Many years ago I watched a deep hollowing demonstration by the late Frank Sudol. Sudols’ forte was very large, very thin pierced hollow forms. I took a class using his boring tools and found it quite easy. I started down the road of building said boring tool and related equipment but that was interrupted by my domestic restructuring.
Fast forward to the present. I was commissioned by a customer who liked my hollow forms to make something bigger than my normal fare. Eighteen to twenty four inches bigger! I told her I wasn’t set up for it and that figured wood like that would be hard to come by but I would look into it. My wood sleuths kept their eyes open for suitable figured maple for the job and one day I got a call. They had what I needed! Drat. Now I would have to out my money where my mouth was and build the tooling needed for the job.
My customer is great. She fronted me the money for the wood and said she would wait any length of time it took to build the tools, turn the piece and let it dry. How cool is that?! It took two weeks off and on to build the steady rest, get the boring bar machined, get a drill extension machined and fab the works. Now I am in the deep hollowing business, I guess.
I finished the hollowform today and it’s drying in the basement. How long that takes is undetermined of course. The wall is 3/4″ due to the 9″ diameter so it will take a while; not the 2 mil wall thickness that Sudol did. That meant that I had to measure the walls rather than use light to gauge thickness. I put silica gell beads inside to help keep the drying rate of the thicker bottom even with the thinner walls, so we’ll see how that works out.
Once dry – and as long as it doesn’t crack – I’ll re-turn it (including taking that ugly steady rest land off), dye it the special orange/yellow she likes so much and finish it. Here’s hoping.
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