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More work on the large redwood globe stands

Some time back I posted about making a pair of large globe stands from reclaimed redwood. I made the leg sections, but put the feet on hold because when cut up I found the wood too wet. Cut to length, with exposed end grain for the moisture to escape, they are now dry enough to finish turning them.

Each blank, about 200 mm ┬álong and 180 mm square, was rough turned to a cylinder with a small spigot on one end. I held the spigot in a chuck while drilling a 12 mm hole right through using an auger with a T handle. I then transferred the blank to my homemade chuck with the tapered steel insert (which is proving very useful for this type of work) and turned the foot with tailstock support. Fairly straightforward, but a little nervy, as there is no spare timber – no mistakes allowed! I double checked all measurements and used a spindle gouge for most of the cutting. 8 feet turned and ready for finishing.

The next job was the central pedestals that support the globes. Two are needed, cut from a 600 mm length of 300 mm square redwood beam. The block was only just big enough, I had to cut it in half with a handsaw – it was too big for my bandsaw, and I didn’t think a chainsaw would have cut straight enough even if there was enough length spare for the kerf. Then I used the handsaw to cut off the corners, a total of about 8 feet of sawing. Redwood is quite soft, but seemed to be getting harder as I went on.

The initial sawcut that divided the block left a reasonably flat end grain surface on each piece, on which I could fix a faceplate. On my Graduate lathe, I could drill the axial hole at low speed, then support the block with the tailstock while I shaped the pedestal. I removed some of the surplus wood while still on the faceplate as it gave a very positive drive. Then I switched to my homemade chuck with the tapered insert. When I did so, I found, as expected, that the axial hole was not so axial after all. The auger had wandered a little. On the taper insert, I was able to true it up and continue with the shaping. The redwood is a little soft, and the maximum torque given by the friction was only just enough on a piece this large, so light cuts were essential.

I did not have a pattern for the pedestals, so to some extent I was designing them as I went along. It was very useful  to be able to remove and replace them on the tapers without losing accuracy.

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Redwood globe stands, part 4

More work on the redwood stands today. I finished the leg sections, all but the missing one that I am waiting to be sent over from USA. Next job is the eight feet, which are to be 170 mm in diameter and 200 mm long. I cut the first block into three, each 210 mm long, but immediately discovered that it’s very wet internally. You can see the moisture, with a drier layer at the surface. This is a problem, as the blocks may very well split. We shall have to consult the customer, who provided the wood, to see if he wants to go ahead with the turning now, or wait for the blocks to air dry, which will of course take a long time. They will take a long time to complete in any case, as too high a moisture content will interfere with the shellac finish.

Moisture in cut redwood
Moisture shows in fresh cut surface of redwood block
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Redwood globe stands part 3

Work on the redwood globe stands continues today. I finished the lower leg sections and moved on to the upper, which are tapered. They are made in the same way except that each end has to be callipered to size separately. Here is a block mounted in the lathe.

Wooden tool rest

Note the wooden toolrest. I shall upload an article on making the tool rest soon. A long tool rest is very useful for jobs like this.

This redwood is quite tough to turn. The ripple grain tends to break out quite easily, so it is important to sharpen the gouge and finish with fine cuts.

To be continued….