Before Christmas I went down to see Martin, Waka and Philly, the infamous Woodkateers of dubious repute and Martin had, amongst a vast amount of totally droolworthy kit in his garage, a mallet made from an old lignum vitae bowling ball. Martin had a cupboard full of these things and by the end of the day, one (amongst some other stuff) had found it's way into the back of the Landy.
Now these bowls turn up into a big, thumping great mallet, OK for doing m/t joints in lock gates but a bit on the large side for normal bench use...and besides I already had a lignum maul that was ideal for the sort of work I like to do, so I was scratching around trying to find a use for this lump of very hard timber, what the hell was I going to use it for? To cut a long story sideways, I was perplexed, not an unusual situation for the Bloke to find himself in (it's an age thing)
Until last night...
In our newly decorated lounge I've installed a rather nice cherry table made several years ago and it's just the right spot for a table lamp, made from you know what. With more than a little bit of trepidation I very carefully installed it onto the lathe, dropped the revs down to snail speed, stood well back and hit the green button...and it started to spin. I decided, wisely as it happens, that as it's the heaviest, hardest and just about crankiest timber in the known world, attacking it with a gouge might not be such a good idea, scrapers would, I thought, be the way forward.
Correct-a-mundo, and how fantastically it turned under the tool, such that by the end of the evening the original tatty old ball had been spun into a gleaming, globe like shape that was able to be burnished to a high gloss with a bit of 600g paper. I have to just complete it tonight by drilling the hole down the centre (which promises to be entertaining in itself) and then I'm considering a finish of several coats of linseed oil on the lathe (burnished after each coat) followed by a good application of wax.
The surprising thing about last night's turning jamboree was that the shavings and dust contained so much sweet scented resin that I smelt like I'd had a bit of a session in Paris Hilton's boudoir... good job SWIMBO knew where I was!