Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Purple Heart Tea Box, continued

Hi Everyone,

I'm back in the shop and it's time to hollow out the tea box and the next 3 photos show it progressively emptying out:

The last photo shows a common problem in turning wood--the end grain. Wood fibers look like a big stack of soda straws. Cutting across those "soda straws" can leave the wood fibers torn and shaggy, like a man who hasn't shaved in a couple of days. Since the fibers are small they tend to bend when sanding and it can be really difficult to sand all of those fibers down. In light colored woods, end grain problems are not too visible but in darker woods like walnut, cherry, and purple heart end grain fuzziness shows up like a neon sign. So you have to be very careful to sand off and smooth the end grain in dark woods.

Which brings us back to scraper tools. These tools are designed to smooth down the grain and they do a good job and so I'm going to use the scrapers I showed you yesterday to smooth down the inside and outside of our box:

The rounded end of this tool is designed to smooth down interior, concave surfaces and this one worked very well. I didn't manage to get rid of all the fuzziness but I did get rid of about 95% of it. The alternative to this tool is to slowly sand down the surface while it spins on the lathe and this can take forever. Sometimes I look like a Greek statue standing there, covered with wood dust, sanding, sanding....

Here is a photo after several minutes of scraping. There is still some fuzziness and that will have to be sanded off but at least I don't have to spend a ton of time doing it. And you can clearly see the cool purple color of the box.

I'm going to set the box portion of the project aside for now and begin working on the lid. This is going to be made out of hickory with a finial on the top and I'll begin that tomorrow.

Woo Hoo!! The hickory bowl is finished! I thought I'd never write those words. Here are photos:

It's finished with oil and wax and it sure is pretty. I have a little work to do on the bottom and then I'll be done with it. What an amazing journey that was.

It's time for me to stop and go make dinner and for you to go get a cup of coffee and relax this afternoon. Join me tomorrow and I'll show you how to construct a box lid.

Thanks for dropping by the wood shop,

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