Cool write up on your process Dave.Building the blank
Started making the pieces for another cholla bowl this morning, and figured there's been enough interest in what I've done that I should write it up.
The first step is building a base on a faceplate for my lathe. I've been aiming at bowls that are 6-10 inches in diameter, so I generally put a pine 1×6 on the faceplate, and then put a couple pieces of 1×6 across that to get up to the size I want.
Then I cut it round-ish on the bandsaw, and turn it round (and about 10 inches in diameter) on the lathe.
I stick blue tape on the joints. That helps keep the epoxy from running through the joints and making a mess in my shop.
Next, I stick a piece of blue tape around the edge of the base. Just one or two turns, but I try to stick it to the edge of the base as best I can. I'm going to be pouring epoxy into this and I don't want a leak.
I should note that I've already cleaned the cholla. If there's any material in the middle of a piece, I poke it out with a long screwdriver.
Next is putting in the cholla. In my first two bowls, I stood pieces of cholla on end. This time I'm going to try laying them circumferentially.
If the pieces go a little beyond the tape, that's ok. And if there are gaps, I plan to fill them with the next layer. So now it's time to mix up some epoxy. 50ml of System 3 Fast Hardener, 100ml of System 3 General Purpose Resin, and 22 drops of TransTint Aqua for the first pour. That makes a fairly pale almost sky blue.
Second pour is another 150ml of epoxy (5 oz), this time with about 35 drops of Aqua, and 5 drops of TransTint Lemon Yellow. Definitely green, but I think still thin enough that it'll let light through. I pour this aiming to hit areas that didn't get any epoxy in the first pour (cholla will form dams) and I concentrated on pouring over pieces of cholla that looked dry inside. I also stuck in a few more pieces of cholla (small broken chunks) to fill any small gaps that looked wrong to me.
At this point, there are still a few spots where I can see the dry pine base. But after this epoxy cures overnight, I'll put on another few wraps of tape, building the sides up to 1.5 to 2 inches high, lay in more cholla, and then pour the next two colors of epoxy. I'll probably set the base slightly off-level so that the epoxy pools more on one side. I'm guessing I'll have a total of four pours of two colors of epoxy (they mix a little, but the cholla will segregate the colors a bit, plus the first of two pours starts to harden before I get the second poured), and I'm leaning towards red and violet tints for the next batch.
I like the idea of the homemade faceplate that is part of the epoxy disk, very clever.
Can't wait to see the results of this piece.
Thanks for sharing.