Chess, I wood love some.
Often times when playing around on the lathe I’ll let the wood (cracks or voids and/or errant chisel marks) dictate what a piece wants to be. For this stopper – Holly, the first time I’ve ever used it, I was more focused on what I didn’t want it to be. I didn’t want this almost pure white wood to look like a snowman or a chefs hat… then it started taking on the form of a rook.
Rather than fight it, I went with it. and it came together surprisingly easy. A nice wood to work. I normally like medium to darker woods with interesting grains. This cut very well, and surprisingly cleanly. It chipped a bit when I was squaring up the bottom to drill and tap for the mandrel, so I was worried, but there were no issues at all – just lots of almost pure white ribbons. I did use clean sandpaper to avoid discoloration from the dust from other woods. I sanded up to 600 grit as the 220 and even 320 left marks in the wood. Now it’s smooth as glass, only finished with bowling alley wax to try to maintain the pureness of the wood.