Thursday, February 22, 2007

Interviewed for Layers Upon Layers

Hey folks! My friend Cyndi Lavin, a professional blogger who writes for b5media, has just posted an interview we did recently.

Cyndi asked some searching questions that made me really think about things I take for granted in my day to day work. Do take a look if you want to learn more about the work I do, and check out the rest of Cyndi's blog while you are there. She is a great writer and always has some interesting things to share.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Busy doing nothing?

At this time of year I tend to spend a lot of time doing preparatory work, but not actually getting anything finished. Lately I have been rough turning salad bowls blanks. Here I am hollowing a medium sized bowl and creating a pile of shavings on the floor.

Here I am working on a larger bowl blank. This picture gives a good idea of the long shavings that come off when turning green wood, that is wood that still has moisture in it. It is softer and more flexible than dried wood, so it is quite easy to make wide cuts and the shavings are less likely to break into small chips.

I did get to spend some time turning some smaller salad bowl blanks that have been taking up shelf space in my drying room. At the moment I seem to be in the enviable position of having nearly too much wood, and need to clear space for it all.

These bowls have since had one application of walnut oil. Tonight I plan on giving them a second coat, then when that is dry in a week or so they will be ready to go out on the gallery shelf. I might put a few for sale here, so do watch this space if you think you could use a kitchen-safe wooden bowl.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Kitchenware care

Caring for your spurtle or salad bowl is a simple case of washing it in warm soapy water and drying thoroughly. An occasional application of oil or wax may be called for, but for the most part timely washing will keep your wooden kitchenware in good condition.

But if it takes on an odour such as garlic or onion, try rubbing it with a slice of lemon, lime or orange, then sprinkle with salt and wipe with a paper cloth.

In more extreme cases where food has gone off in the bowl, such as fruit which has been forgotten, try making a mixture of mineral oil and pumice powder. Rub this into the bowl with a cloth. Many applications may be needed, but this is probably the safest way for consumers to fix a bowl.

I once had a customer come to me with an old bowl, not one of mine I should add, that had had some fruit go off in it. The bottom was a really sticky mess and I had to remove quite a bit of wood to get back to a reasonably good finish. Sandpaper is not much use in cases like this since it will gum up right away. I used a curved cabinet scraper, but even then it was a tediously slow job.