Saturday, October 10, 2015

Branching Out

 Bowl making is still da bomb, but there are many other things that can be turned on the lathe, and I am beginning to explore them.
Here, for example, is a bird feeder that was more an exploration in techniques than an out-and-out project. How to chuck up the various pieces, making them fit together, assembling the parts in such a way that it will contain the bird seed, dispense it, and also be easy to fill. And it worked!

Since this was a discovery of protocols, one slight detail was overlooked. The roof does not overhang the seed tray. Oops. Ok, so it gets hung out of the weather. 

 Next comes wine bottle stoppers. I do not imbibe myself, but have many many friends who enjoy raising a glass or two. Chief among them is Judy Fazzini, who received this set, made from a burl I had around.

Shopping for the stoppers was a task. They come in lots of configurations, from chrome to cork to silicone to stainless steel. Each has its strengths and drawbacks, mostly relating to cost vs. durability. Stainless steel costs the most, and is the most durable. I'll take quality over cheap every time.

Last but by no means least is a stopper made from spalted maple. This is from a tree that our neighbor at the shop had cut down to make room for a garage. It was a huge tree, and he gave it to me, and I have been determined that none of it go to waste. So began an experiment in spalting.

Spalting is what makes the pretty black lines in the wood. It's the process of a fungus that invades the wood and creates the distinctive zone lines. It is also a first step in the decay and decomposition of wood. The next step after spalting is that the wood breaks down and becomes punky, or too soft to work with. The trick is to get the wood to spalt, but to catch it before it begins to rot. There is much guesswork involved, and I have to admit, I've been pretty lucky.