful, however, in Central and West Texas and several woodturners in my club make regular trips to purchase pickup truck-load quantities and then resell it to club members.  

    This example includes a raffia wrap and is owned by a collector in California.  

    Mesquite with Natural Edge Large Bowl
    Lg Natural Edge Mesquite Bowl.jpg (69267 bytes)

    Here is another Mesquite piece.  This is an example of “natural edge” turning, where the original bark surface of the wood is retained (to better understand the natural edge process, click on this link, open the second item in the second row and look at the middle sketch.)  This bowl was a real challenge to turn because of size of the blank (26 inches in diameter) and weight (about 80 pounds).  This required the lathe to be operated at a slow speed, which made the cutting process harder and longer.  Additionally, the natural edge (the pieces sticking out in the picture) was uneven and difficult to judge in relation to my knuckles—I got smacked several times (ouch). 

    This beautiful bowl is also owned by a collector in Montana.  

    Spalted Oak "Hollow" Form
    Spalted Oak Hollow Form.jpg (139193 bytes)

    This is perhaps the most unusual item I have turned.  It is made from a piece of oak that had been attacked by carpenter ants—they devoured the inside of the tree and weakened it to the point where it blew over in a windstorm.  To visualize layout of the piece in relation to the log, click on this link, and open the first item in the second row and look at the sketch at the top of the page.

     I found the piece of wood at a landfill and saved it from becoming bark mulch!  It is finished with multiple coats of old-fashioned shellac and hand-rubbed to a semi-gloss luster.  I titled this piece “Life, Death and Rebirth” which seemed fitting since the tree had lived, died and was reborn again as a work of art. 

    It is in my personal permanent collection here in Texas. 

    Spalted Hickory Hollow Forms
    Spalted Hickory Hollow Forms.jpg (44802 bytes)

    Hickory, which is closely related to pecan, spalts beautifully. (Learn more about spalting by clicking on this link.)  This hickory was given to me by a co-worker at Shell prior to my retirement.  He had to remove the tree from his yard because it was growing too close to his house—lucky me!  I put the wood on my back patio next to some other logs that I suspected were in the early stages of spalting, exposed it to the elements and let it weather.  I waited (patiently) for about 8 to 9 months and then cut the end off one of the logs to check what was going on.  The spalting fungus was in “overdrive”—just what I had hoped for. 

    These pieces are owned by separate collectors here in Texas. 

    Poplar and Bradford Pear Platter
    Poplar & Bradford Pear.jpg (54236 bytes) This raised platter is constructed out of two woods—Poplar on the top and Bradford Pear on the bottom.  It also incorporates “pierce throughs” in the body to allow light to flow through the piece.  

    A Texas collector, who has obtained several of my works, owns the piece.

    Pecan Bowl with Four Veneers
    Pecan Bowl w 4 Veneers.jpg (73730 bytes)

    This is my most challenging piece to date.  It is a very large pecan bowl that incorporates four different varieties of veneer (walnut, mahogany, ebony and padauk).  The pattern of four veneers is repeated six times.  Painted hardwood dowels separate each section.  The pecan was acquired from a developer who had to remove the tree during a raze/rebuild project.  It is regrettable that the tree had to be cut down, but I am pleased that some of its wood will live on in the form of this elegant bowl. 

    The piece, titled “Fusion,” is part of my personal collection.

    Spalted Pecan Hollow Form with Metal Leaf and Patina
    Spalted Pecan Hollow Form w Metal Leaf-Patina.jpg (112084 bytes) This item is also made of pecan.  You may have noticed that pecan looks significantly different from one item to another.  Its coloration and texture depends on how quickly it is used after it is cut.  The sooner it is rough-turned, the more stable is its color and texture.  Pecan that has spalted can still retain some color and texture, or it can retain very little--as it has in this item.  With my current tools, this is about the deepest hollow form I can produce.  It is finished with gold and silver metal leaf and copper and gold metal patina 

    The piece is titled "Athens."  

    Large Silver Leaf Maple Hollow Form
    Lg Spalted Silver Leaf Maple HF.jpg (78143 bytes) A neighbor of mine cut a large limb off a Silver Leaf Maple tree.  Knowing that Maple that grows in this part of Texas has a fondness for rapid spalting, I acquired several pieces.

    Several coats of medium-thin Cynoacrilate glue serve as both surface binder and finish for this relatively soft wood.  


    Pecan and Cocobolo with Raffia Vessel
    Pecan-Cocobolo-Raffia Vessel.jpg (67780 bytes) I acquired the Pecan used in this item from a member of my local woodturning association.  He is one of the more dedicated club members and travels from Port Arthur, TX on a monthly basis to participate in our Houston-area club meetings.  He offered some recently cut Pecan to any club member willing to drive to Port Arthur to pick it up.  I was the only one to take him up on his offer and I loaded my Yukon XL full of this beautiful  wood.  

    This item was developed from one of the smaller pieces of wood I obtained (a limb, really).  Still awaiting development are several large (24" diameter) pieces.  I used Cocobolo to suspend the vessel above its base.  

    This item is entitled "T'Zi." 

    Carved and Dyed Hackberry Bowl
    I've been fascinated by the work of Andi Wolfe and this bowl pays homage to her.  The bowl has been carved and dyed and, for a small bowl, involved a lot of work, but the results were worth the effort.



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