Earlier in the winter, a neighbour asked me to help him cut up some branches from a poplar tree (aspen) that had fallen onto a neighbouring field. I cut them into manageable lengths so we could move them easily, 3 to 4 feet long.
I have been wanting to turn some larger pieces so I thought I’d have a go with a couple of these branches. Starting with power files and sanders, followed by hand sanding, I shaped and finished the piece. The final height is 76cm and the diameter is about 14cm. My lathe will take up to about 1 metre so that determined the size.
I mounted the log between centres and turned a tenon to go into my largest chuck jaws. After mounting on the chuck I turned the top, drilled a 22mm hole in the centre and reset the tailstock. I turned the middle section to an elongated conical shape then marked out for the spiral by dividing the circumference into six and the length into three sections to give a single turn – a three bine spiral. The rest was carving. I took a lot of the bulk away using a wood cutting disc on my angle grinder and drilled though along the length to reference where wood needed removing. The wood was very wet which meant that, while it was relatively easy to turn, it clogged up my rasps and abrasives. Therefore I left it for a couple of weeks in the cool workshop to dry a little, which it did quite quickly as it has a large area of exposed wood. Using a combination of surforms, rasps, power files and sanders, followed by hand sanding, I shaped and finished the piece. I wanted a rustic look so the finish is walnut oil only. The final height is 76 cm and the diameter is about 14 cm.