I added pics of two olivewood projects I finished back in the Fall for Santina. One is an olivewood bowl (see also my previous post–I meant to create a page but I was working on my ipad instead of my desktop so it ended up being a post instead). The other is an olivewood peppermill.
Olivewood is a nice wood to work with, though with its own challenges. It is very wet. I mean VERY WET. Most exotic woods are sold green (wet) and coated in wax. As a wood turner you would scrape off the wax and then rough turn the piece to the desired rough shape. Then you would let the piece dry and only then would you turn it to the final shape and finish it. The drying process can take months, especially for a wet wood like olivewood. How wet is olivewood? Well, when I turned the green pieces of olivewood to make the bowl and peppermill, I had a constant spray of water coming off the piece as I shaped it on the lathe! But olivewood does cut smoothly and is pretty close-grained. It also has beautiful figure. Plus the garage (where my shop is) smelled like olive oil for a while afterward! 🙂
I do have another bowl-sized piece of olivewood, so there will be another olivewood project in my future!
I’ve posted some pics of some woodworking projects. I actually finished these a while ago (the box and bowl were Christmas presents that I actually finished before last Christmas). Spring is pretty hectic with Jonah’s baseball schedule (among other stuff), so I’m finally getting around to posting pics of the following:
A box for my uncle Richard
A walnut bowl for my aunt Bea
Some sharpening jigs I made a while ago
A rack for my lathe tools
My latest woodworking update: 2 pieces for my wonderful wife, Santina. The first is a vessel/bowl made from claro walnut burl. The second is a box (with lid) made from big leaf maple burl. Burls are pretty cool. As long as you’re careful when turning (there are more than a few cracks/gaps in burls), the swirling grain patterns are worth it. Here are two pictures–or go directly to the walnut vessel or the maple box.
For my birthday last year, Jonah and Dylan gave me some pieces of wood (which they picked themselves) with the stipulation that I make bowls for them. Here is the result.
Dylan’s bowl is on the left and Jonah’s bowl is on the right. Dylan found a use for his bowl in his kitchen…as a bed for his monkey:
Since I’ve been posting a lot of woodworking updates, I thought I’d post a poem I wrote about wood. Actually, it’s a list poem, so the names of the woods themselves form the bulk of the poem. It’s best read aloud, but then again, most poetry is.
Let me start with cocobolo,
heft some rosewood,
jobillo, ebony—macassar and gaboon.
Let me smell the pungent walnut
released after deep boring.
Stand back for western red cedar,
for bloodwood, for paduak.
Ironwood, lignum vitae, hornbeam—
all too heavy for me.
From holly to poplar to sycamore to oak,
some sound like they belong.
Others—iroko, ipe, lyptus—
must be from far-off lands.
Try the exotics, the tropical woods.
Come back briefly
for big leaf maple burl,
always end with
I made another peppermill for my dad (another belated birthday present), this time out of bocote. That’s pronounced either “bow-coat-ee” or “buh-coat-ee”. It’s a good wood for turning, being close-grained, though it is pretty hard. But look at the grain! And “bocote” is fun to say. Maybe not as much fun as “cocobolo” or “bubinga,” but still more exciting than “oak.” 🙂
During one of my wood-buying trips to Woodcraft, I bought a piece of sycamore, not knowing what I’d do with it. I ended up turning a bowl, and gave it to Santina–she has it in her office at work now.
Just a word about sycamore–it’s related to maple, but isn’t as close-grained. That means there’s a lot of tear-out when turning end grain, which you do twice per revolution on a bowl. For those non-woodworkers out there, that means the turned bowl has some very rough spots on it, which need quite a bit of sanding. Then I put the water-based finish on, only water will raise the grain of many woods. That is, getting sanded wood wet will cause the wood to swell a bit along the grain pattern and the wood won’t be smooth! The result is…more sanding! Sanding is probably a woodworker’s least favorite activity. At any rate, much sanding was needed in between coats of finish before this bowl was as smooth as I wanted. The final result is:
I’ve uploaded pics of a walnut peppermill and salt shaker I made for our friends Bruce and Laurie. Click here for the page with pics.
No chalice from the palace or flagon with the dragon. Instead I made an olivewood pestle, though my father-in-law has the vessels it goes with. He inherited a couple of olivewood mortars a while ago, so I decided I’d turn an olivewood pestle for him. Here’s a small pic (or go here).
I’ve uploaded pics of another “recent” woodworking project: a satinwood bowl for my mom.