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Rippled Surface Effect for Vases and Containers

Discussion in 'Tutorials and Tips' started by Dennis J Gooding, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. Dennis J Gooding

    Dennis J Gooding

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    This article outlines the procedure I used to obtain the rippled surface effect shown in the examples shown below. Basically, it exploits the tendency of most green woods to shrink across the grain when they dry--the same phenomenon that causes logs of most woods to crack as they dry. My best success has been with madrone, well known for its high shrinkage, but other woods may work well also.

    I begin with a small green log a bit larger than the maximum diameter of the turning and having a well-centered pith. I start between centers with the axis of rotation running through the center of the pith. I turn a chucking tenon at the base and rough out the piece. I then remount the piece in a chuck and finish-turn the sides. Next, I form the fins by parting straight in at regular intervals using a parting tool marked to indicate the desired depth. It is important to keep the cuts at a 90-degree angle to the spin axis; otherwise, some of the resulting vanes will be thin at the bottom and will tend to break loose during the drying phase. I keep the wood wet throughout this process.

    After the vanes have been cut, I wet sand the outside of the piece and between the vanes with sandpaper dipped in a bowl of water occasionally to clean off the slurry. A piece of paper folded around a thin putty knife helps while sanding the sides of the vanes. Sanding the vanes after drying is very difficult.

    Next, I hollow the piece to a constant wall thickness using a captured boring bar with laser guidance. (It is possible to see the laser light dot between the fins.) I plan the depth of the hollowing to end up with about 0.25-inch of thickness at the bottom to reduce the chance of cracking. I then reverse the piece and turn the bottom.

    In order to get the vanes to buckle, it is necessary for the walls of the piece to dry faster than vanes. One way to encourage this is to mist the vanes with water regularly, leaving the opening clear to allow drying from inside. Another is to wrap the outside of the piece in plastic until buckling is underway. In any case the drying needs to be slow or the body of the piece will pull away from the fins before the fins begin to buckle.

    My yield of satisfactory pieces is probably not more than 50%. The remainder had cracked fins, did not warp sufficiently, or failed to warp on all sides. Clearly more experimentation is needed. Among the key parameters to be considered are the width of the fins, the width and depth of the notches, and the wall thickness of the body of the piece. In the case of the 8.24-inches tall vase shown below, after shrinkage, the width of the vanes was about 0.1-inches, the spacing was 0.125-inches, the depth of the notches was about 0.7- inches, and the wall thickness was about 0.25-inches. In the case of the 14-inches tall djinni bottle, the corresponding approximate values were 0.16-inches, 0.2-inches, 1.1-inches, and 0.4-inches.

    I would be pleased hear about successes from others who try this technique and any promising innovations that they uncover.

    RippledVase.JPG


    DjinniBottle.JPG
     
  2. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Nice work Dennis!
     
  3. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Dennis Thanks for the procedure. Nice work.
     
  4. Douglas Ladendorf

    Douglas Ladendorf

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    Dennis, thanks so much for posting. This is one of many interesting techniques you have shown us. Love your experimenting.

    Doug
     
  5. Joe Greiner

    Joe Greiner

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    Thanks for the amount of detail in your procedure.
     
  6. RichColvin

    RichColvin

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    Dennis,

    I really like how you played to the wood's tendency rather than trying to mold the wood to your desires. I've been interested in this type of Woodturning for a while. Glad to see someone make it work. Lovely outcomes!!

    Kind regards,
    Rich
     
  7. egsiegel

    egsiegel

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    very nice...
    I'm going to try this. It also has given me some ideas on how to get a technique I've been working on to work. I'll share that if I ever get it right.
     
  8. Mike Peace

    Mike Peace

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    Interesting technique, Dennis. I appreciate your taking the time to share.
     
  9. Raul McCai

    Raul McCai

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    thanks for posting this
     
  10. Joanne Sauvageau

    Joanne Sauvageau

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    What a fun piece! I canèt wait to try this.
     
  11. egsiegel

    egsiegel

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    Dennis,
    Is the depth of the fin consistent from the outside of the piece? Or is it consistent from the center of the piece....basically hollowes straight down?
     
  12. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    Nice and interesting.
     
  13. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    Very unique Dennis, I really like the carving and finish on both pieces. Well done.
     
  14. Derek Lane

    Derek Lane

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    Thank you for the tutorial decided to try this for myself as I like the effect you managed to get.
    I thought I would have a go and as you stated it does not work all the time. Well for the first time in my case but not wanting to be defeated.

    I placed the piece in a bucket and poured boiling water over it(nothing to loose if it fails but plenty to learn) this made the fins warp fantastic except a few so empty the bucket and give it a second go hoping the ones that had not warped will so another pot of boiling water but this had the opposite effect and the warped ones straightened back out OK lesson one don't do this twice.
    Again not being one to give up because something does not work the first time I came up with what may seem like a silly idea yes back in the bucket and another pot of boiling water, I found this softened the wood to work with a treat.
    With a little help I came up with this configuration and now waiting for it to dry fully OK this is a little more symmetrical pattern than yours but I removed one of the peg halves this morning and it stayed in place I have replaced it and will now wait and see what happens once it is fully dry.
    The first picture is the type of clothes peg we use here in the UK and at £1 for 60 of them no major outlay. I split them in half and used the taper end into the slots

    DSCF8944 (800x600).jpg

    The second picture is of the piece as it is now drying out

    DSCF8948 (600x800).jpg
     
    hockenbery and Bill Boehme like this.
  15. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Over here it's called a clothespin, but in reality it's neither a peg nor a pin. I guess that the name "clothes clamp" would be a tough sell. :D
     
    Derek Lane likes this.
  16. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    This is fascinating method or using wood Movement..
    @Dennis J Gooding - interested in seeing where you take it
    Melvyn Firmager was demonstrating a similar technique at the AAW Symposium.
    I think he came over from England a couple of times - 2007 and maybe 2004?
    He had a signature parting tool that Packard an others carried.

