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Work in Progress - Spruce Burl Form

Part - 9 - preparing to turn the bottom

I like to apply the first coat of finish before I remove the piece from the lathe to turn the bottom. Partly it is the impatience to see the wood after the finish hits it and partly to protect the wood after it is off the lathe. Chances are it will not be needed to be remounted and returned, and even so the doing of it would entail more work than is wanted. Protection is a great thing to have at times like this. woodturning project: first finish
Once the finish has dried enough to work, remove the vase from the lathe and then the face plate from the piece. Before removing the face plate, mark the center of the glue block for easy setup later. In this case the glue block was pre-drilled with a 3/16" hole. wood turning project: centering technique
Remembering the weakness of the neck due to that included branch, I now need to strengthen it temporarily. Ideally, I could wrap it with strong tape such as Duck tape or fiberglass reinforced tape, but that would leave a residue of adhesive which is awkward to remove and might even pull some wood away as it was removed from the burl. Instead I gave it several wraps of the clear cellophane tape that is used to tie pallet material. This is non-adhesive and sticks only to itself. It is also easy to find at most hardware stores these days. woodworking lathe technique: strengthen the neck
Before attempting to remount for glue block removal, if you have a swivel head wood lathe, make sure the head and tail stocks line up properly. It only takes a minute and will save a lot of aggravation. woodworking lathe technique: line up head and tail stocks
I use a blunt cone at the head stock to hold the burl in place. Turn one that fits the opening and has a gradual slope. A steep cone will act as too strong a wedge and may split the neck of the vase. I use a piece of "fun foam" to pad the opening. wodturning tip: getting ready to remount
Mount the cone, fun foam, and burl between head and tail stocks. The tail center goes in the center of the glue block and the burl should be well centered. Rotate by hand to check for centering and adjust as necessary. Snug up the tail stock. woodworking lathe method: mounting the burl

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