Sunday, 3 June 2012

Mushroom one

I took a basic wood turning safety class last weekend and I'd been itching to give it a real go ever since.  As recommended by the class tutor, I picked up some inexpensive dimensional lumber to experiment with.

Here's my take on it:
  • Turning's a lot of fun.
  • It's hard to get a smooth surface and I didn't come close on the mushroom cap.
  • Wood gets amazingly smooth and shiny if you sand all the way from 120 grit to 1500 grit.  The lathe makes it easy to do so.  I used a palm sander with the lathe spinning to remove tool marks.
  • Getting started, it takes a long time to turn a piece.  This modest little mushroom took me four hours.
Technique-wise here's how I made the mushroom:
  • Turning between centres, I roughed out a piece of douglas fir (cheap dimensional lumber).
  • I turned most of the cap using spindle gouge and scraper.
  • Used the parting tool to make an incision below the cap.
  • Removed a lot of material around the stem.
  • Deepened the incision with the parting tool.
  • Repeat, shaping the stem with spindle gouges.
  • Used the parting tool to cut a tenon on the bottom of the stem.
  • Put the tenon in a chuck to turn the rest of the cap and smoothed as best I could using the scraper.
  • Sand 120 grit using palm sander.
  • Sand 220 grit.
  • Sand 300 grit.
  • Sand 400 grit.
  • Sand 600 grit.
  • Sand 800 grit.
  • Sand 1500 grit.
  • Applied some beeswax from a block and buffed with a rag.
  • Cut off the tenon with the band saw.  Don't do what I did and just try to hold the mushroom to the fence, make sure you put a sacrificial block under the stem of the movement of the saw will pull the stem down.
  • Sanded the base flat using the belt sander.  Ditto on using a sacrificial block.