Fountain (Just Practice)

  • Advertise with us
Project by Mark Wilson posted 08-15-2018 11:04 AM 1156 views 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Remember what I said about, mebbees, mounting up a store-bought blank? Well, sir. I had one in mind. A long time ago – 2, 3 years – I went to eBay and purchased some pieces of wood. Various sizes and species. All, outstanding specimens. I bought them, at the time, intending that they would, one day, be cut up and turned into boxes. As you’re aware, I’ve kinda been fixated on the lathe, especially since I got the new one. So, I began eyeing one of those pieces of gorgeous wood from a different perspective. I.E.: Perhaps, a wing-ed bowl, or platter. Ergo, I examined the blank. I know not, any longer, just what kind of wood it is. Quarter-sawn, spalted Oak keeps rattling around in my silly head. (“Silly Head: That’s what the boss called me when I was a teenage farm boy in Colorado.)

That’s 11-1/2” X 11” X 4”. Whatever it is, it’s big, and heavy. And slathered in wax.

My immediate thought, upon examination, was, Here’s something I don’t want to screw up.

VIMH: What he said.

So, after dusting it off, examining, and that short conversation, I reckoned I ought to try out the idea on some piece of timber that won’t make me cry, if I wreck it. I went rooting around for some “insignificant” thing on which I might test my skills (and tools).

A chunk of Douglas Fir 2×4, cut square, might do. That’s the base of this “objet’ de high arte’. (I merely want to know if I’m capable of leaving the four corner intact while dishing the piece into a bowl, or platter shape, right? Good enough.)
Now, Douglas Fir is one of the nastiest bits of wood I know of. The light, woody part is extremely soft and fragile, and, the dark part is solid resinous sap. And, the two are not bound together very well at all. Somehow, however, this is the wood that houses and other buildings are composed of. There’s another thing about this icky wood that always leaves one’s hands sticky. Sometime, long ago – I don’t know, ten years ago? – I determined that the garage (now, the Dungeon – then, a place where cars and motorcycles, and such things lived) needed those phony (faux, they say) shutters replaced. So, I went to Home Depot and picked up some lattice and some Douglas Fir boards. I also bought my very first router and one of those ridiculous little bench-top router tables, and set about making new “faux shutters” for the garage.

They’ve held up very nicely, thank you very much, and the paint hasn’t even begun to think of peeling, over all those years. And, I learned a little something or two about using a router, never having touched one before. Let alone, a cheap little bench-top router table. Like: If you feed the workpiece the wrong way, it WILL land in the neighbor’s yard, across the street. Enough of that. On with my point, before you get bored and go find something else to do

When I got done, I sat down on my little canvas stool in the garage (for, that’s what it was at the time), to catch my breath. I spied with my little eye a stick of Douglas Fir, lying at my feet, leftover from the deed. I picked it up. I thought, Geeze, this is nasty stuff.

Grab some sand paper, said VIMH (Yeah. He’s been with me a long time).

The obedient little snot that I am, I obeyed, obediently.

I went through all the grits I had on hand – I guess, 60 through 2000 – and had an epiphany. Even this God-awful excuse for wood can get pretty, if only one rubs on it long enough.

This was the day, in case you wondered why I’ve put you through this diatribe, Mark The Woodsmith was hatched.


Back, now, to the little square piece of Douglas Fir that started this piece.

I’m just practicing, you understand. But, as I proceed, I discover that I’m 1) not breaking the corners off; and, B) starting to get a notion in my silly head.

I got the corners swept up from the bottom okay, and cut a recess, and flipped it around into the chuck, and dished it out, kinda like a tiny platter. Now, at this point, I’ve achieved what I set out to find out. Then, out came the sand paper. Then, I began seeing something like a little candle holder. Then, I began imagining a wooden flame, of sorts, that I might turn from some other piece of wood. Then, my newest tool – the beading tool – called to me from the workbench. At this juncture, the “base” of a “candle holder” looked like ripples in a fountain.

