Commemorative Platters/ Bowls/ Vases: Update 2

Well things have moved on since my last update. I went to collect my headstock from Preston and fitted back onto my lathe. The lathe is working perfectly and I have begun ‘rough-turning’ the pieces of green timber. It would have been quite dangerous to turn these pieces without having to control the speed that they turn at.

I created a number of truckles ranging from 14” to 20 “ and have mounted them on chucks and begun to rough-turn them. This means turning them into a shape that will approximate to what they may look like at the end of the process. The wood I am turning is ‘green’ and has a very high moisture content i.e 32%. It means when the piece begins to rotate at speed, centrifugal force throws water out and my face shield resembles a car windscreen in the rain! The good news is that turning ‘green’ is quite enjoyable as the turning tools create nice long spiral shavings . Once I have a platter / bowl  roughly in a shape that I want, I need to dry it out. Its starting off at 32% and I need to bring it down to about 10 – 11% before I make the final cuts. It would take years for these pieces to dry naturally, so I use a Wood Kiln converted from a Beko Freezer. With a 2” hole drilled in the base to allow air and a similar sized hole at the top acting as an exhaust. To get the air circulating I need to heat it up and I do this by the old incandescent light bulbs which can be still bought online. I have been using a 100watt bulb and this really gets things going. Although I could use the moisture meter to measure the drop in moisture content, it is not that accurate for thicker wood. The only solution is to weigh the roughly turned piece regularly, noting any weight  loss.

What I am looking for as the wood dries are  minute cracks which I will apply CA (superglue) to – it stops the crack developing. One thing that I cannot control though is the warping and deformation of the shape of the bowl as it dries out. This is the reason for rough turning and leaving sufficient ‘meat’ on the wood to get it back into a round shape.

So as it stands at the moment I have rough turned about bowls which are slowly drying.

On the fund raising side my wife and I have selected 9 charities that we would like to benefit from the sale of these crafted articles. They are:

i) Cancer Research UK – I have lost friends and family to this terrible disease over the years

ii) Oxfam

iii) Muscular Dystrophy UK – My young nephew Jamie died from this muscle wasting disease

iv) Lupus Research UK – Our son Matthew died from this disease in 1998, he was 11 years old

v) Alzheimers Research UK

vi) British Heart Foundation

vii) Donkey Sanctuary

viii) Severn Hospice – a local charity offering hospice care

ix) Cinnamon Trust – a charity that helps terminally ill people with the care of their pets

I have contacted the charities involved and have received very positive feedback and guidance. Although my efforts will not raise great sums of money, I feel I am contributing by making something that people will want to buy and thereby supporting these charities.

Below are some photos of what I have been talking about and I will keep you informed of my progress on and off the coast!

A truckle on the lathe ready to be turned
This is the completed base of the platter, the small hole in the centre is the mortice where the chuck will be attached when I turn the bowl around
The platter has been turned around and is ready for ‘scooping’ out the top of the platter
This is the completed ‘rough-turned’ platter ready to dry-out
My old Beko freezer, now a wood kiln. The incandescent light bulb can be seen at its base. The wooden boss sticking out of the bottom of the platters is simply to stop warping as the platter dries and are removed when the platter is ready for final turning
This is a rather tall wooden rough-turned vase that cannot fit into my kiln. Its so big I had to cut it in half to remove the inner wood. The glue line will be disguised when I do the final turning which could be awhile yet!
This is a 19.5″ rough-turned platter that is currently drying out in the Kiln, I have placed it against a large dinner plate to show how big it actually is
This will be my ‘burned in’ logo for all of the pieces that I craft for this project

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