A Cup

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Project by Mark Wilson posted 09-11-2018 04:18 AM 989 views 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was a store-bought blank of Hackberry that I’ve had sitting around a few years. You remember Hackberry. It’s what I made the Buddy Bell with. The stuff was a nightmare to turn then. It’s a little less nightmarish now. I’m a little better at this stuff, now. My tools are sharper – some are tools I didn’t have then. And, I have a much cooler machine, now. On with the show-and-tell.
A couple nights ago, I found a video that whetted my appetite for something entirely different. Here it is:

Fascinating, innit?

So, I grab the last store-bought piece of wood I have on hand yesterday and round it up, after sharpening my tools. I set about mounting it in that wacky way in the video. It spun rather nicely. Spinning at about 2000RPM, I began with my freshly-sharpened roughing gouge (old-school roughing gouge – I’ve ordered new ones). It was working. Til it wasn’t. My spur center just busted out the spot where I had it. Change of plans. I’ll be ordering a new, less bulky spur drive, soon. And, also, a more slender live center, whilst I’m at it. I really want to do this.

Oh. About that little nick, visible in the fourth photo. Funny story. I got the outside and the inside finished. It was time to turn it around in the chuck to finish up the bottom. You’ll recall that I finished the outside with wax. Wax is what, Gentle Reader? Slippery. I’ve got the cup in my right hand while turning the chuck key with my left. I pull it forth, and it slips out of my hand (the cup, not the chuck key – would that it had been the chuck key). I, quick-as-lightning, flinch my left hand from the chuck key to the space just over the lathe bed, deflecting the cup to the debris box under the lathe. It landed gently enough in the cardboard box, with a sigh of relief. It wasn’t til I was photographing it that I saw the nick from where the cup had, evidently, ever so slightly, ricocheted against another piece of wood in the box. No biggie, I suppose.

Sharp tools, and new tools, really made a difference in this wood. The Hackberry is still a very wild species. The figure in it indicates how wild the grain is. And, the dark lines are stupendously harder than the light wood. The light wood is, in point of fact, what you might call almost “punky”.
I sanded, then I soaked with Shine Juice. I topped that with straight Shellac, and finished with bee’s wax topped with paste wax. The inside, I sanded to 600 and just gave it a good slathering of Howards Feed-n-wax. The bottom I treated as the outside, minus the wax. It stands about 3-1/4” tall. The wall is about 3/16”.
The most amazing part of this is that I started it yesterday morning and finished it after dinner today. No three-week ride on the lathe, this time.

Thank you. And, I apologize.

-- Mark

19 comments so far

View ZAGREB's profile


1227 posts in 2101 days

#1 posted 09-11-2018 06:11 AM

good job ,Mark

-- bambi

View Ivan's profile


14785 posts in 3319 days

#2 posted 09-11-2018 08:51 AM

Nice work on that cup…I like the wood too.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23000 posts in 3557 days

#3 posted 09-11-2018 11:36 AM

Nice work on the cup, Mark!!


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

View doubleDD's profile (online now)


8536 posts in 2494 days

#4 posted 09-11-2018 01:09 PM

No hacking on this hackberry. Cool cup.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View pottz's profile


5779 posts in 1436 days

#5 posted 09-11-2018 01:22 PM

nice work as always buddy,love that wood.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View swirt's profile


4066 posts in 3423 days

#6 posted 09-11-2018 01:27 PM

Beautiful wood and results.

-- Galootish log blog,

View DocSavage45's profile


8850 posts in 3294 days

#7 posted 09-11-2018 05:20 PM

Pushing your limits is a creative thing!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View therealSteveN's profile


3378 posts in 1026 days

#8 posted 09-11-2018 06:25 PM

Splendid. Ma Nature provided the fireworks, and you lit the fuse just right.

Thanks for posting, and congrats on your 3.

-- Think safe, be safe

View pottz's profile


5779 posts in 1436 days

#9 posted 09-11-2018 06:27 PM

just poppin back to say congrats on another top 3 my friend.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View luv2learn's profile


2956 posts in 2754 days

#10 posted 09-11-2018 06:43 PM

Courageous wood turning Mark. Love the results.

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

View Richard's profile


11291 posts in 3484 days

#11 posted 09-11-2018 08:04 PM

Nice work Mark!

Rick S.

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View leafherder's profile


1828 posts in 2404 days

#12 posted 09-11-2018 08:23 PM

You’re Number One! You’re Number One! You’re Number One! Yay Mark!

Congratulations – a beautiful cup (nick and all).

My neighbor has Hackberry trees in his yard – annoying, the things sprout everywhere, and takes years for them to develop useful wood (that light colord wood is VERY soft) – I have had pices that looked like they woulld make good canes but they were not strong enough to support any weight. The trees are prone to diseases and attract carpenter ants but they just keep growing. Good job on turing this piece into something beautiful.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Leafherder

View lew's profile


12821 posts in 4207 days

#13 posted 09-11-2018 09:02 PM

Man, that is some gorgeous grain in that turning! Cool video. Looks like she turned a piston for a Wankel engine.

Congrats on the Daily Top 3, too!

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

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2607 posts in 1515 days

#14 posted 09-11-2018 09:41 PM

Thanks, Lew and John. I just ordered a set of new drives about 45 minutes ago. Hopefully, the spur drive will enable me to do that kind of thing. It still has only four spurs, but it’s a lot more slender. A less soft wood will probably be needed.

-- Mark

View jeffswildwood's profile (online now)


3983 posts in 2429 days

#15 posted 09-11-2018 10:13 PM

Just a sweet cup made with some nice wood. Good turning!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

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