Segmented Turnings
September 24, 2006
Entry Details

# 410
Robert Martin
Picture Butte, AB
Dimensions (inches):  
  Width:   5
  Height:   12
  Depth:   10
Materials:   1/2" Baltic birch ply, 1/8" birch ply, and solid birch finished with 6 applications of Minwax Wipe on Poly gloss.  The piece was then buffed with tripoli to a gentle gloss, and then buffed with carnuba wax.  It feels to the touch like hi gloss porcylin.  It's title is " Earthen Vessel".

My two priorities were: 1) form,  2) an organic earthy look like pottery, and 3) a good blend of the features so as not to fight with the form.  The anomolies in the ply keep the eye moving around the piece making it a "non static" viewing experience

This view catches the vase top and bottom blending with the main body because of the way the light hits it.  The ply "discs" were purposely orientated so the pearlescence spirals up the vase with the segments.
Not long after this contest was announced, doing a Baltic birch ply turning started floating around in my brain, and as far as I can remember, I have not seen such a thing done before.  One reason for chosing birch multiply was because it is pre-dimensioned to 1/2" consistant thickness, because my shop has only a band saw, chop saw, drill press, and lathes.  This piece was built without the aid of jigs, disc sander, or lathe center steady, and was turned on a Delta Midi lathe.  The bottom was finished off on a larger lathe with variable speed so I could start it turning slowly.  The quick startup of the Midi lathe could snap the delicate spout off as it was driven from that end to clean up the bottom.

Rotated 90 degrees, the top and bottom now take on a gentle contrast, yet without breaking up the form.  When a deep penitrating finish is used on properly prepared birch it can achieve a patina that is almost halographic, and when one holds this piece in their hands and turns it around, the light plays on it to make it look different at different angles.

This view shows again how the light plays with this piece

Here is the progression of building up the segments.  The pictures should be self explanitory.  I made special zero clearance backing and base for my chopsaw.  The progression is: chop then glue, chop then glue etc.  Before gluing the last set of vertical segments in, I bandsawed out the rings each at a different angle so as to follow the outside form and give consistant wall thickness.  This piece was turned between centres so I had to "pre-hollow" it on the bandsaw.  I also designed my own strap clamps which in my opinion are far superior to hose clamps.  Unlike hoseclamps, the mechanism is entirely out of the circle, putting even pressure on the entire circle.  The strap that is used is replacable, and glue won't stick to it.  The mechanism is self contained and needs no tool to tighten up.

The segments are glued up in halves.  When the glue is set, the inside is cleaned up and given three coats of varnish.  The top is turned to it's inside dimensions, a small tennon turned into it, then the two halves, top and bottom are all glued together.  When dry, the piece is turned between centres driving from the bottom.

Judges Comments
JIm : What I like about this piece is the fluid lines and focus on good shape. The solid foot and neck provides just enough contract for me.
Malcolm : Great job with some very difficult material. The maker was able to use some very innovative techniques in order to overcome his lack of tools. This is a classy shape and it has a terrific finish, especially considering the surface is plywood. Not turning the inside probably resulted in a thicker wall and a heavier weight than we would normally like to see.
Mark : I like this one. Unconventional materials. Unconventional ring alignment. Well done long curves. Very Classical look to it. Almost delicate looking.

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