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Click for a larger picture Cedar blossom eyes Price-list 299,-

Cedar blossom eyes

Some time ago a neighbour gave me some pieces of cedar. The wood had been lying in a barn for years. Once it was a garden tree, growing to big for the place.

Wood dry as dust. The largest part some 30 cm. All wood still having its bark. Bark with a beautiful wrinkled structure, useful for other purposes. as turning.

The wood itself looks nice with beautiful concentric growth rings on the ends. Those rings inspired me to create blossom shapes: an only partly opened bud and a blossom fully flowering, its heart bulging.

Made into a lenticular shape, the object turns into an eye of which the iris still shows the concentric growth rings.

I create the objects by pieces cedar with end grain to a face plate, centred at the heart of the trunk, the screws outside the diameter that is to become the blossom stem. In this way I can shape the top and the upper part on the lathe. After that I turn on the faceplate a jig with the shape of the blossom top inverted. Now the blossom to be fits to the lathe between the jig and the tailstock, ready to have the stem turned. The blossom is ready by now; petals I find overdone.

To create the eye I saw a blossom in halves. I use a chain saw. By planing the halves to the desired size and sticking them together, the eye shape comes out. That turns out badly. How do I get two irregular shaped body plane enough to close nicely? The planes always threaten to be a little convex. With the router I remove the whole middle part of the halves for some millimetres. Only an outer rim of some 10 mm remains. On these rims the halves close nicely and can be stuck together.

The iris is an inlay, also turned out of a piece end grain cedar. To turn the mortise I first drill a hole through the heart of the eye for a wooden peg. The tailstock centre fits there. Onto the faceplate I screw a double layer of plywood, the top one having a hole into which the stem of the eye fits. It serves as a catch.

The final slight differences between eye and iris I have to sand away. The crease in the eye makes it impossible to turn the iris to fit completely.

Diameter 25 cm; height 19 cm
Cedar (Cedrus atlantica)

This article was published first in "ActieRadius" #50, June 2006, quarterly of Radius, The Netherlands Association of Wood turners.

Cedar blossom eyes
Cedar blossom eyes
Cedar blossom eyes