Natural edged egg



I was inspired by the work of Gray Hawk on the SA Federal courthouse to face two natural edges together in a piece. The idea was good, but using green Yarran was not so clever. The first time I glued it up the stresses of shrinking grain in 3 directions pulled it apart completely overnight! After throwing it in the corner in disgust and leaving it a couple of months, I thought it might be worth another shot. It worked out OK but I don't know how long it will last - depends on the long term stability of the Yarran.

Two blanks were cut from the same log of Yarran which unfortunately had started growing mould in the sapwood due to some problems with my storage setup - but they would do for an experiment which this still was at that stage.

To mount the blanks on standard chuck jaws, shallow holes were drilled into the sapwood with a 50mm Forstner bit in the drill press.


Believe it or not, it wasn't going to be an egg to start with but a vase  form instead - but the blanks weren't thick enough to pull it off - ah well!!! The outsides were trued and rough-shaped then a recess was cut to suit the chuck jaws in what was to be the top half of the egg. A waste spigot was glued on to the bottom half so I wouldn't lose anymore height.

Both halves were hollowed to leave the walls about 15mm thick to allow for some movement while drying a bit (had I been patient enough to let it dry!!).

After nuking the halves for a while to dry them out (dumb idea!), I turned a sleeve to join them from Yarran also and formed a recess in each half to fit the sleeve snugly. I then glued the assembly up with PVA and by the next evening, it was back in 3 pieces again. The sleeve had shrunk so much and the halves had changed shape enough that the whole thing fell apart.

A few months later I picked up where I left off and turned another sleeve from DRY timber. Assembly was easy using the tailstock to apply pressure and keep it all aligned while the glue dried.

The gap between the 2 halves was then filled with shavings from the lathe bed and flooded with CA (Super-glue), filling about a 6th of the circumference at a time while still on the lathe. Once that dried, I used a Dremel to remove any excess shavings in the gap to allow a 2mm deep layer of Australian Ebony dust to be applied and flooded with CA. The final shape was then refined and the outside sanded to 1200grit. The outside was then given a dozen or so coats of Danish oil until it built up on the surface and was then cut back with Ubeaut EEE abrasive polish. A coat of traditional wax over the top then finished it off beautifully.

The inside was sprayed with flat black enamel to give it a bottomless feel. The lid was turned from a small branch from the same tree but I'm not happy with the finial - one day I'll replace it with an ebony finial to balance things up. The base it sits on was also turned from Yarran with the 4 gaps removed on the bandsaw. It was shaped and sanded by hand from there, then ebonized and coated the same way as the egg.


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