Teapot Time

After the first day of jig basics, we thought we’d just add a bit of technique for the second day. This was not to be the case since Cliff was roaring to get going on the pile of burls he had brought. He decided that it was time for us to tackle his signature piece – a teapot.

Cliff Lounsbury launching into teapots

Cliff Lounsbury launching into teapots

He took us through a demo during the morning, which included creating a design, marking it on the burl and then cutting a basic shape on the bandsaw. Next came the tricky part, a bit of tight in turning to get the ends of the pot and then out came the router jig to rough out the body of the pot.

For Cliff this was something he had done many, many times, but even though we were new to the game, the whole class was enthusiastic about getting started. The first thing we had to do was create a design; side view and top view. Then we went out with Cliff to the burl pile and picked a burl that best matched our design.

I got a green cherry burl and after bandsawing, I mounted on the lathe, prepared a mounting tenon and then began to round the ends of the teapot.

My cherry burl blank

My cherry burl blank

You had to be careful not to hit the bandsawn wings which would become the spout and handle. Next was using the router jig to rough out the main part of the pot and create the top where we will eventually add a lid.

 

Preliminary turning and routing

Preliminary turning and routing

Next we had to bring it back to the bandsaw with our design and cut away some of the waste parts, after which we would start the carving.

Working to the design

Working to the design

After a few cuts, it was on to the power carving tools. The rule with this kind of work is to use the fastest tool to get you to a certain quality of surface and from their each tool is allowing you to get to refine that surface. I started with a Proxxon mini with an Arbotech cutter. Quite aggressive, but got a lot of the material removed. It was then on to a Fordham with a Saburr bit. I was off to town with this bit and it allowed me to get a good roughed out shape. However, since the burl was green and contained the pith, I had to stabilize it with CA (super glue). At least it was beginning to look like a teapot.

Basic carving

Basic carving

Today I had to Do something to relieve any more stress that could cause additional cracking. I had drilled out the center of the pot last night and today I hollowed it.

Hollowing done

With the piece hollowed I had to start drying in out in a microwave. Heating the wood in a microwave and then applying additional CA to the cracks allowed much deeper penetration of the glue. Actually, we only microwaved for three minutes and then added glue to any cracks and then let the piece cool completely. We repeated the process six times adding CA only if we saw a crack developing. I finally finished with the drying at about 9:00 tonight and will start to take the surface to the next stage of refinement tomorrow.

One of our classmates, who had already taken a class with Cliff did a demo this morning of adding feet to bowls. Since I had free time while the teapot was drying I make a calabash bowl with tiny feet. Richard’s demo did the trick.

Bowl with tiny feet

Bowl with tiny feet

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