We all enjoyed a full-day with Rick Dobney who gave a clear step-by-step demonstration of two demonstrated pieces: a three-part hollow form and a multi-axis candlestick. The day was concluded with a novel way of mounting potentially large unbalanced pieces for multi-axis pieces using a homemade faceplate-vice-jig thingy.
Three-Part Hollow Form
For this demonstration Rick used a 4″ square, 6″ long sycamore spindle blank. The blank is held by drive and live steb centres and turned to round with tenons on both ends for mounting in 50mm jaws. The hollow form is created in three pieces as seen in the photo: upper and base pieces and a textured and coloured insert. In order to help keep the continuous shape of the form, the trick is to turn away the portion where the insert will be and to use a different piece of wood for the insert.
The rounded blank is parted into two pieces: an insert piece and an upper-base piece (which will be parted later into separate upper and base pieces).
Mount the upper-base piece in the chuck and turn a new tenon for (what will become) the upper piece. Create the desired shape of the entire piece and mark where the insert will be. Shape as much of the upper part as you can and leave a nice clean flat area around the tenon for chuck mounting.
Use a parting tool to cut out some of the waste where the insert will be (say a centimetre deep) and use a skew to clean the inner shoulders of the vacated area. Then part-off using a thin parting tool through the middle of the insert-waste material. We now have three pieces (insert, upper and base) all with a tenon for mounting on a chuck.
With the base still in the chuck, hollow out with a 1/2″ spindle gouge to leave a 12mm wall. Create a recess (3mm deep) for fitting the insert piece. The inside of the base is then cleaned up using a scraper, sanded and finished (if required).
Next mount the insert piece in the chuck. Create a tenon and test for fitting to the base piece (as you would for a box with a lid). Reduce the overall diameter of the insert piece so it is approximately 6mm smaller than the diameter of the base and upper parts. The insert surface is cleaned up with a skew ready for texturing and colouring.
Rick chose to texture the insert using a Arbortec 50mm small cutter in a Proxxon carver with the lathe running at 500 rpm. A texturing tool, pyrography, Dremel or Decorating Elf could also be used to decorate the insert. After sanding and sealer, Rick sprayed the insert with Chestnut Ebonising Lacquer and, after drying, applied a meagre amount of gilt cream.
The insert piece is partially hollowed using a spindle gouge: the final internal finishing is done when the insert is attached to the upper piece. A second tenon (to match the tenon for the base) is created for attaching the upper piece.
Now mount the upper piece and roughly hollow out using a spindle gouge.
Using a parting tool, carefully create a recess/mortice to match the tenon of the insert piece. Attach the insert to the upper piece with CA glue. We now have two pieces: a base and an upper-insert.
Now remount the base and refine the outer shape using a spindle gouge. A parting tool is used to remove some material from the bottom to give a clean edge ready for when the tenon is removed later.
Remount the upper-insert piece. Use a 1/4″ bowl gouge to hollow out. Since there is void between the insert and the upper piece, the waste will eventually just drop out. Now blend the join of the upper and insert pieces using a bowl gouge, and clean up with a negative rake scraper. Use a spindle gouge to create a central hole (see picture below). Sand and finish.
Now we prepare to join the base piece and the upper-insert piece: mark the pieces with a pencil to indicate where the grain directions will align. Mask the decorated insert with tape. Mount the base in a chuck. Use CA glue to join the base and upper-insert pieces; use the tailstock fitted with a cone and the centre mark on the tenon to help centre the base piece.
Wait for the glue to dry. Remount the whole piece using the base tenon and use the tailstock for support. Refine the shape using a spindle gouge. Remove the tailstock. Shape the neck and mouth of the hole, and clean up the hole with a spindle gouge. Sand.
To finish, Rick used Chestnut acrylic spray lacquer, followed by Chestnut microcrystalline wax. Leave for 20 minutes, then buff.
Reverse the piece onto a conical wood chuck lined with neoprene. Support with the tailstock and a cone centre.
Using gentle cuts, reduce the tenon on the bottom of the piece. Create a hollow in the base so the piece sits on its rim. Cut off any remaining nub with a saw and sand the bottom using a 50mm sanding pad held in a chuck. The piece is complete!
The process of making the Multi-Axis Candlestick is fully described in a downloadable handout provided by Rick so no further explanation is needed here. Here are a few photos:
Multi-Axis Faceplate-Vice-Jig Thingy
The jig holds the workpiece in adjustable vice-like jaws which are tightened by a high-load ratchet strap. The jig enables the workpiece to be held in any position relative to the spindle axis; therefore, allowing the piece to be turned on any axis. In the example piece seen below, there are multi-axis turnings on more than one face.
Anyone wishing to make such a jig is advised to contact Rick for further information as there are potential risks to personal safety if the jig is not made sufficiently robust.
Tip of the Day
Rick had a neat way to hold sandpaper strips: a simple board with a Velcro strip.