My Pretty Peach #2: A Cup in a Cup

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Blog entry by Mark Wilson posted 09-23-2018 08:36 AM 741 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: -or- What Peach Looks Like When It's Polished Up Part 2 of My Pretty Peach series no next part

I posted the Peach Bowl this afternoon. Then, I took VOD to dinner. After dinner, I wanted to do something.

So, what’d you do?

Gather round. I’ll tell you. I’m posting this as a Blog for two reasons. 1) I may yet put a finish to it. And B) I couldn’t bring myownbadself to run the risk of another DT3 on something that’s so halfass.

Remember this?

Well, it was already on the lathe, right?

Before I go on, join me in the way-back machine, won’t you?

When I got my first lathe (1956 Shopsmith – the very first wood lathe I would ever lay hand to), I was very excited to be learning something new – to be beginning a new journey. You Tube took up a whole bunch of my time, what with having no experience, and needing to know what to do with my new machine.

I watched random videos of people turning Things on lathes. People who, I assumed, were knowledgeable, mebbees even experts. (I, frankly, took every one of them as experts. A common thread that seemed to emerge in my watching was the tendency these “experts” had to throw away any chunk of aboreal matter that had a crack in it.

I’m going to show you how to turn a bowl/goblet/spindle, whatnot. Here’s a piece of wood that has a very nice character to it. OOOH! It’s cracked. Throw it away. NEVER turn a cracked piece of wood. It’ll explode and you’ll die.

A note on that “you’ll die” part:

Very few humans get the chance to choose the way they’ll die. And, I can think of far worse ways to go toes up.

Be that as it may. I haven’t died, yet, from flying wood. (This one, incidentally, flew out of the chuck while spinning about 2500RPM. It landed behind me, after flying past my left ear – yeah, I flinch to the right. Didn’t hurt a bit.)

On with my tale, assuming you still have any respect for me at all.

I went into it with my very sharp, new, roughing gouges.

I had in mind that, if I could get in to a point past that very deep crack, something might be in there. (Mebbees some more birdseye effect. Who knows?)

A cup shape, sitting on an upside-down, smaller cup shape?

Sure. Why not? Mebbees, I can find some solid wood underneath the crack and come up with a flared vase, of sorts, with a very narrow waist.

Well, no. The crack went almost to the center at the bottom end. I needed to have enough left there for a foot.

Such beautiful wood is Peach. How could anyone even think of discarding it?

And, you know what else? It feels wonderful under a sharp tool. It peels away like, well, Walnut. Only, harder – more dense. And, that figure is all that and a great big jar of pickled pig’s feet. The marbling. The color. The occasional birdseye effect. (Not this time.)

I needed to leave enough thickness, up high, to account for the crack that wasn’t going away.

A cup nested in a cup, on top of an upside-down, smaller, cup?

Sure. Why not?

(It was shortly after beginning the hollowing process that a catch tore the piece out of the chuck. I stopped counting how many times times I had to stop the lathe and reset the Thing in the chuck because it got knocked wobbly. It only came completely out the one time, so, relax.)

Such beautiful wood, cracks notwithstanding.

What’d you do to turn the bottom?

Only this:

That’s right. For want of any balls to use as a jam chuck, I made a (are you sitting down?) phallic jam chuck. That’s a word. There’s a whole museum dedicated to it in Amsterdam.

Wrapped in a towel, held with the tailstock, it worked.

That stem is about the size of a pencil lead. But, being Peach, it’s very sturdy. So, being the rapscallion, the scalawag, the nogoodnik that I am, I thought, How’s about I leave it elevated on that little stand, such as it is, instead of breaking it off?

And, how’s about I put some of those lovely shavings to good use?

Note: I do not intend to encourage anyone of my Beloved Buddies to do anything they find scary, or potentially hazardous. If cracked wood worries you, by all means, throw it in the firewood pile. Or, the trash can. Or, cut it apart at the crack, glue it up with a filler of contrasting wood, and make something phenomenal. If, however, you decide to be bold and turn a cracked piece of wood, know this: The key, I’ve found, is sharp tools and high speeds. (In the practice of turning air – that’s what you’re doing when the tool passes a crack – the tool cannot fall into the gap of the crack if he crack is traveling fast enough. The same holds true for wing-ed Things; oblong pieces; eccentric turnings; tri-corns; whatnot.

-- Mark

5 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

24769 posts in 3872 days

#1 posted 09-23-2018 11:41 AM

Good sticktotiveness, Mark! That is fruit wood for you. It likes to crack. I turned and filled an apricot lamp for my mother 5 times and it still cracked after that!!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View leafherder's profile


1957 posts in 2719 days

#2 posted 09-23-2018 02:32 PM

My previous designation of you as “The Mad Turner” has proven accurate and well deserved. Now I add a term from the world of glassmaking – Peach Blow – for you and these last two pieces. Seems appropriate. Wish I had some peach logs to send you but my sister burned it in her fireplace. Keep up the good work. The process of becoming an artist is never easy and rarely pretty, but methinks the Muse has finally beaten and battered you into a suitable shape for a permanent home. :-)

Take care,


-- Leafherder

View lew's profile


13114 posts in 4522 days

#3 posted 09-23-2018 03:39 PM

You, my friend, are back on top!

Phallic jamb chuck notwithstanding ;^)

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Grumpy's profile


26415 posts in 4618 days

#4 posted 09-24-2018 01:05 AM

Great blog Mark.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View bushmaster's profile


3939 posts in 3049 days

#5 posted 09-27-2018 02:53 PM

Great blog and great pictures and project.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

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