Last weekend a friend turned up at my house with a log from a conifer tree. He had been helping another friend remove some trees from her garden and thought I’d like to have a sample to see if it was worth turning.
One immediate feature of this log I noticed was the heart (centre of the rings) was all the way over on one side. I believe this happens if a tree grows up against something. In any case it meant that I could split the logs down removing the heart, whilst retaining a large amount of the diameter of the log. I’m hoping that as some of the wood dries, this will prevent too much cracking.
However I also decided to turn something immediately whilst the wood was pretty wet still. And I decided the thing to try would be a long spindled ‘wine glass’ type shape
Obviously I started by roughing down a cylinder between centres, and forming a spigot on one end so that I could hold it in my 4 jaw chuck. I sketched in pencil a rough shape on the outside of the cylinder to get an idea of the dimensions I was going for. Then started shaping the exterior profile of the top.
You can see in this picture where I rough sketched the shape onto the cylinder.
Then I hollowed out the interior by ‘drilling’ to depth with my spindle gouge, and slowly widening out the hole to follow the contour of the external shape. I also had a lamp pointed at the side to help me see when it got thin enough to allow light through. I really was fun working with wet wood like this as the shavings all came off in great ribbons, and very little dust.
At this stage I sanded and sealed the top before starting to narrow the stem. Obviously once you start to narrow the stem the whole thing will begin to vibrate, so it’s important to work back in sections, sanding and finishing as you go to minimise problems from flexing occurring whilst you try to get a finished surface.
All in all it didn’t really take much time to produce. The wet wood cut easily and was really quite enjoyable to work with. It will of course distort as it dries, indeed it did so within a day of it’s completion. I hope it won’t form any cracks, but I guess it probably will around the thicker features.
I also quite like the wood, the grain is quite nice, it held detail and sharp lines well. I showed a picture of the finished item to the provider of the wood, and she promised more to follow to keep me well stocked. So that should be good. It will be interesting to see how the wood changes as it dries.