May 20

Fire Pretty!

Yes, okay, I admit it, having a propane torch is a constant temptation after you’ve seen a shou sugi ban video on youtube 😀

You really do need the safey kit for this one though, and to stop before you light up and vacuum up the cubic foot of shavings that are all over the lathe and everywhere else. Small fires in an 8×6 shed that has several litres of various different solvents don’t happen. Large infernos, on the other hand, are something worth avoiding 😀

The nice people at The Carpentry Store gave me a few blanks when I bought my lathe from them “to get going on with” (thanks Patrick if you read this, that lathe’s been a load of fun) and one of those was an ash bowl blank about 6″x2″.

Ash is a hateful chippy wood when dry I’ve found, I don’t know where all these stories come from about it being pleasant to work. I suppose it’s a different animal when air-dried or when green, but when kiln-dried it’s like a Jacobs cream cracker. But it does have a lovely white colour combined with a nice open grain, so…

I finally found dovetail faceplate rings for my chuck (the viper 2 stuff from charnwood fits the xact 2 chuck) and mounted the blank that way. There’s a nice bowl shape I’ve had in my head for a while where the rim is basically a 45 degree bevel down from the flat top to the curved bottom, and I tried to get that shape here but missed. But I got it to a nice enough shape, turned a recess, ran up through the grits from 80 to 320, sealed it from the foot to the lip, and then used some yorkshire grit to polish and carnuba wax to finish.

Then I reversed the bowl, trued up the surface a bit, then cut a shallow chunk out of where the dish would be, and then I got out the propane torch (not the MAP torch, apparently that burns too hot).

And of course, vacuumed up and cleaned up the wood dust and shavings at this point, before lighting the torch and then burning the beveled part of the rim. Took my time here, burning lightly in a lot of quick passes until I had a fully charred look, then I took a steel brush to the wood in the direction of the grain (happy accident this, I wanted to use a brass brush but couldn’t find mine). The steel gave a sort-of-sandblasted look to everything which is nice, if subtle. Wiped everything up with kitchen paper (this bowl used a lot of kitchen paper), then burned it all again, and then cleaned it with kitchen paper and 320 grit sandpaper. Got it smooth and clean, then sealed it with two coats of cellulose sealer, and then put on a glove and rubbed gold buff-it as embellishing wax directly into the grain on the rim, and then removed the excess with kitchen paper and 320 grit paper, then put a final coat of sealer over the top of all of that.

Then I got out the bowl gouge again, and cut out the inside dish of the bowl, though by the bottom I was having to switch over to the half-round scraper because the bowl gouge’s bevel wasn’t steep enough for the turn I was trying to make. Then sanded up through the grits and then sealed the inner dish, then yorkshire grit over the whole top half (inner dish first, then the rim because I thought I could pull soot into the pores otherwise). And then carnuba wax all over, and then two coats of spray lacquer from a can. Which of course, I got a drip on with the last coat, so I may need to finish that properly later.

But overall, I’m not too unhappy with this, even if the shape isn’t exactly what I wanted:

I have no idea what you’d use it for mind 😀
I just had this idea in my head to try a few ebonising methods after that bowl I stained a week or two back, and this was next on the list (and I like the gold-in-black look from the embellishing wax, though I think silver would work even better. I must get some later and try it).

The next method though, should be even more interesting, but that’s a few days or so away yet…

May 19


Adding the hinges actually worked this time. I have no idea why. I morticed them the same way I usually do, though I did take more time with the fitting to the lid and setting up for workholding with shims and such. I still think I have particularly cheap hardware to work with though – one set of Brusso hinges probably costs more than my entire little stock of hinges and hardware. And I think they’re all too shiny as well; a 17thC style oak box should have black or at most bronze hardware; and really a forged or cast iron set would be ideal. But this is faux-17thC so I can get away with blue murder 😀

Honestly, they’re garish. But they’re all I have and the deadline for delivery was over a week ago – the baby this is intended to hold blankets for was born ten days ago now. One of these days I’ll get these projects done on time or convince someone to delay a deadline for once 😀

They’re not as jarring from the front, happily. But they still clash with the other ironware.

I really need to use a stay on these I think, but I don’t have one to hand. I foresee a small spending spree in the near future…

But for now, this project is done. Faux-17thC carved oak box with oak lid and ash base, finished with a simple coat of boiled linseed oil. Sized to hold mothercare cellular blankets that have been folded while you’re half-dead from exhaustion dealing with a newborn and two older siblings.

Even herself was impressed, so it must look okay 😀

Next up, cleaning down the last few bits remaining from this build, and then back to the inlay and decoration work for Calum’s desk/shelf unit. Primary school starts this autumn, so I only have a few months and at the rate I’m getting to the shed these days, that’s a tight deadline 😀

original plans

May 19

Getting closer…

Slightly busy day so not as much time in the shed as you’d like (which is, obviously, all of the time). But I did get the glued-up panel for the base cleaned up, marked out with the base so I could scribe the inside and outside of the walls to let the nail pilot holes be marked. Trimmed the base to size, drilled the pilot holes, shaped the edges with a simple roundover using a #05 to hog out most of the waste and a #04 to smooth a bit (and then some sandpaper and a block plane to break edges).

The hinges still have to be done, but I did get some BLO on there…

Tomorrow, hinges…