turnings #3: European Olive champagne glass

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 07-31-2009 03:37 AM 2322 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: turnings - some failures as prelude to some successes Part 3 of turnings series Part 4: A bowl from that fallen Jacaranda wood »

Not a drinker, but I still appreciate the form of champagne glasses. I had a chunk of completely unsplit European olive from my pile of blanks, about the right length and diameter when turned to cylindrical to let me try my hand at something beyond plates and bowls, even though I’ve far from mastered them yet.

I put the block between centers, turned it cylindrical, then swapped the head center for my Oneway Talon chuck, and used the tail center to support it a bit as I carved the outside of the flute, down to the stem, but not narrowing it down anywhere near the final thin diameter. Once I had an okay shape outside, I removed the tailstock and carefully turned the inside with a mix of Sorby tools: 1/4-inch bowl gouge, 1/2-inch Spindlemaster, and as it got deeper, the internal shear scraper. Then I went back and did the stem and base, still unsupported.

European olive champagne glass

I got the wall pretty uniform in thickness, and it’s pretty smooth. The outside is perfectly smooth, but the inside has very faintly-felt ridges. Still have to learn better how to feel those away with the tools.

European olive champagne glass

European olive champagne glass interior

At this point I was excited to try BLO on this thing and wiped on several coats. I decided I wasn’t too thrilled with it. It really mutes the contrasts instead of making them stand out. Also, I picked up wipe-on poly, but it’s water based, and later I realized I should really use an oil-based topcoat over BLO. I guess I’ll have to go out and get some of that, too.

You can see some light coming through the thin wall of the cup inside.

European olive champagne glass with BLO coats

I’m leaving the chunky base on it so I can chuck it back up later to do more sanding and finishing work, then I’ll part it off to leave a thin base.

European olive champagne glass

It’s been 3 days since I turned and coated it, so I’ve got at least another 3 or 4 before it’s pretty dry and ready for the next steps.

European olive wine glass

The base and cup have both warped into a rounded isosceles triangles sitting on my desk this week (no pictures since the turning day yet), so I won’t be doing any more turning on this piece. The walls of the cup are about 3/32” – not enough left to try to re-round the shape. I’m fine with that, and like the odd look to it, but it’ll be fun in the future to also turn some perfect things that stay more or less perfectly round. I’ll have to wait for the olive to dry entirely before I can do that.

I’ll follow up on this with pics of the warped shapes and final finish when I get there next week sometime.

The important thing is that 3 days later, I still have not one check anywhere in the entire piece. No splits! This is Euro olive we’re talking about. It splits when you look at it funny. I think it has a lot to do with where in the log the turning blank comes from. I went through a week ago and sorted all my Euro olive bottle-stopper blanks into 3 piles of ‘no checks at all,’ ‘very few, light checks,’ and ‘heavily checked down entire length, some nearly split in half.’ The piles were surprisingly even – about the same number per pile – but I noticed something later. All the ones that split lightly were a pretty mix of sap and heart woods, with the division kind of cutting through the middles of the pieces. All the completely unsplit pieces seemed to be without one, though I forget which. They were either all heart, or all sap, and I kind of think it was all-heart. I’ll have to check later and get some pics, and do a blog post on just that, as I think it’s interesting info.

I think the BLO is also helping this thing to not lose moisture too fast as it dries.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

6 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4919 days

#1 posted 07-31-2009 05:12 AM

looks great Gary fun turning


View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 4732 days

#2 posted 07-31-2009 11:37 AM

Good job Gary!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View Jon3's profile


497 posts in 5447 days

#3 posted 07-31-2009 06:14 PM

Very nice. A goblet is definitely on my todo list!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23350 posts in 5017 days

#4 posted 08-01-2009 03:38 AM

Great to see you in action.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4723 days

#5 posted 08-01-2009 04:04 AM

Thanks, everyone! You’re inspiring me to keep going, and to get better.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View Innovator's profile


3589 posts in 4755 days

#6 posted 08-04-2009 06:42 AM

Nice job Gary, its a fun project.

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

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