I recently made a batch of large sycamore bowls from a tree that came from a garden in Kennington. It was a dead tree that had stood for some time, and the wood was quite porous in places. I always look forward to seeing the freshly cut timber surface when a new log comes to my workshop. I was able to make a number of rough-outs that have been drying over the summer. They have beautiful figure and slight spalting. I was pleased with the finished bowls until I oiled them. I found that they soaked up quite a lot of finishing oil and when dry their surface was quite rough to touch. Not only that, there were some pencil lines and scratches still showing – I missed them when sanding before oiling. I must take more care in future!
There is always some degree of roughness after oiling, and usually it comes off when I buff the bowls, but I tried something different this time. I put them back on the lathe and wet sanded them with white spirit and 320 grit paper. A messy job, but they came up silky smooth. Wet sanding with water can raise the grain, but the white mineral spirit did not affect the wood.
There are three in this batch. The two largest are about 375 mm in diameter. They will go on my bowls for sale page later, after further coats of finishing oil.