28 April 2005

An Egg of a Different Color

At a party last February, a friend called me over to look at a small log from the hostess' firewood bucket. I could not identify the wood, and neither could the hostess, but she graciously allowed me to take the log home with me.

I still don't know what it is, but I cut a piece off one end and turned this egg.

The log was about three inches in diameter, so I mounted the piece on the lathe with the drive and tail centers into the pith on both ends. However, the pith was not exactly in the center of the branch. As a result there is an area of sapwood on one side. It's the pale yellow spot at the top of the picture. I liked the contrast with the darker heartwood.

The dark circle is the remains of a small branch. You can also see tiny swirls just below the yellow patch. I'm not sure if those are the traces of failed branchlets or just "bumps" in the growth rings.

Here's a view of the big end of the egg. There were old cracks in the pith (dark Y-shaped mark) that I sealed with cyanoacrylate glue. You can see the growth rings clearly in this photo. The egg itself is less than two inches in diameter, and there are at least sixteen rings visible. Whatever this wood is, it comes from a fairly dense, slow-growing tree.

I finished this piece with clear shellac (Zinsser's new Bulls Eye French Polish) and then buffed it with carnauba wax.

The "L" above the pith is my woodburned mark. No, the photo is not reversed - I really do sign my work backwards!


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