Thursday, February 14, 2013

What a Week its Been

Yes for both of us we have had a busy week all sorts happening, with some time out also.

I spent many hours/days trying to get a decent internal sanded finish on a Tassie Blackwood Ginger Jar I am making with Black Hearted Sassafras lid .

The Blackwood was given to me by Pat Keefe some time ago, 3 years I think. It sat on the shelf looking at me often waiting for the right time and inspiration. I had an idea of shape and design that was to change dramatically.

While working away at another project I noticed a small amount of very fine dust on the shelf and some strange marks in the cambian layer of the Blackwood.

Pests and diseases
Acacia melanoxylon trees are highly susceptible to attack by Lorantheceous parasites and the fungus Armillaria mellea. .

Woodworm was my problem

This was not good.

First line of attack was a large garbage bag sprayed heavily with a can of Pest control spray even though the whole house has been sprayed a few times and the timber storage area. This was left outdoors for some weeks.

Next step a drowning in soapy water solution for about a week or more, then after a few days draining, a twenty minute session in the microwave which we share in the garage for dyeing and drying. 

In using the Microwave process I weigh up the size, weight, density and type of timber for temperature and length of time. I however always do the session in increments opening the door and checking periodically. I then left it for a few days before mounting it on a false tenon.

The original design due to worm holes, dry rot and cambian layer crumberling was not going to happen. During turning I had to change plans three times. 

I had to use some interesting tools for gouging out and turning the internal shape (photos of tools to come)

 Views of all 4 sides, colour change and the grain.

With the Sassafras Lid fitted a very tight push fit.

In the photos on the right you can see remnants of the worm holes.

There was lots of sanding to do with this vessel especially internal.
I had to come up with something cheap and fast as reaching the bottom with fingers was just possible.

I purchased these all from Bunnings with my Christmas Birthday gift vouchers (plus a few other things) as can be seen I only used the battery drill and course grit and the hand held system. 
This I rested on the tool rest while working in an arc and flattening the bottom and smoothing the sides much as you would scrap.

Danish oil applied externally while Walnut Oil internally being its to be used for food (Ginger) awaiting drying before final finish. That will be a few weeks yet. I'll post a final photo here then.


  1. You have done a great job there Ray. looks really nice piece of timber. The worm holes add character to it and has a story to tell.

  2. Thanks John. Those worm hole are just a reminder of nature at work.

  3. Great looking bowl Ray. As you point out, when working with timber you never quite know the end result until you arrive there. Cheers Geoff.

  4. Thanks Geoff I still have a final finish to put on it yet. Lots of other things have taken precedent.


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