My father bought a few burls while on a trip to Oregon and brought them to my shop about 2 months ago. One of the burls was an odd “L” shaped piece of madrone. I cut the ends off to get a rectangular block leaving 2 burl caps to play with. Once I made the first slice at the bandsaw I noticed there were worm tracks throughout the block. Initially I was disappointed and apprehensive as I didn’t want a potential outbreak of bugs eating my lumber stash so moved the burls outside to monitor the worm activity.
A c0uple weeks later, I took the small burl caps and decided to turn one into a small 5″ vase and the other into a small spherical hollow form. I mounted a blank to a waste block in the chuck with hot melt glue and pressed it into place with the tail stock. Once the glue was cool and set I began the initial shaping of the outside form. The video shows my process for shaping the outside.
When I reached the desired shape of the form, I sanded through the grits starting with 150 grit and finishing with 600. Then I drilled a hole in the center to establish the depth of the form. I drew an image, seen below, though not the actual shape of the form I made, that shows the series of cuts to hollow the small vessel.
I start the cuts at the center of the edge of the drilled hole and pull the scraper/gouge toward the outside making single smooth cuts. As the form is hollowed further I switch to the bent hollowing tool and make push cuts in and toward the center. Hollowing is much different than bowl turning as you can’t typically see what you are doing and all the cuts are done by feel. Surprisingly, you can tell if there are ridges and bumps as the scraper will have some resistance as you level them out. The final cut should be made with a scraper from the opening to the bottom of the form.
The vase was similar only more simply made.
To finish the pieces I used a wipe on Danish Oil. The first coat was allowed to dry then sanded off completely and reapplied. This helps to fill the grain for a very smooth surface. Each subsequent coat was sanded with 600 grit and reapplied for a total of 5 coats. After the final coat had cured, I buffed the surface with a 5,000 grit automotive sanding pad to achieve a satin shine.
Though I am not finished working on these pieces one could call them done. I am going to further this project by preparing the insides for metal leaf, either copper or dutch metal (imitation gold). But that is a topic for another day.