Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Latest from the shop

Just so you don't all think I've been wasting my off-line time, here's this week's work from the wood shop.

First, a stoppered closed form - technically I guess you could call it an urn, and I suppose if you wanted to store somebody's ashes in there you could. Yuk.

Urn 1

Urn 3

I actually started this piece when Beastly was still here and finally got around to finishing it. It's made from Alaskan Birch burl and Hawaiian Bubinga wood, with inlayed copper and finished in Tung oil and spar varnish. I did this to experiment with turning technique. Each piece was turned separately, glued together, then the whole urn was finish turned as a single piece. It's about eighteen inches tall and very heavy.

This next piece was a royal pain. It's a piece of Alaskan Birch burl and getting it balanced on the lathe just about killed me. However, I really, really like the irregular look and natural edged rim.

Burl Bowl 2

Burl Bowl - Detail 2

Note: the second, detailed picture is true color. I was having some issues with flash and lighting and didn't realize that I had some settings wrong - then I didn't feel like re-shooting the first picture, so just suck it up.

Pain that it was, it was worth it, because the piece came out incredibly beautiful. I inlayed flaws in the wood with turquoise and copper and then finished it with Danish oil and thick crystal epoxy clear coat. This is a fairly large and heavy piece, about 14 inches across the long axis.

And last, a knife and stand:

Knife and Stand 1

The knife is similar to one I did previously, except in this case I added an inlaid Alaskan State Quarter to the handle as a maker's mark. The coin is covered in a crystal epoxy, smooth with the surface of the handle. The handle itself is Alaskan Birch burr, with a blade guard of African Purpleheart. The whole thing was hand carved and finished in a marine grade acrylic. While the knife is intended as a display piece, it is fully functional as a salmon filet blade. The stand is carved from birch burl and intended to resemble a waterfall. It's highlighted with turquoise, copper, silver, gold, and lapis. There are a number of carved red salmon around the base, decorated with red and silver metal fleck which resembles fish scales. The whole thing is coated in high-gloss sprayed spar varnish so that under light it appears to be wet.

All of these are reserved and not for sale.

And now if you'll excuse me for a while, I've got a couple more projects that need attention.


  1. ACK! It's OCTOBER! How did that HAPPEN! Ack! Ack!

    I wanted a bowl for my Dad for Christmas! Is it too late? Am I doomed?


  2. Not at all, I've got a number of pieces available and there's time to make something specific if you desire.

    I've had a number of requests for christmas gifts. I will get a post up this week with everything that I have currently in inventory, with prices and etc. Also, it occurs to me that Anne? asked about a piece a while back and I set it aside and promptly forgot about it (this is happening to me more and more often lately, please don't feel singled out). So Anne (if that was you) please ping me here in the comment section if you're still interested. If it wasn't Anne, well, ping me anyway.


  3. Ooooo ..... aaaaahhh... :D

    I really like that bowl.

  4. Beautiful work there. You have an amazing talent for bringing out the hidden features of the wood.

  5. That urn is really, really gorgeous.

  6. Whew!


    On your Flickr set I like the looks of #53 and #49.

    They both look like they'd survive my Dad' desk. :)

    So something like those.

  7. Michelle, I have pieces that are very similar to both of those, but better. I'll get pictures up in tomorrow's post.

  8. Wow, amazing work again. That knife stand looks like the kind of thing you could pick a new detail on every time you look at it.

    Did you get those magazines that I sent?

  9. I may post new pictures of the knife stand, because the picture in this post simply doesn't do it justice. You're right, Matt, that every time you look at it you see something new.

    If it's sunny today (yeah, fat chance), I'll take a couple of pictures of it outside in the sunlight. The pieces that I carved it from are wild surface burl, and the grain and veining are simply amazing. One of the reasons I'm reluctant to post pictures of my work is that the visceral feel of the wood and the pieces overall simply does not come through in a picture. There's so much more to the pieces than what you see in low res blog posts. In the knife stand for example you simply don't see the flow of the overall piece, the highlights, the glitter of the gold, copper, and silver embedded in the finish that gives it the look of flowing water, or the red scaly metallic glint of the fish. You can't get a feel for size or heft, weight and dimension.

    I never know what the final piece will look like until it's finished, it's a zen like thing when I'm turning or sculpting and then when I'm done I'm often amazed at my own work.

    And I did get the magazines you sent, and I honestly meant to send you an email thanking you, and I just plain forgot. One of the problems I'm having with retirement, is that I seem to be losing my sense of time and urgency. Sorry about that, and thanks, I enjoyed them at great deal.

  10. Not a problem, I just wanted to make sure you got them. Glad you liked them.

  11. Wow, that's some pretty stuff Jim. The only thing I seem capable of making from wood is kindling.

  12. Well, Basil, considering the current conditions here in Alaska, I'd say making kindling is probably the more useful skill ;)

  13. Yes, it was me. I don't remember the number of the one set aside, but I asked for that one for my mum and I asked for one to be made for myself. Obviously, I'm willing to wait a reeeeally long time for my own, but as Michelle pointed out, Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat.

    So, sending me the reserved one would be a fine stopgap measure.

    OK, now I have to go find the numerical references.

  14. I know which one it was - and I've got it set aside.

    Give me a numerical reference for the one you want made please. Thanks, Anne, for your patience.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. MF!!

    Wrong brackets...

    My requested numbers are in the comments section of this post. They reference other posts, but in a nutshell, I asked for one like #45 to be made (as #45 is sold) and for #55, which was set aside prior to Market Day.

    From this post, a promise:
    "Anne, I've pulled the piece you requested and put it aside, and I'll get started on making the other piece you requested next week."
    Uh huh. ;)

    Seriously though, Jim. I know you're a busy guy. No worries.

    [crosses fingers before hitting "publish"]

  17. Well, I am busy, but this kind of thing happens not because of business, but because I'm becoming increasingly scatterbrained. It bothers me in some vague way, honestly.

    Be that as it may, #55 is set aside (and has been since Market Day) and I will begin the one you requested right now. Today. Immediately.

    Anybody else? Janiece, you're covered, either way. Ewan, if you're still out there, I have not forgotten the coffee press you asked about, I needed to find some specific wood for that project, but I do have all the pieces now and I'll get it done ASAP.

    Pictures of available pieces will be up later today, as promised up-comment stream. It just takes forever to load them and the project fills me with a big case of the blahs. But, for you all, I will do it - because I love you. Oh, yes, I do.


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