Friday, January 2, 2009

The Smell of Cedar

I have been working on some cedar bowls lately. The smell is attractive to some people but after awhile I get really tired of it. If you create some dust, it is real fine dust and it gets in everything including your nose. The shop is filled with it and between the dust, and the chips and the bowl itself, there is just a huge smell of cedar all in the shop. My dust collector is working overtime, but there is no getting rid of the smell.

The cedar bowl turned out pretty well I think. It had a bit of decay in the center of the log so the the top of the rim has a notch out of it. You have to be really careful when it is turning because the notch will catch the tool or the sandpaper or your hand and it can be dangerous. I have this image of me spinning around at about 800 rpm when the notch catches my hand. (I would hate to get the bed of the lathe messed up with chunks of me.)

I am also working on a walnut bowl for a friend. The wood comes from a log off the ancestral home over in west Georgia. The log had been lying out by the barn for many years and when I went to get it, it was really wet and heavy. All the sap wood which is softer than the center of the tree had rotted away and it took us a while to cut it into chunks. When I got it back to the shop and started cutting it up and splitting it, I barked my shin with the splitting wedge after it popped out of the log when I hit it with the sledge hammer. When I finally started turning a bowl, I found a nail buried deep inside the bowl blank. Any turner hates for that to happen. We spend a lot of time getting the tools sharp and they are expensive on top of that. You are just standing there blissfully turning away and you realize there is a strange ticking noise which should not be happening. That is a piece of metal that is fast dulling your chisel. I got the bowl rough cut and it was so wet that water was dripping from the bowl onto the bed of the lathe. It will take a while for that to dry.

Keep on turning.

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