Hi, Alan Stratton, from As Wood Turns dot
com. I’m here today with Russ Coker from Cascade
Woodturners. He’s going to do the project this week. And, what he’s going to do is — What
is this? It’s a fence post made into a vase.
Oh, looks great. So, that’s what you’re going to use?
Ya, this is a very dry piece of wood we get out of Cheyenne, Wyoming off my wife’s homestead.
It’s pretty gnarly. It is. What we have to do is evaluate this
and try to keep it all in one piece as we turn it. It’s healthier that way. What we’ll
do is work the wood into a neck, and then hollow it — drilling out the center. Then
after that we’ll clean it up a little bit. And, cut off the tenon.
Are you going to leave that nasty nail there? Eventually, it will come out.
Oh, okay. Well Russ, let’s make one of Russ’ fence post
vases. Let’s do it.
After mounting the fence post on the lathe between centers, Russ carefully examines the
wood. After a hundred years or more weathering on the Wyoming plains, the wood is full of
cracks and loose wood. He’s also looking for features that he’ll want to highlight in the
finished turning. Any loose wood receives first some thin CA glue then some medium CA
glue until it is firmly anchored. He does not have a detailed drawing — he’s going
to let the final shape emerge from the old gnarly fence post. A rubber glove helps keep
CA glue off his left hand. When ready, Russ is carefully positioning
the tool rest. The wood is far from round — it’s hard to guess just where the swing
is. He’s forming the neck and lip first. I expected him to start out with a really heavy
bowl gouge. But no, he pulled out a large skew. Why a skew? A skew will cut better and
leave a smoother surface. This is really scary as he approaches this wildly spinning hunk
of cedar. But, he’s very careful. His skew is sharp and heavy. He’s also careful to keep
the cutting point below the middle of the skew’s blade. There’s not much of a bevel
to ride, he’s cutting a lot of air. The ghost image at the top of the spinning wood is all
he has to go by. The neck is almost a large nasty `cove. How much to turn is a balance
between preserving the weathered surface and obtaining a clean flowing shape.
Some different sounds alert Russ to some loose wood. So, he stops and anchors it down with
more CA glue. With the neck partially formed, Russ needs
to drill the hole in the top of the vase, but as usual, that is easier said than done.
He has to first cut a tenon on the base of the vase so he can hold the wood in a 4 jaw
chuck. But the wood is so far from round that this is scary. First, he’s using a skew to
slice into the outermost edge. Then he uses a saw and chisel to remove the outermost waste
wood, then back to a skew. A bedan also helps. Now with the cedar securely mounted into his
chuck, Russ sets up to drill the hole. After just barely touching the end with the drill
bit a large chunk broke off. Time for some more CA glue. This time Russ adds some extra
insurance with a band clamp. Then to protect himself, he wraps the band clamp with tape
to secure the loose end. Now he can finish drilling the hole. After
drilling out what he can, he adds an extension to drill a little deeper. He stops when he
can see the hole thru a crack in the wood. Russ had just started forming the lip at the
top of the vase when that large chunk broke off again. Time for more CA glue.
Then finish just a little hollowing to flare out the hole.
Then bring up the tailstock again to stabilize the cedar. You cannot believe the sigh of
relief when the tailstock in back in place. Now Russ can finish forming the throat and
lip. Since Russ can see the hole through the cracks in the cedar, he cannot go any thinner.
But to my amazement, Russ pulls out a gouge for a little wood removal but still finishes
up with a skew. With the throat wood removed, Russ can bring
his tool rest closer to the bottom of the throat for some fine finishing. It’s still
pretty wild turning since the wood here is far from round.
After some sanding up to 240 grit — that’s enough for a rustic piece — Russ applies
boiled linseed oil thinned with paint thinner. He thins it so it will soak in better. This
goes on the rough natural surface. For the neck, Russ uses French polish for
more sheen. There’s still the tenon on the bottom to deal
with. Russ cuts this off on the band saw. He doesn’t care that it is not perfectly perpendicular.
In fact a little angle away from perpendicular is a plus.
Then Russ smooths off the base on a sanding disk he mounts to his lathe.
Well, Russ, looks like you finished it. I did, and it’s always a pleasure to have
a piece of work that you can recycle from a hundred year old fence post and it can set
nicely in somebody’s home. Thank you Russ, and we’ll see you again then
on another video. Thank you Alan.
This video, where a fellow local woodturner turns a project, was an experiment. Please
comment if you like this experiment and whether you would like to see more videos of other
woodturners on my channel. Meanwhile, please subscribe to both my website
and YouTube channel. Always wear your face shield. You can’t grab it just in time, that
does not work. Until next time, this is Alan Stratton from As Wood Turns dot com.