Guess who showed up last weekend? My missing muse! Of course she would show up during a time which I can not do any work or use my sketch pad. I think my muse is somewhat of a practical joker. She especially likes to get really creative and pours on the inspiration during shul on Shabbos morning (at synagogue, Saturday morning). I actually feel really guilty about this; people will see me shuckling (Yiddish expression which basically means swaying back and forth in your chair or while standing up) with an intense look on my face, and they think I am praying really hard. Actually, I am totally enraptured by an idea and I am intensely exploring the design and engineering aspects of it, whilst the rest of the world is blanked out. I am sure this is part of HaShem’s (G_d) way of punishing me for some past deed. Kind of like parading roasted chickens in front of a hungry man.
Well, it was not an overly long visit, but it was a visit none the less, and at least there are some lingering effects. So what was the big idea? A suspended vessel on legs! This is an artist piece, not ideally suited for chex mix. A month or so back, there was an article in the December issue of “American Woodturner” entitled “Suspended Forms” by Neil Scobie. The article was interesting and the photos of various suspended forms were amazing, but it did not really inspire me to make one. Well, a couple weeks later, my muse tapped me on the head with her wand and viola! Holy crap! I have a nice piece of dried spalted maple that I can use for a vessel and block of bloodwood for the legs! That would look great together! I’ll carve the rim of the vessel into to a large wave pattern and the legs can be all wavy etc…. The next thing I know, the old brain is off to the races.
Sunday morning, I pull out the chainsaw and start cutting away on the big spalted maple block. Wouldn’t you know, the whole block has checks (cracks) all through it. So much for that idea. So I decide to use Ash from a fresh log. I cut it down to size, mount it up on my lathe between spurs and lay out a nice shape. I have not had ANY luck turning end grain bowls or vessels using conventional gouges, so I decided to use my Lyle Jamieson boring bar to hollow out the vessel. (End grain vessels are where the grain runs straight through the piece from top to bottom, or picture it as the grain running parallel to the floor when on the lathe). The boring bar made easy work of the hollowing process, and then I was able to sever the piece from the waste block, now I need to do some reverse turning.
Now I need to search the house for a piece of leather so I can jam chuck the vessel and smooth out the bottom of the bowl. I’ll explain that process and the reason for the horizontal ridges in the next entry.
Until then, stay warm and stay inspired!