MCW Oct 09 Demo
Oct 28, 2009Public
Photo: Program Chair Gary Guenther introduces our Demonstrator for the evening, John Jordan, noting John's recent cover and excellent 12-page article in American Woodturner.
Photo: John is the center of attention for the assembled group.
Photo: Can you spell R-A-P-T? I’m talking attention! E.F. Hutton has nothing on John Jordan. His vessels are carved and textured in a variety of designs and with a number of different tools.
Photo: This man is having fun. One look at John in action makes it clear that he loves his work, and loves teaching it. In the foreground are vessels in progress.
Photo: Some classic, signature work by John Jordan.
Photo: John talks about how he designs his carving to fit the flow of the wood grain.
Photo: Because he now turns mostly side-grain pieces, John likes to work with relatively stable local woods such as maple, walnut, ash, oak, and honey locust. Woods like sycamore and hickory are not favorites.
Photo: No fancy CAD programs here -- just some freehand sketching eyeballed directly onto the vessel. John prefers the "life" that this freedom adds to a piece that is not perfectly indexed.
Photo: John works with a variety of straight and spiral features depending on the wood and his mood. Draw something on -- if you dont like it, change it!
Photo: John turns only freshly cut "green" woods so the sapwood retains its light color to add contrast in the finished piece. Additionally, he stores some hunks in a freezer where they retain their freshness.
Photo: John turns his hollow vessels to a thickness of 1/4" - 3/8" depending on how deeply they will be carved or textured. They typically dry in 7 - 10 days in a cabinet he uses for that purpose. He uses no special handling techniques during the drying process other than the restricted air movement offered by the enclosure.
Photo: John likes to take care of his hands and wears appropriate protection when carving and texturing. Here, to his fingers, he applies a unique solution -- 3M "Vetrap" bandaging that sticks to itself and nothing else.
Photo: One of his primary tools is an Automach reciprocating carver with "V cut" brand gouges. Flexcut also makes a nice set of blades. This thing is very loud -- wear your ear protection!
Photo: A little stainless-steel buffing compound on this specially contoured block keeps his carving tools sharp. They can also be sharpened on a lathe with an MDF disc with an appropriately-shaped rim.
Photo: Sharpening...
Photo: ...and carving. John carves turned blanks only after the wood is dry, lest the piece crack along the weakened carving lines. Having the light at a low angle is important because shadows are needed to see the necessary details. John often uses this tool to define his drawn lines.
Photo: John also uses a variety of hand tools for carving and sculpting. There are many tools and many ways to achieve the desired end. He prefers power tools for roughing but hand tools for detailing, shaping, and refining, ...
Photo: ...like here.
Photo: Carbide rotary carving burrs -- a standard "spiral cut" burr on the left, and the much more expensive (and capable) "Aluma-cut" burr on the right -- ...
Photo: ...can be used in an air die grinder. The latter may take a little practice -- John says: "When it goes wrong, it goes wrong fast." He uses cheap die grinders without oil to keep the wood clean -- when they fail, he can throw them away and replace them.
Photo: The result may look something like this. A large, capable air compressor (5-6 hp, 60 gallon) is needed to feed this beast for continuous use. Ear protection is a must.
Photo: John uses American rasps -- Nicholson 49 and 50 -- as well as the expensive, hand-cut French Auriou rasps. Here is one of the latter -- he may be selling these hand-made beauties in the near future.
Photo: Here are some of his rasps being shown...
Photo: ...and in use. I love that sound. John brought his own carving station (the box and carpet) from home.