    First photo is in the winter 2006 journal Symposium promotion
    41E7F30C-8D3C-4F16-BD3A-A9AD252D2FC4.jpeg

    B6D356CA-DB1D-4FC5-BA42-F4067BB5709E.jpeg 29E41497-5C62-45DF-9660-7805F79D5243.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
    Paul Lajoie and Derek Lane like this.
  17. Dennis J Gooding

    Dennis J Gooding

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    In the pieces shown, the depth was the same for each vane. In my earliest attempts, I made the depth of each cut roughly proportional to the diameter of the piece at each point (keeping a smooth curve of bottom points to facilitate hollowing). I thought that contrast of the bottom curve and the outer curve would lend interest, but in practice, the bottom curve is not perceivable after the vanes warp. Also, the shortest vanes generally did not warp.
     
  18. Dennis J Gooding

    Dennis J Gooding

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  19. Derek Lane

    Derek Lane

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    @Dennis J Gooding I am a firm believer that if a piece does not do what you want don't throw it straight in the trash but use it to try experiments with as sometimes it may surprise you. Sometimes the more things go wrong the more you can learn from it and yes it does go the other way when things go right
     
  20. Dennis J Gooding

    Dennis J Gooding

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  21. egsiegel

    egsiegel

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    Thanks Dennis,
    I've been having some luck with some tests using Pear branches (these are small pieces). the pear doesn't want to naturally warp, so I have been wrapping the piece in a wet paper towel and microwaving for 2 minutes or so...more if needed.
    I tried letting it dry after that and found that the warp "flattened out" by the next morning.
    So I have now been trying "dry" microwaving in short 30 second bursts at low temperature after the initial "steaming".
    not quite there yet...but getting close.
    I am also going to try microwave steaming, then covering in desiccant beads try dry.
    The wedging...or cloths pin idea has come up in conversation a few times....but I haven't tried it yet. I'll post my progress.
     

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  22. Dennis J Gooding

    Dennis J Gooding

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    Your results look encouraging. How big is the piece?
     
  23. egsiegel

    egsiegel

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    Size doesn't matter :)

    This piece is small. ~4" tall. I've been working with some pear branches my some took down in his yard this year, so most of my tests have been about this size. (
    I'm ready to go larger this weekend as I think I have the basic methodology down....lots of notes about what failed each time.
    Biggest difference from what you are doing is I have been drilling the center...no further hollowing. Then I have been cutting the fins to a consistent distance from that hole....the "solid form" is straight. I think that contributes somewhat to the variation in rippling....but may also be why I get some separation and the center on larger ribs...too much ripple on deep ribs. I'll try you consistent depth method this week with my steaming and drying techniques.

    I'm scheduled to demo my findings to my club in March, so lots of rippling will be going on the next few weeks.
     
  24. egsiegel

    egsiegel

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    Getting closer.
    These are before microwaving (flat) and after.
    I buried the piece in desccicant beads to get some of the moisture out after steaming. The beads get in between the fins and help hold the wave shapes.
     

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  25. Derek Lane

    Derek Lane

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    As Promised the end results from my first attempt at rippled surface effect by Dennis(thank you again for the tutorial) I know that I did slightly change how Dennis got his results but I feel it worked for me.
    I also cheated as I force dried the piece hoping that it would not split.
     

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  26. egsiegel

    egsiegel

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    looks great.
    what wood?
    what process did you use to "force" the drying?
     
  27. Derek Lane

    Derek Lane

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    The wood is Field Maple, and to dry it I put it into the airing cupboard(with the wifes concent)
    The Field maple has only been cut down for just over a month so it was a big chance doing what I did. I think that putting it into a bucket and poring boiling water over it helped a bit as I posted earlier.
     
  28. egsiegel

    egsiegel

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    Demo'ed my findings on this topic to my club last night.
    Turned an ash piece and steamed it in the microwave....and this happened 0313181935.jpg

    I was quite pleased.
     
  29. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Interesting tutorial. Got to try it. How would a type of cherry or walnut react to this technique?
     
  30. egsiegel

    egsiegel

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    Cherry is TERRIBLE (in my experience)
    every one that I have tried in cherry has cracked or split.
    I haven't tried walnut.
    in my experimenting I used (because I had it):
    • Ash - very successful (about a year old logs 5" diameter)
    • Cherry - no success. did not warp much...then cracked and split
    • Pear - very successful. lots of rippling, little cracking if any. (small branches ~3" diameter)
    • maple - some success. 5" branch down less than a week. may have been too wet. I'll wait a while and try some more.
    • Birch - Success. no immediate movement even after steaming. left of shelf for 2 weeks...beautiful waves.
     
  31. Jerry Maske

    Jerry Maske

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    You'll never know what you've done to my way of thinking. I live along the coast of Maine and have, recently, taken down several big Maples that were showing signs of rot. they've got several thick branches that will be perfect for this process, and as soon as I can get out there past the hip high snow banks, I'll go get some of them. Too cool an idea not to try, and I know Maple likes to move around as it dries.

    Thanks for throwing me into another Briar Patch, I think. Not sure if Maple is the right wood to use or not, but I DO know that if you use it before it has dried totally, you get bananas. Sounds perfect when that's what you're after.

    Thanks again.
     
  32. Ray Hari

    Ray Hari

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    I am impressed. Nice techniques and execution Dennis. Thanks for the tips. I am going to try this one of these days.
     
  33. Frank Kammerer

    Frank Kammerer

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    Thank you for sharing!
     

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