Woodturning - Clifford Heath

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Here are a few items I've made with my cheapo Chinese wood lathe. Sorry about the red colour and the grainy texture, I used a poor camera and film.

Click to enlarge (106K).

The candle-sticks, the smallest bowl, and the cheese-platter are of Australian Blackwood gathered from my brother-in-law's and a friend's properties, of which I also have enough planks milled and dried to make a fine dining table. The cheese-platter was finished by a friction-drive I made, so it has no screw holes anywhere.

The salad bowl is of Silky Oak (Grevillea Robusta), a "shrub" that grows over 100 feet (30 metres). It has a woven grain like Oak, but much more open.

The mug is Elm, which still grows in Australia (the Dutch Elm disease has wiped it out almost everywhere else, including New Zealand - not to be confused with the Dutch Elm Leaf Beetle, which apart from spreading the disease is relatively harmless). Fantastic timber, almost unsplittable, turns beautifully. Wish I could get more...

The medium bowl is unknown, something like Elm but much harder. Both it and the Elm came from street trees that were chopped down because they were unhealthy.

Finally, my prize, the Black Wattle nut bowl in the foreground. This timber is almost impossible to get in any size, because it has huge radial shrinkage and splits badly. It's also almost always full of holes from a beetle that leaves a 6-8mm diameter hole. This piece (and others I have) were from a tree that lay in a wet shady spot on the ground in a local creekland reserve for twenty years. It has an amazing variety of colours, from ash grey where the water has leached out the colour, to reds, tans through to almost yellow sections.

All the items are finished in Danish Oil, which is a Tung-seed oil with a polyeurethane hardener. It soaks right into the wood like an oil, then sets hard like a varnish. It doesn't darken with age, is impermeable, and after a couple of months or less, odorless.

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