Off topic, but not really - experiments in wood turning


My stepfather, Bob, is a very talented woodworker. He has made musical instruments, lovely wood turned bowls, and many other pieces. Lately, he's been spending a lot of time on making pens on the lathe. While I was in Philly a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get a quick tutorial on this process. 

We used a small piece of buckeye burl, which has a mix of gray and blue-ish threads running through it. The woodturning process smooths and polishes the wood down so that you end up seeing the natural detail in the wood much more than you do looking at the raw materials. 

Buckeye burl, in a much larger format. Source.

This video shows a bit of the process, starting with the wood in two blocks, and gradually smoothing it down with chisels. Once the shape is achieved, you switch to progressive grades of sandpaper to get it mirror smooth. Pardon my nosy questions in the background of the video.
video

And here's the finished piece, sanded, lacquered and drying - look at how beautiful the wood looks after being smoothed down! The last step in this process is adding the pen hardware. 


I'm so grateful that there are a million different tools and techniques to make stuff, in the world. I'm never, ever going to run out of new stuff to learn about and try. 

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