This Maple blank was heavily spalted and that is what gave it interest and made it worthwhile to turn. Most spalted Maple is one of the soft Maples and this was no exception. The wood was very soft which made it easy to cut very quickly but the cuts are never smooth with a soft wood so a good deal of sanding was required, but a soft wood sands quickly to so no bother.
I don’t like most soft Maples but the spalting in this piece gives it lots of interesting color and figure, especially on the reverse I think. I work a lot with Maple and find it almost always a pleasant experience; this was no exception.
The finish on this piece varies from my usual go-to Shellawax. Shellawax, while my favorite, is a disaster on soft absorbent woods. It goes on blotchy and uneven and I end up having to rub the piece in acetone to remove the surface wax and then sand back to bare wood. I can often, but not always, predict which woods will have this problem. For example, I would have sworn that the Mimosa bowl I turned yesterday, a wood that is soft and open grained so presumably absorbent, would have failed with Shellawax but it worked fine. In this case I expected the worst but tested about half of the reverse with Shellawax and confirmed that it would not work. Instead I used Staples Crystal Clear Paste Wax with imported Carnauba to great effect. The wax goes on easily with your fingers if you wish, or use a cloth, and once allowed to dry, which is quick, it buffs to a nice high shine that is even. I still prefer Shellawax when I can, but in some cases nothing beats a plain wax finish for even consistency.
This was fun and quick project that was nice to do before moving on tomorrow to much more challenging Hickory.
All cuts were made using the Easy Wood Tool system on my Robust American Beauty lathe. Forward chucking was in a Nova Chuck, while reverse chucking was done using a Nova Chuck with Cole Jaws. Sanding was with Gold and Green Wave sanding discs from Packard Woodworks. Final finish is Staples Crystal Clear Paste Wax.
As always, I wish all my readers a great experience in whatever your wood working interests happen to be and to those who like working with lathes especially, do a good turn today!