I cast my gaze upon the many set-asides that are littered about the Dungeon (for, that’s what it has since become), and spied, again, with my little eye, a tiny piece of unknown wood which had, at some time in the distant past,
been an exercise in finial making. I drilled a little pocket of proper size and set about affixing said finial object. You know what? CA glue didn’t stick. I got out my Titebond II. I haven’t used it in so long that it, too, wouldn’t stick. I’m all out of epoxy, at the moment. But, I have something else.

You know what a good deal of that Douglas Fir that houses are made of is stuck together with, besides nails? Construction adhesive. That’s what I used. It worked. For a while. I came loose, at one point, from too much lateral pressure, and I had to clean it up and re-stick it. It was fine, after that.

The “finial practice piece” was just sort of an odd, almost Christmas tree shape. But, with this notion of a fountain in my silly head, I began doing some very odd and intricate maneuvers with my tools. (Let me say, here, that, but for a lathe that can run in reverse, this could not have come to fruition.)

So there you have. There it is. There you go.

I’ve left it unfinished – it is just a practice piece, after all. I don’t know. I may blow some lacquer on it, someday. I kinda like it.

Thank you. And, I apologize.

-- Mark

14 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

24785 posts in 3875 days

#1 posted 08-15-2018 11:45 AM

That is some beautiful work, Mark. You sure are putting that new lathe through the paces.

From your last post, get a fresh can of Danish oil and put it on it. It makes the grain pop. One thing I’ve found with it is that you need to apply it like they say- one coat, wait a half hour- second coat, wait 15 minutes and wipe off any excess because it will dry thick if left to puddle and then it is hard to remove, But, it penetrates the wood very well.

cheers, Jim

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

View pottz's profile


9847 posts in 1754 days

#2 posted 08-15-2018 01:10 PM

nice test id say a success,now time to tackle that big pretty block thats calling your name buddy.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View lew's profile


13114 posts in 4525 days

#3 posted 08-15-2018 01:12 PM

Looks like the Mojo- she has returned!

Nicely done on that Douglas Fir. It isn’t easy to turn without tear-outs.

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

View luv2learn's profile


3065 posts in 3073 days

#4 posted 08-15-2018 03:15 PM

Great story Mark and an awesome turned piece.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View John's profile


1809 posts in 2040 days

#5 posted 08-15-2018 04:19 PM

That’s a nice block of wood Mark, I would have a hard time deciding what to do with it. Good idea to have a practice run before getting into it.

-- John, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3637 days

#6 posted 08-15-2018 05:57 PM

This is a wonderful project and is a real eye catcher.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View leafherder's profile


1957 posts in 2722 days

#7 posted 08-15-2018 10:46 PM

Hi Mark,

I like it too! Reminds me of something from a Dr. Seuss book, or a Disney animated movie (I seem to recall a fountain in Aladdin). It is a happy bit of frivolity whose sole purpose (after serving as your learning process of course) is to create smiles by sparking the imagination. It served it’s purpose – it made me smile.

Thank you.


-- Leafherder

View Grumpy's profile


26427 posts in 4621 days

#8 posted 08-16-2018 01:08 AM

Good one Mark, almost looks like a chess piece Queen.

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

View BobWemm's profile


2867 posts in 2696 days

#9 posted 08-16-2018 01:49 AM

Very nice mate.

-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View DocSavage45's profile


8956 posts in 3612 days

#10 posted 08-16-2018 01:52 AM

When it’s not precious your mojo gets loose. Nice diatribe! It’s good to practice!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View ZAGREB's profile


1276 posts in 2420 days

#11 posted 08-16-2018 03:05 PM

great idea Mark
looks like piece of art…as usual

-- bambi

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7543 posts in 1482 days

#12 posted 08-16-2018 03:07 PM


-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View Ivan's profile (online now)


15951 posts in 3637 days

#13 posted 08-16-2018 05:33 PM

Just practice…hahaha…good joke!! This looks amaizing!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View bushmaster's profile


3939 posts in 3053 days

#14 posted 08-18-2018 03:27 PM

Nice work, great to see you turning heads again. I haven’t had a chance to do projects in the shop, major renovations and mechanical work on the go.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics