A Cup

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Project by Mark Wilson posted 09-11-2018 04:18 AM 1154 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


1276 posts in 2420 days

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

good job ,Mark

-- bambi

View Ivan's profile


15952 posts in 3638 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

24787 posts in 3876 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


9464 posts in 2814 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


9851 posts in 1755 days

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

nice work as always buddy,love that wood.

-- 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 swirt's profile


5225 posts in 3743 days

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

Beautiful wood and results.

-- Galootish log blog,

View DocSavage45's profile


8956 posts in 3613 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


5757 posts in 1345 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


9851 posts in 1755 days

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

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

-- 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 luv2learn's profile


3065 posts in 3073 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


11309 posts in 3803 days

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

Nice work Mark!

Rick S.

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View leafherder's profile


1957 posts in 2723 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


13114 posts in 4526 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

2826 posts in 1834 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


4449 posts in 2748 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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