Saturday, March 31, 2012

Douglas Fir-a wood, not a person

Hi Everyone,

In my previous posting I mentioned a type of softwood called Douglas Fir. It's a soft wood, commonly used for framing, flooring, and cabinetry. It has a lovely orange color and the scent is heavenly--it really brings back memories of my childhood as several members of my family were involved in construction.

Anyway, I found some today at Siwek Lumber and decided to while away the afternoon turning a piece of it into a plate.

Here goes:

The wood is soft and since most of my faceplates are attached to other projects and can't be removed, I decided to attache the blank via my 4 jaw chuck and the center screw that is an accessory to this. See the photos:

The last photo shows the blank ready to be cut out on the bandsaw. Notice the hole in the center for the chuck. This surface will eventually become the top of the plate.

Here is a photo of the underside of the plate. You can see the foot in the center. Fir has the wild grain patterns and it also has a coarse texture. This makes tearing it very easy and lathe tools have to be very sharp to cut it and the lathe has to be spinning at least 800 rpm.

I flipped it over and began to hollow it out and it was difficult going. The coarseness is a real problem and there was a lot of tearing in the wood. The dark grain in the wood is harder than the adjoining light colored wood, so cutting and sanding leaves a wavy surface.  I had to re-shapen my bowl gouge to get past that but I still had a small amount of pitting left on the surface. I went on a head and sanded it and gave it a light coat of oil. Here are the finish photos:

This was an interesting exercise. Next time I'll sharpen my tools to razor sharp status before cutting. I'm not sure what I'll do with this plate--probably use it as a pattern.

Well, it's getting late and I need to figure out what to cook for dinner and I'm sure you do too. I'll see you again on Monday.

Have a good weekend,

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