Karson's wood gloat moves to Tennessee #2: Ready to finish

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Blog entry by jeffthewoodwacker posted 06-25-2009 03:11 AM 1280 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Platters on my mind Part 2 of Karson's wood gloat moves to Tennessee series Part 3: Ready for wipe on poly »

I had told Karson that I probably wouldn’t be able to start on his wood gloat platter until after the 4th of July holiday, but the wood blanks he sent me have been asking to be put on the lathe ever since they arrived in Tennessee. Today I went to the shop and got an early start on turning two platters. I start all my platters the same way – decided what the shape will be, find an approximate center, drill a 3/8” diameter hole and mount to a screw chuck. What will be the inside of the platter is mounted on the screw chuck. I use a home made wooden mandrel that is mounted on a live center to put pressure on the tail stock side of the platter. The bottom of the platter is completely finished from start to finish and a recess is cut to fit the expanding jaws of my Nova chuck. I mount the platter on the Nova chuck, bring the live center with the wooden mandrel up and start to work on the inside of the platter. The wood blanks that Karson sent me were just over 1 inch thick and the maple burl was very dry and did I mention as hard as a rock. Once I get the basic shape of the inside of the platter turned I remove the tail stock and finish the platter completely. I was able to start with 220 grit sandpaper on both of these platters and work all the way up to 400 grit. The platter I am going to keep started out looking like this before I turned it:

This is what it looks like completely turned and ready to sand:

Not sure if you can see the measurement but this platter is 16 inches x 15 inches

The wood blank that Karson selected for a platter started out looking like this:

This is what it looks like completely turned and ready to sand:

Karson’s platter is 17 inches x 15 inches. As an added bonus Karson sent me a pet with his wood blank – as I was turning it I found a live wood bore larva- this little sucker had burrowed it’s way 1/2” inch deep into the blank and made the trip from Delaware to Tennessee alive and well. I bet I scared the poor little fellow to death when the blank began spinning at 3200 rpm. His platter had one side of bark and three sides that were square cut. I rounded off one side, kept the bark side and left the two sides square cut as I wanted to keep as much of the original blank size as possible.

I turn the platters at the highest speed my lathe will go – 3200 rpm. By turning the blank at high speed the tool spends less time turning “air”. I place a piece of black poster board on the lathe bed and have a piece of white poster board hanging behind the blank. This allows me to see the ghost shadow as I am turning. I make sure that the tools are sharp and take my time making long sweeping passes to prevent catches. An odd shaped piece spinning at 3200 rpm can make your heart race if you screw up. I am using Watco clear Danish oil as the first coat of finish on both pieces. I was able to put two coats of Danish oil on one piece today. The way I apply the Danish oil is to flood the piece completely until no more oil soaks in. On the first piece I used just over a pint of finish to soak both sides and had very little to wipe off after it sat for 30 minutes. I will let this piece sit for 4 days and then apply several coats of Satin wipe on poly. Tomorrow I will do the same Danish oil process on Karson’s piece. I will get photos of what the pieces look like with the Danish oil before the wipe on poly is applied.

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

4 comments so far

View cabinetmaster's profile


10872 posts in 5021 days

#1 posted 06-25-2009 03:51 AM

WOW…...nice looking blanks and great looking platters. Can’t wait to see them finished.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Karson's profile


35300 posts in 5863 days

#2 posted 06-25-2009 04:02 AM

Looking great Jeff. I can’t wait to see the finished product. You can keep the pet. (I guess I forgot to tell you that as part of the bargin).

What should I look for in the rest of my wood. I’m guessing a powder post beetle. I better spray all of the blanks.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View mmh's profile


3701 posts in 5185 days

#3 posted 06-25-2009 06:00 AM

Nice blog. Too bad you’re using such a tiny piece of wood }:)~ . I look forward to seeing more of the process.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View cwdance1's profile


1164 posts in 4722 days

#4 posted 06-26-2009 12:04 AM

What a great looking piece of wood. Can’t wait to see it finished.

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