Monday 9 July 2018
This vessel, entitled 'Spiral Dream', was was my first attempt at a spiral goblet. I had turned a few finials but it was time to expand on the technique. I started with a block of bubinga (Guibourtia demeusei), measuring approximately 200 x 200 x 510mm and cut it into three portions: one for the vessel, one for the lid and one for the finial, which was substantially downsized. To build a spiral piece like this I begin by turning the finial piece as a round board, then I lay out the various steps it will have. Next, I turn the outside into an onion shape – it's important not to get too narrow where the top of the spirals will be. It may look odd but this step is very important, as it gives you room to remove material later in the process. Ultimately, I turn it to almost a completely finished shape outside. Next, I draw a layout of what I want the spirals to look like. There are many ways to do this, but I do most of it freehand. Now, using a drill, I start to drill to the centre, removing as much unwanted material as possible. Using a rotary tool, I then begin to connect the holes I previously drilled and begin to sneak up on what will be the spirals. At this point, I continue using the rotary tool to get as close as possible to the spirals, leaving just a small amount of material to begin the next stage of removal. I then switch to files and abrasives and continue until I have a completed spiral. When sanding the spirals, it's very important to apply equal pressure to the opposite side of the area you are sanding – if you don't, you'll hear the 'tick' of doom, which is the sound of a broken spiral. If this happens, put your tools down and accept that this is part of the learning process. Relax, glue it if you can and keep going for the practice. When turning the goblet, I had to pay very close attention to wall thickness. I was trying to achieve a thicker wall top and bottom and a very thin wall at the centre. This was to create the scallops towards the top and bottom and still have very delicate spirals in the centre. The lid was sort of inspired by an airplane propeller in its sweeping curves. In the end, it took me 30 days to create.