Some time ago I bought a block of spalted beech, mainly because it seemed fairly cheap and I was on a spending spree in a wood turning suppliers. But it was a slightly awkward shape and for some reason I decided that I would make a few things out of it by chopping it into a few pieces. the first piece was about 65mmx65mmx200mm
I then lost all inspiration for what I wanted to do with the block. I probably shouldn’t have cut anything until I had a firm plan in mind, but sometimes I go to my workshop and wind up just pottering, doing bits and pieces of different things whilst listening to a podcast. And so I cut the block with vague thoughts of doing a small hollow form, but nothing truly planned out.
Then along came my next woodturning magazine and it had a nice little hollowing project that fit the bill perfectly. This is the second time I’ve found a project in woodturning magazine that suited me perfectly, in both tools and material available to me. One of my biggest frustrations with the magazine is the number of projects that require some absurd array of tools or something particularly special that the average person can’t possibly have laying around. Planer thickenesers are a particular example, I’d like one but I have no room. Drum sanders being another which are required for similar purposes. I prefer examples which show clever ways to achieve what is necessary with basic tools and equipment. That said of course I scarcely notice the fact that pretty much everything is easier with a bandsaw now that I have one. Where as for the dark and terrible times pre-bandsaw, I was just as frustrated by the projects that were hard to even start because I had to hand saw wood into sensible blanks.
Anyhow, I set to work on this project which required you to get a basic exterior shape, then part the narrow neck section off. This then allows you to hollow the body through a relatively large hole, which you later glue the neck section back into, matching grain. In this way you can have a very narrow neck opening, and a pretty thin walled hollow form.
Here with the neck glued back on you can see that the join is hard to see, and the distinctive grain helps to disguise the connection.
Once the glue had dried I could shape the neck and use some groves to further disguise where the join is.
You can also see that I’m supporting the neck end with the rubbery end of a shuttlecock stuck onto a revolving centre, this then supports and doesn’t mark the wood.
Here it is with all the shaping finished and the support removed
Sadly, at this point, just as everything was going so well, I was parting the vase off at the base when disaster struck. I had worked too thin at the base, and the stress of parting off caused it to rip a small hole in the bottom of the vase. Revealing the base to be about 2 mm thick. As ever when these things happen I was not very happy. It seems that I spend more time recovering from the mistakes I’ve made than I do making successful things. ;-(
In this case I decided to turn a thin base, in the same contrasting wood that I was going to use for a stopper. I could then glue the base on and at least try to make it look like an intentional design rather than the cover up of a msitake. The slightly frustrating thing is that I know it will now look like I obviously hollowed through the bottom and covered that, rather than the more interesting method I actually used.
In any case the final piece looks pretty nice, and I really was happy with how it went up to that moment.