With the recent addition of a Nova chuck to my wood lathe I have been on the look out for large pieces of good quality timber to cut in to turning blanks.
When I cut up all the scrap timber that was obstructing my yard i discovered a few large pieces of high quality mahogany that where once the fire proof doors and door frames from a school in Kilkeel they where renovating the school in the early 90's and have been lying in a old shed that the roof was collapsing in and for the last 6 years or so have been lying outside albeit slightly protected from the rain. The time is all between about 1 3/4" up to 2 1/2" thick and it is as hard as iron. it was coated with very good varnish some of which is still good as new.
I had cut a bowl blank from one of the planks and found that the wood was perfectly sound and only required a slight skim taken of to reach perfectly sound wood. I turned a base for a ornamental candle stick I'm making for my aunt, she was visiting on Sunday and had see some of my wood turning and said she would like a candle stick so i said i would make one for her as it would be a god project to test out my Nova chuck.
I cut a 7" blank from one of the 2" planks and it turned beautifully and the wood was perfectly sound for haveing lain out in the elements so long. The only problem was that while turning the base for my candle stick the tool rest gave up the ghost again and needs to be rebuilt.
So with no tool rest and a good day on my hands i decided to cut all of the planks up unto bowl blanks.
I checked all the pieces for nails and screws and chipped away and cement and plaster so as to give the saw a better chance.
I used the simple method of finding something round and drawing circles with pencil and the used the band saw to cut them out.
all the wedge shaped pieces where bagged up as they are still big enough to be cut up and used in other projects, seeing as the tree probably grew up in south America for over 100 year and arrived in this country about 60-70 years ago, the tree it came from deserves a bit of respect and I should try and use as much of it as possible.
The cutting was done on a band saw with a 6tpi blade fitted, the cutting took me all evening and the blade is now only fit to cut plywood and pine boards, but i have 24 bowl blanks of various sizes that should keep me busy for quite a while. This timber is as hard as iron and the band saw was struggling at times to cut some of the pieces as the direction of the gran changed as the curves where being cut, the blanks don't need to be perfect circles but try and make them as good as possible.
when cutting I rubbed a beeswax block on the blade every few cuts this helps the lubricate the blade
I will not go into the how to of using a band saw as if you are at the wood turning stage you should already have the skills to use a band saw safely
So for one evenings sawing I now have enough bowl blanks to keep me occupied for the next few months, I have been checking out the price of bowl blanks on eBay an i recon i have well over £100 worth if not more.
My Da is going to teach me how to do some inlaying and I will be showing him some new tricks too like CA glue and activator that he never would have had when he was doing his inlay work.
I still have one 2 1/2" plank that is just to thick for my saw to cope with and will require me to use the chainsaw to cut, this large piece has a few screws in and i will get one 8" X 2 1/2" blank and maybe a few more smaller ones as well.
I now find myself looking for pieces of timber that may have potential for turning every time i have to saw up logs and scrap timber.
Thanks for looking.
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