The meeting began with a photo show of projects that had been made from a mixture of materials.
One member mentioned that two things sell in this area: including turquoise in cracks and things that have a shine or are glossy. He’d used different dyes to change colors. He’d also used melted pot metal, which hardens quickly. Tools dull quickly against the metal; he had to file the metal down to match the surface of the wood and sanded the project to finish it. He’d also tried including coins as an inlay in the bottom but they didn’t sell well.
Gloss or shininess catches people’s eyes. Also, the feel of an object gets a reaction as they test it for smoothness. A finish, such as poly, helps fill fine scratches. Some members sand to 320 grit.
In the recent AAW virtual symposium, Pat Carroll put pewter coins on 6 faces of his turned cube project. He drilled a hole in a waste block of wood with a forstner bit and poured molten pewter into the hole. After cooling, he hot glued the pewter ‘coin’ into the waste block to keep it from moving. He then mounted the waste block in a scroll chuck and turned the wood and pewter flat. After flattening he used a texturing tool to apply a pattern to the pewter coin. Finally, he turned away the waste block wood enough to remove the coin and glued the coin into each face of his cube project. Pewter is softer than pot metal and softer metals don’t cause tools to dull as quickly.
It’s easier to work on only one material. When two materials are next to each other, they can cause more difficulty when turning due to the different densities that can cause catches or cause the adjacent surfaces to be at different heights. This also applies to sanding across the interface of two different materials. Copper and wood next to each other can be turned best with a carbide tool and a light touch.
Specific woods don’t necessarily turn well in all situations. One example was that one oak/resin project turned well while a different oak/resin project did not. Hard and soft woods don’t always turn well together (example: segmented pieces).
One member said he’s a ‘copier’ and doesn’t feel that he’s creative so he ‘plagiarizes’ by making other projects that he’s seen. Another member pointed out that he’s actually learning from others and improving or making his own version of those ideas. We learn from others and try it. No two projects are ever quite the same.
One member showed a project he’d made with a zipper up the side of a hollowed vessel. He learned that it’s hard to find a zipper to fit the space. He used CA to put the zipper in the slot he made with an oscillating multitool. Harbor Freight has multitools with a thin blade that would work well to cut the slot.
Epoxy turns well. If using turquoise, lay it low in a groove so the turquoise is totally covered by epoxy then turn it down to expose the tops of the turquoise. This doesn’t dull the tools as much but still allows the color to show through. The same is true when using brass shavings. Lay it low in the groove and cover with resin then turn away the excess resin.
A slurry of TiteBond glue and wood shavings can fill a crack. Tape to the edge of the crack before applying the slurry.
One member shared his experience trying to turn wine corks embedded in resin. (Wine corks are good for sticking in a bottle…not so good for sticking in resin). He thought the resin would fill the pores of the corks in a pressure pot but the soft and non-porous cork cells were torn out when the gouge cut into them. He tried turning slow at 250 rpm and fast at 3000 rpm but the cork cells chipped out at all speeds as he turned them. He advised others should avoid turning cork.
Pine cones were also used with resin. It helps to hot glue the tips that would be turned away to hold them in place in the resin until it solidifies. It helped to dip them in shellac and hang them to dry for a few days before coating in resin. There would be a lot of bubbles without the pressure pot. There were still a few, that could be considered drops of sap. Tints in the resin help hide imperfections.
Rebecca DeGroot recently showed how to combine wood, a burl and resin to make an aquifer project on the AAW virtual symposium.
YouTube has many examples of ‘best results’ when working with resins and wood. It works well to precoat whatever is being embedded before covering it with resin. Then, it exposes resin to resin rather than resin to a ‘foreign object’ and helps minimize or eliminate bubbles.
A member showed a gnome ornament made with wood and fake fur. The fur wasn’t fun to glue on it. Another showed a segmented ring caddy and coaster finished with poly for a nice shine. A pen was shown made with Spectraply and flat plastic pieces.
One method of finishing with a nice shine on the lathe at a low speed: First, coat with a wax free shellac. Then, apply the first coat of a satin gel polyurethane (Klingspor?) wiped off with a paper towel. The final coat was then a gloss poly.
General Finishes brand ‘wood bowl finish’ is available locally at a small yellow building on the south side of the street near the intersection of 69 and 89. The finish is thick and has a glass-like glossy finished surface. Thick coats can be applied but it takes 12-24 hours between coats. It can be applied with a foam brush on the lathe at a slow speed to keep from dripping. This brand is not carried in big box stores, but is available at Artizan, Rockler and Amazon. Different brands of poly have different properties.
Other ideas for embedding objects in a turning project: guitar picks can be embedded in resin and are easy to turn since they are plastic. Could a photo be included? Concerns would be how to hold the photo, a possible chemical reaction between the photo and resin or the finish, and whether light would affect the photo over time. It would be difficult to replace a photo embedded under a layer of resin or any type of finish.
Doug Moore at Pohl Barn Productions has some YouTube videos showing different ways to use objects with resin, for example one where he uses brass bullet casings filled with different colors of resin. https://www.youtube.com/user/treerat6419 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHOzyVhiSdI.
Resins: Liquid Diamond brand doesn’t require a pressure pot. No one had experience with it. Resins advertised as ‘deep pour’ don’t usually require a pressure pot but you need to pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions because they may have different maximum depths of pour for best results, often not more than ½” at a time. No matter what is used, it should have a Shore D rating (an engineering term describing the hardness of the final product) of 80 or above. A quick video discussing resin epoxy and polyurethane (Alumalite) can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTxr4Z4mwj0. Working with resin is all trial and error. It takes 24 hours to solidify but cures in seven days. It takes time. Each project should be dated with a sharpie to keep track of those time intervals. A few sources are East Coast Resins and Resin Factory. Epoxy doesn’t make a smooth finish when applied on the top of a project; due to the flashpoint, it can leave brush strokes or bubbles.
Some woods are less compatible with others when turning more than one wood in a project. Paduak will streak when combined with white pine. Bloodwood bleeds into adjacent light woods and even more when finish is applied. Brazilian cherry and alder require sharpening tools a LOT more when used together.