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Monday, July 22, 2013

More Fun And Challenges

I have to apologize for today's (again) very lengthy post. It started with six pen blanks. Then I was not able to get them done in one day's time. So it dragged on for a couple of days. I need to start making fewer blanks at once I guess. Another option would be to photograph the blanks separately so I can post daily on just what I do. That would use up even more space though. So I'm torn on how to handle that little problem.
Anyway, while I figure that out, let's get to it shall we?
Here are the six blanks I mentioned. As usual though, there is more to the story on some of these.
The first one I made was the other cross grained spalted maple that my buddy had sent me. I think this one turned out to be an even bigger challenge than the first.
Next was the hedge apple with the sixty degree celtic knot of walnut.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself that you've already seen these recently, so why do them again, and show them again, so soon?
Remember that fancy box my friend sent me?
I had decided that I liked these two pens so much, that the reason I made them again so soon was, these are now my own personal pens.
Next up was the mulberry. The mulberry reminds me a lot of yellow heart. It is a beautiful wood, but is kind of plain without some kind of accent to it. So I added a square of ziricote to the center of the blank before turning.
Speaking of the similarities between yellow heart and mulberry, my friend had sent me this because he said that yellow heart I'd made such a fuss about recently looked a lot like mulberry to him. So here is a side by side comparison of the three yellowish woods. From left to right is mulberry, yellow heart, and hedge apple.
Andy is right, turned, the yellow heart and mulberry look almost identical. They look so much alike that I want to do some research soon as to what the differences are in these two woods, if any. They both look, turn, and smell the same. If I find out anything about this mystery, I'll be sure to report back.
In the meantime, Andy, I absolutely love the mulberry. Again, since I have never seen mulberry or yellow heart locally, it is a special treat to me to be able to work with these woods.
Next, I had noticed that I had several sixty degree knots in lighter woods, but none the opposite. So I decided to try one in jatoba, another wood I had never turned before.
It actually turned out beautifully, until I messed up. The front end of the pen looked a tad too plain to me compared to the rear with the celtic knot. So I got the bright idea of burning some lines.
The wire somehow caught, broke the wire, and messed up the pen.
This is what is left of the burn wire. I still have not found all of it after it violently slung across my shop. I am here to beg all of you wood turners who are holding wire with your fingers to burn lines, and I know this because I used to do it that way, please make some handles like you see in this photo. Yes, my wire is broken, but not my fingers. If I had been holding the wire wrapped around my fingers like I used to, I'd be lucky to have all ten of them right now.
The last two pens in the blank batch you've also seen before. I just decided to go ahead and get these two turned to get them off my bench.
The friend who sent me the cross grained spalted maple? He also sent me a piece of long grain. I decided I just couldn't wait to see how it turned out.
It turned out beautifully. Actually, I think this one may be a little nicer. It has a lighter color because I was able to turn it without completely saturating it in glue to hold it together.
That evening I decided to go see another friend of mine, Chips.
Chips gave me this piece of cherry burl. I was anxious to cut into this. I've never worked with any kind of burl in raw form. I know from reading that it's like a Christmas present. You never know what's inside until you cut into it.
So I wondered what I could find in this?
Well that didn't look at all like I expected. Then again, I'm not sure what I expected.
I like to be able to get five continuous inches of blank material when possible. I was not able to get that out of any of the burl pieces. So instead, I looked it over good and matched up two short length blanks the best I could.
Then, with all that careful matching, I had a major blowout and wound up having to flip one piece so the blown out area could be turned off the back end to shape the pen. I still think it turned out to be an extraordinary piece though. As I've said before, sometimes nature creates looks more beautiful than anything I could possibly glue up in a blank.
Last pen for this post, the same friend who had sent the box you seen earlier in this post, he sent me several pieces of wenge. This wood intrigued me. It varied from almost black to a chocolaty brown color. It looked beautiful, and I wanted to know what it would look like as a pen.
Hey! You can't win them all.
I do not like this pen at all. Believe it or not, it was a beautiful contrast in it that drew the eye in after sanding it to a smooth finish. Then I put a CA glue finish on it, and the lighter colors in the contrast turned almost as dark as the darker areas, leaving a pretty bland looking pen. I think I have enough of this for two more pens. I think I will try again at a later date, with a different finish than the CA glue I normally use.

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