Friday, June 1, 2012

Part II Final Shaping and Sanding

I am always glad to make it to the sanding stage of a project. Specifically to the wood lathe if I've made it this far I've successfully evaded the spectre of tearout, the arch-nemesis of the wood turner. Dull tool edge  or aggressive cutting can overcome the ability of the wood to shear cleanly and large chunks of wood are torn loose by the tool. 

This tropical hardwood is very challenging to turn.  The wood has a course open grain similar to Oak which while tough, unfortunately splinters easily.  Arriving at the final shape takes time as the design is constantly under refinement. Even during this project an unexpected tearout caused me to have to re-envision the entire middle section of the spindle. 

The last steel to touch the wood is a skew chisel.  All of the saucer shaped features and deep angular cuts were created with the skew chisel.  This tool is the workhorse of intricate classical turnings.  While only a gouge with it's fingernail shaped cutting edge can hollow out the internal radius of a cove it's the skew chisel's flat, sharp edge that is indispensable in smoothing out the ball shape of a radius.

I dry sand with 220 grit and 400 grit until introducing pure olive oil to the finishing process.  After a period of 400 grit wet sanding I dry the piece and sand with 600 grit paper.  I'll let the olive oil absorb for a day or two before moving to the next finer paper.

 The following pictures show the awesome color of the wood once exposed to olive oil.

More turning, olive oil and 660 grit wet/dry paper to come.  So relaxing!

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