turning a birdhouse

I’m trying to turn from a design – trying to visualize something, and create it. Today, it’s the start of a birdhouse

I made this sketch on a napkin at lunch, and I think I came pretty close. Not bad for 45 minutes and a huge pile of shavings.

This could be the largest diameter I’ve turned to date (looked bigger in person), but I should have started with a larger one. I used a fairly fresh piece of green maple – taken from my neighbor’s (post) Civil War tree. How funny that it might end up living out its days in the garden within a stone’s throw from where it once lived.

After the initial roughing out – being attacked by bark and moss – the wood was still green, but getting to be farily dry. There was some checking on the ends, which I cut off before mounting it. I was expecting that this wouldn’t have ended up so small, but once the bark and soft outer wood was removed, it is what it is. A maquette I suppose. I may try again for the full size one.

I read somewhere on this great big web of ours, that one way to keep green wood from splitting was to boil it for an hour per inch of thickness… so I’m giving that a shot, before I put this back on the lathe for the final shaping. Too tall for my largest stockpot, but fit in the dutch oven just fine. LeCreuset, good for chicken provencal, and maple birdhouses. Ironic how, had I made this any bigger, that may not have been an option (lest I drag out the big canning/lobster pot, and crossed my fingers).

Interested to see how this works out… good or bad, I’ll have a better idea of what to do for the next one.

MIDWEEK UPDATE: (July 18th) This seems to have finally lost it’s water weight – i’m sure these 95 degree high humidity days dragged it out a bit, and may have even helped slow down the process, possibly a good thing?… there is some evidence of small checks or cracks in the darker patches at the top and bottom – to be expected I suppose. Fortunately these parts were slated for removal anyhow. The design calls for a diagonal line for the top and bottom, this will (may perch atop a pole, or hang from a line, no foot necc.) However, there is also one fissure at the base of the neck, about 3/4 of an inch long, that wasn’t there yesterday. This crack runs across the grain, but I think It may turn out… I’ll remount it in a day or two and see how it goes.

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