Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jupiter – Latest from the Shop

I mentioned on Facebook this last weekend that I’d cut a bunch of turning blanks.

That’s them sitting on the floor in front of the wood cart.


On the left is a stack of four large birch pieces, for which I have something special in mind.

That ugly knobby irregular piece on the right is a large burl.  It’s green, i.e. still wet. Very heavy. And the grain, the part that I could see anyway, looked very interesting. 

So I thought I’d start with that piece.

I had to do a lot of initial rough turning to get down to solid wood, but I was right – it was interesting. Very.




The grain was extremely difficult to work. But after three days, this is what I ended up with:

Vase 1

 vase 3 Vase 4vase 6

The base is walnut.  I like the contrast, I think it enhances the appearance of the burl without distracting from it.

vase 5 

I named it Jupiter, because the grain reminds me of those huge swirling storms in Jove’s atmosphere.

 vase 8 vase 9

 vase 10 vase 11


Because this piece is so unusual, I haven’t yet decided if I will make it available for sale.  It may go to a gallery. We’ll see.  It has to dry for a while anyway.


I turned the rest of those pieces tonight, the lathe is nearly buried in swarf.  Unfortunately, I managed to snag the big Sorby scraper and bash myself pretty seriously across the knuckles of my bad hand.  It’s black and blue and yellow already, the swelling is fairly impressive, but I don’t think I actually broke anything. Hurts like the very dickens though. So both typing and turning are likely to be in short supply around here for the next of couple days.

It was worth it though.

Now, anybody see where I left the bottle of Motrin?


  1. I try not to swear too much so that when I do people understand what I'm trying to convey:

    Holy /CRAP/ that looks awesome. Out of curiosity, what are your overseas shipping rates? I have a parent's birthday coming up in a month or two...

  2. you are invited to follow my blog

  3. Dude! That's gorgeous! Perfect name for the piece too.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Jim, yet again: beautiful work. Really, really beautiful work.

  5. I'm curious, Steve Finnell, exactly what your comment has to do with the subject at hand or if you even read the post - or any other article here at Stonekettle Station for that matter. I strongly suspect that you have not, or you would have known better than to a) spam my comments section, and b) direct me, of all people, to read your Christian evangelical blog.

    There are clearly stated rules for commenting posted on the main page of Stonekettle Station. Go read them and don't pull this crap again.

  6. ::slack jawed::

    Amazing, Jim - that's one I'd drive down for to see up close.


  7. Yeah, I'd really love to find some more of that burl.

  8. Huh. I just realized how jaded I've become about Jim's work. Yeah, yeah, it's beautiful... AGAIN.

    Until I had nzforme's reaction today:
    "Holy crap!"

    It really is stunning, Jim.

    I'm super jealous, since I know I'll never own it because even if you did put it up for sale, it'll be too expensive. If you do (and I'm not sure you should) I'd seriously recommend an auction, because a) it's one of a kind and b) you really should get it for what it's worth.

  9. Jim,... that is one fantastic chunk of wood ya turned out there... Will it warp much when it dries?

  10. OK, new rule: please stop using the word "CRAP!"

    Thank you


    Larissa: it is saturated in oil, which should displace the water. I reapply oil every day for two weeks and keep the entire piece covered in loose plastic bags to control the speed of drying for at least a month. Hopefully that will keep it from cracking. Time will tell.

  11. Very nice! Do you have a gallery in mind? Did you bleed on it, creating a "Great Red Spot"?

  12. Well, I hope the drying works perfectly. A little warp could add character, I would cry for you if it cracked. It is truly an amazing piece...

  13. I bled a great red spot on the floor of the shop, John. Got a nice deep cut to go along with the smashed knuckles. I kicked sawdust over it, so ShopKat would stop sniffing around the puddle.

    Swelling is gone this morning, and I can move the fingers without too much more than the normal pain. Bruising is actually pretty faint compared to last night. Of course, I would have to smash the hand that already gives me nothing but pain and trouble. I think the universe hates me. ;)

  14. Jim, that is absolutely beautiful! And Jupiter is completely appropriate. Do you realize we don't insist that you suffer for your art? I don't think it needs that from you. Really.

    I was wondering if there would be some way of center-cutting that burl, so that you could have saved what looks like it could have been a very nice burl cone, in stead of turning it all to sawdust. It's a shame you had to do the burl that way.

    But damn, that piece is beautiful!

  15. Jim, you've created some lovely pieces, but this may very well be my favorite - it is absolutely stunning. And it is perfectly named.

    While I would love to buy it from you, I know that 1) I couldn't afford it and 2) I think it should be seen by as many people as possible - it really is a gorgeous piece of art.

    I think Anne's got the right idea: an auction would definitely net you what it's worth, but I think it would be great if it were shown in a gallery first for at least a month.

  16. OK, but I think "Holy Poop" sounds funny.

  17. I think it should be the Bear Claw of Jupiter since the one set of swirls & streaks looks very much like a bear claw.

  18. the wood looks as it feels, it's been thru a lot of hardships, Jim, You put your love and compassion in the works you have created to give the wood another new lease on life! I Applaud you, and your gift.

  19. Just out of curiosity, are you using flax seed oil (Linseed oil)?

    It's been quite some time since you posted this, curious if it dried ok or if it warped or cracked.

    Beautiful work Jim. I have a wood lathe that I play around with some but my brother was the artist when it came to lathe work.

  20. Dana, no. I use boiled linseed oil (BLO) mixed with CA Glue as a finish on pens, but I don't much care for Linseed oil as a finish on other things.

    This vase was repeated saturated in Walnut oil and then finished in several coats of natural Danish Oil. It dried very well, with no cracking and minimal distortion and no fading of the color. It's usually displayed in my office, though at the moment it's sitting in my drying cabinet in the shop.


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