Our top 6 Wood Turning Insights

After learning to make things predictably flat and square, we’ve turned (bad pun) to making things round. There are a few things we’ve learned from our turning experiences. We figured  they are worth sharing for new turners like us — listed below.

  • Ride the bevel
  • Stay Sharp
  • Chucking
  • Build vs. Buy
  • Free Wood

It’s surprising how quickly things can go wrong on a lathe. One moment you have a happily spinning bowl. The next, it’s exploded off the lathe, pieces ricocheting off your face shield, bouncing off the ceiling, and scaring the bejeebers out of the dog . While there’s always a reason for which work comes apart, the reasons aren’t always obvious ahead of time — particularly to beginning turners. ALWAYS wear safety gear. read more

Green Wood Blues Take 1

Something we have learned from working with wood over the past year is that working wood takes time. That may seem odd, but there’s a cadence and a rhythm in making things with wood that one ignores at one’s peril. Instant gratification is not an option.

Recently, we have started working with green (freshly harvested, unseasoned) wood. This is a departure from the more-or-less-straight-and-flat, kiln dried wood, that we were using previously. Even with that, rushing things is not advisable. It’s unsafe. Both the wood and oneself need to relax. read more

The Magic in Spalted Wood

A while ago, we encountered a piece of spalted maple. It was beautiful. It had a bunch of squiggly black lines, some of which enclosed blocks of color. It was really pretty. Never having really encountered it before we were in awe. A new kind of wood? Was spalted maple like birds eye maple, or quilted maple, fiddle back maple — what was it?!? We had to find out more.

Where quilting, birds eye, and fiddle back, are attributes of wood grain and how the tree grew, spalting (spoiling), is actually wood rot. It’s a fungal infection, the early stages of decay. It’s what comes before you have a brittle or pulpy useless mush. It’s what happens when fungi start to break down a once majestic tree to re-integrate it into the earth. Whoa?!? read more