JOHN THOMAS

You’d think making a bowl would start with wood, but for me it often starts with paper. I have a sketchbook where I doodle different shapes and decide what looks good to me. It’s a handy reference to have to brainstorm before you commit to turning wood into shavings. If I have a specific piece of wood in mind I draw it with the outer measurements in mind. Considerations must be made for the color, the way the grain flows, and proportions I have to work with. If the wood is from a log, I measure and section off pieces of wood to turn into multiple blanks. I try to get the wood on my lathe that day, or as soon as possible. Freshly felled wood is full of water and cuts beautifully. Here, I reach a fork in the road. The traditional option is to allow the wood to air dry and warp, then turned a second time to put the piece back in symmetry. The second option is to finish it as is, and allow the piece to warp itself. I think of this as letting the wood choose it’s own form! Lastly, I usually finish pieces with Linseed or orange oil and beeswax. I find that this highlights the grain without excessively changing the color of the wood. For more decorative pieces I will use a shellac mixture for a glossy finish. 

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