Meaningful work

Not long after my last post, my uncle messaged me and said he wanted to buy one of my pieces, “you are the artist so you please choose” is what he said.  When pressed, he said that he would love a bowl for his dining room table.  I had a few pieces turned already, but for family that just won’t do.  I took a look at the stock I had out in the shop and nothing really jumped out at me… to the wood shed!!!  I found a really nice maple log from a tree felled in my own yard, and it was game on.

Two splitting wedges, a splitting axe and a five pound sledge later.  This is what a fifty pound maple log looks like.

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Four dead batteries later, I had the corners knocked off so it would fit on the lathe.  Maybe I should get a corded saw….

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Roughing out the outside, and prepping to core out the inside.

 

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I had developed a clear image in my head of what I wanted it to look like, I was trying to picture my uncle’s space and dining room table. (He sent me pictures after this was done, I was pretty spot on)  On to shaping the outside, and cleaning up the inside.  I wanted to keep the deep knots and character of the center of the wood, so I couldn’t thin the walls down too much.

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In the end, it was the largest and heaviest piece I have done so far.  It weighs almost five pounds.

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Once the butcher block conditioner went on and brought out the color and grain, I knew that I had found exactly what I wanted to in that giant log.

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I find that it is getting easier to turn pieces for the people I love.  Those that have followed my adventure with this art so far know that wasn’t always the case.  I love what I do, but doing what I love for the people I love gives it so much more meaning.  A part of me goes into the finished piece and stays with it forever.  May it grace your home with joy and happiness, Uncle Jeff, I love you!

I look back to a time when I could see something like this…Log

A big chunk of firewood.  I love a good fire as much as anyone, more maybe… and then I started to look at pieces of firewood like this one, and see this….

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Not long ago, a split like this would have had this piece in the cull bin, eventually being chalked up as a mistake or learning opportunity and burned in the same firepit it dodged once already.  Once.  This time, I pushed on.  Carefully, and hesitantly.

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I worked past the worst of the checks and knots, the flaws in the wood started to be its most amazing assets.

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What I found inside was worth the time and risks I took to find it.