Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Three Sisters Project-Surface Prep

Hello Again Everyone,

Well, I did a whole mess of housework today and as a reward to myself I decided to do a little work in the workshop. I've done some preliminary sanding on the plates and here are the photos and comments about sanding.

First of all, I really hate sanding. It's boring and it makes a huge mess in the shop:

But it is very necessary and something that has to be done. I try to turn as smooth a surface as possible and most of the time I succeed. But some woods are hard to turn and in the case of the cumaru plate in the photo, the curvature of the surface and the interlocking grain make achieving a very smooth surface with a turning chisel rather difficult. So I got out my trusty hand drill and a 3" circular sanding disc and went to town on the plate:

The cumaru plate has special challenges-the interlocking grain and the corners. When the plate is spinning on the lathe I can't see the corners clearly. They look like shadows and with the curve on the inside of the plate extending all the way to the corners, it's difficult to know if the sanding paper is making contact with the wood. So I take a piece of chalk and color in the corners so when it's spinning I can see the surface:

I turned on the lathe and ran it up to 600 rpm and started sanding, first with a 100 grit wheel and then with a 180 grit wheel and that got most of the deep scratching off the surface, but not quite all of it. So I turned off the lathe and locked so it wouldn't move and sanding it while the plate was stationary. This got off the rest of the scratching and left a smooth surface.

Here is a photo of the plate. I've wiped it down with mineral spirits so you can see what it will look like when it's done:

The color in this is really rich and beautiful. Cumaru wood is always worth the effort.

The walnut plate bothered me quite a bit. I didn't like the inside rim that I turned on it the other day and so I decided to remove it:

My intent in turning the plate in this manner was to take advantage of the chocolaty character that walnut seems to have. Turned wooden items made from black walnut have a certain warm, undefinable quality to them that makes you want to pick them up and run your hands over the surface.  I was trying to emphasize that in this turning and I felt that interior rim detracted from that. So off it came. Here's a photo about 5 minutes later:

I think it looks better this way. And so I sanded it for a few minutes and then wiped it down with mineral spirits and this is what it looked like:

Lastly the white ash plate-this happy fellow doesn't require a lot of heavy sanding or re-shaping. I've sanding this up to 180 grit at this point and wiped it down also with mineral spirits and here is the color of this plate:

Now all of these plates are going to need more sanding up to 400 grit before we get down to oiling them. The walnut and ash plates can be completed on the lathe. The cumaru plate will have to be hand sanded to completion as doing that on the lathe could be dangerous.

I'll keep sanding away and post photos early next week.

Have a good weekend.


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