Opalite Turned Box

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Project by MrWolfe posted 01-19-2021 07:31 PM 463 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a very new venture for me.
I recently bought a small Rikon lathe and I am just starting out with turning. I’ve made a few tool handles, a segmented bowl and a small vase. This is my most recent piece.

It is a small lidded box with Opalite infill. The wood is hickory (I think) saved from my firewood stack. There was a small amount of holes from insects in this piece of wood so I used a microwave to both dry it and to eliminate any further issues. That still left some tracks in the wood. I used crushed opalite along with c.a. glue to fill these voids.

Here is a pic of the mortar and pestle I put together with parts from H.D. that I used to crush the opalite.

This box is 2 1/2 inches in diameter and 4 inches tall.
I used a simple finish of shellac, boiled linseed oil and denatured alcohol while the piece was still on the lathe.
I also put a coat of Trewax paste wax and buffed it out to a satin sheen.

Wood turning is fun and addictive. I am still trying to solve some basic issues with blanks and bowls, especially drying without the piece developing cracks. Its a learning process.

I like the immediacy that turning offers. A few hours at the lathe and there is a complete piece. I am starting to realize its the prepping and drying of pieces that takes time. Days, weeks, months or even longer. I don’t want to move forward with a big purchase until I figure these issues out.

This piece isn’t perfect but it was fun!
Thanks for looking.

13 comments so far

View pottz's profile


14799 posts in 1993 days

#1 posted 01-19-2021 08:37 PM

you makin pipe bombs jon ? lol.

nice box i like the fill.

-- 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 splintergroup's profile (online now)


4672 posts in 2231 days

#2 posted 01-19-2021 09:35 PM

Just wait till you feel the warm peace when you are covered in several feet of shavings 8^)

Good looking piece, you really are melding a number of techniques in one and doing a fine job to boot!

I agree w/the pipe bomb comments, you never know who is watching! (you paid cash, right?)

View leafherder's profile


1977 posts in 2960 days

#3 posted 01-19-2021 09:42 PM

Great job, Overall form is reminiscent of Art Nouveau and I was wondering when you were going to incorporate the swirling colors of Impressionism into your work. (Just be careful with that lathe. We don’t want blowouts making you look like Vincent Van Gogh.) Thanks for posting. Can’t wait to see where your turnings experiments take you next.

-- Leafherder

View mike02719's profile


291 posts in 4794 days

#4 posted 01-19-2021 09:56 PM

Very nice job! You are right, turning is definitely addictive. Seeing your early work, you will soon be expert and hopelessly addicted. Keep it up and keep posting pics of your work. I think bug holes and small cracks can add to a piece. Somewhat spallted I would say.

-- Mike, Massachusetts

View MrWolfe's profile


1464 posts in 1132 days

#5 posted 01-19-2021 10:35 PM

Thanks everyone!
Yah… last thing I needed was another tool addiction. =P
I bought the lathe for a great price and it came with a lot of tools and accessories but I’ve spent twice that already on more accessories. Its a new challenge and I have some ideas I’d like to play with soon. Yes Leafherder, I think the stone inlays will be a great chance for some added color in my work. I’m doing everything I need to so that I keep both my ears too.

The pipe fittings were bought a couple of years ago for a wormy mesquite box I was planning (with cash ;) I’m glad I finally got a chance to use it and I might need to go back and make that mesquite piece.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

6843 posts in 1590 days

#6 posted 01-19-2021 11:26 PM

Good looking turned box! I’ve never managed to successfully turn a lid for a piece that I completed, so great job getting both the top and bottom done from the same piece. ;-)

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View MovingChips's profile


183 posts in 250 days

#7 posted 01-20-2021 01:37 AM

Nice piece

View John's profile


2021 posts in 2278 days

#8 posted 01-20-2021 05:26 AM

Boxes are a neat little project to make, nice work!!

-- John, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada.

View therealSteveN's profile


7235 posts in 1582 days

#9 posted 01-20-2021 11:22 AM

you never know who is watching! (you paid cash, right?)

- splintergroup

That made me spout diet Coke all over.

Jon, you are certainly adventurous with wood, and that is a good thing.

Like you crafty container.

-- Think safe, be safe

View drsurfrat's profile


476 posts in 195 days

#10 posted 01-20-2021 12:28 PM

Beautiful work.

I like the immediacy that turning offers. A few hours at the lathe and there is a complete piece.
- MrWolfe

We used call it the “instant gratification machine.” It even makes sanding easier.

-- Mike (near Boston) ... Laziness is the mother of invention, necessity is the mother of exhaustion - me

View MrWolfe's profile


1464 posts in 1132 days

#11 posted 01-20-2021 12:53 PM

Thanks Dave,
I got a PSI 4 jaw chuck for my lathe and that really helped with making the lid. It makes rechucking pieces fairly simple. Thanks Everyone for the compliments. It really is fun. Yah SteveN, made me laugh too =)
Mike, once I figure out the whole drying issue then I’m going to get a larger lathe. They are very fun to use.

View jeff's profile


1306 posts in 4473 days

#12 posted 01-20-2021 04:38 PM

Very nice. I like the Opalite.

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View MrWolfe's profile


1464 posts in 1132 days

#13 posted 01-21-2021 03:50 PM

Thanks Jeff.
I have some turquoise and malachite that I will be using also and I’m looking online for coral and lapis lazuli.

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