Some serious figure

Share your latest creations -- photos, of course -- and explain your inspiration, techniques or hurdles overcome.

Some serious figure

Postby normcloutier » Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:11 pm

I had this spalted blank with a big crack that I decided to try turning down a bit last night. I worked on it a while and decided the figure was too amazing to just turn away.
I left it excessively thick and will let it dry more and try to seal the bottom crack with something to save the piece.

I think it's maple but it may not be.
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Re: Some serious figure

Postby marcbanka » Mon Jan 05, 2015 8:12 pm

Hey Norm,
Glad you're not letting the gorgeous wood go because of a crack. I see the cracks as a part of the character of the piece. I think Chris fills cracks with something specific. I use the fine shavings mixed with dye and water. Whatever flavor/color you find appropriate. Pack it in the crack and solidify the mess with CA glue. Just be sure to do the filling while you have more turning or sanding to do, to blend the fill.

However you handle the challenge, I hope it works out!
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Re: Some serious figure

Postby » Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:48 am

Marc is correct that I use fine rosewood dust to fill voids, saturated with thin CA. The rosewood dust reacts quickly with the CA to provide an extremely strong material that's permanent. And it often looks like a bark or spalted line or something natural in the wood. I learned this technique while at Arrowmont in the early 1990's from Al Stirt and Ray Key I believe, and it has saved a lot of pieces over the years, many of which I still have today.

Just keep a small block of rosewood in your shop and use a 60 or 100 grit spinning sanding disk on a drill to grill down some powder onto a piece of paper. It takes some effort and patience (and wear a dust mask or airstream helmet for sure), but then you can accumulate a pile of the rosewood sanding dust to put into a jar for future use when you need to pack and fill a crack or void. Pack the crack firmly, then apply thin CA to fully saturate the dust. The CA will react quickly with the rosewood dust to provide a solid fix. Then just finish the piece through final turning and sanding, reapplying more dust and CA to harden it up as needed if further voids are detected. Works great. Thanks for posting.

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Re: Some serious figure

Postby stephanmoll » Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:47 pm

Chris, those are VERY helpful detailed comments for a newcomer like me. Thank you very much. I had wondered how to fill in cracks. Where do you get "rosewood"? Marc, what is the purpose of using "dye" mixed with the shavings; and what kind of "dye" do you use? Very interested to hear/learn more. I'll try what I learned today on my 2 cracked pieces: the big sycamore piece (rough-turned; not dry yet) that has developed a huge crack (unclear to me why); the other one (river birch; dry) with smaller cracks (because the pith is included in the bowl).

How to best dry wood and turned bowls is another challenge for the newcomer - plenty of things to learn about drying.

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Re: Some serious figure

Postby » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:26 pm

Hi Stephen,

To answer your question regarding rosewood, I just bought a small block of rosewood and use a sanding disk to grind off some sawdust onto a piece of paper. I think it was rosewood from Honduras, or South America...pretty reddish color and dry. I accumulate enough rosewood dust/powder using a 60 grit sanding disk spinning on a hand-held drill to fill a small container, and keep it filled always for when I need it. Then when I want to fill in a crack, I just grab a pinch or two with my thumb and index finger. Then I saturate the crack area with thin super glue to get the rosewood dust to react and freeze. That seals the crack firm. This method works great with open bark areas or voids in the bowl you want to fill or harden-up. Good luck!

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Re: Some serious figure

Postby » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:33 pm

Stephen, I forgot to add that other hardwoods (in addition to Rosewood) are also pretty effective. For example, I have another small container of lighter color Maple dust for filling cracks or voids that need a lighter color fill. Rosewood is great for bark areas, spalted wood or dark wood, but not so great with lighter woods if it's going to stick out. You ultimately want your dust with fine superglue applied to blend into your bowl naturally. So, I have a few different colors of very fine sawdust in small containers for use in filling cracks or voids depending on the color of wood I'm working with.

Note though, Rosewood is the best at reacting and hardening permanently with the superglue and what I prefer most. For some reason Rosewood reacts super quickly when exposed to superglue.

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