Enhancing Your Work

Enhancing Your Work: Woodburning & Piercing

By Gord Langer

Enhancing Your Work

This is a continuation of two previous turning articles: Turning a Leaf Vase, Part 1 and Part 2, in which Gord replicates a leaf vase form originally designed by Brian McEvoy.


I worked with a birch log (above) and an elm log to create four vases of varying sizes and shapes.


These are the four final shapes I ended up with.
The first step in the process is to find an image that you like and print the appropriate size.  In hindsight, I wish I would have scaled the photo a bit larger.   So take some time play with the size until you are sure you are happy with the ultimate size of the drawing. 
Next I placed some carbon paper underneath the photocopy of the image.

 I then used a pencil to transfer an outline of the drawing to the vase.
Along with comfort, good vision is very important.  I use these headband magnifiers from Telesight Magnifiers www.telesightmagnifiers.com to enlarge the area I am working on.
Once the image has been transferred I used a skew woodburner to outline the image.


After the outline has been established I used a couple of different burner tips; a ball tipped burner and a simple square rod tip.  I did find using the corner of this tip worked faster than the ball tip and produced similar results.
Here is the completed burned image. 

Though it looked pretty good to me, I decided to take it a bit further and added some piercing to further enhance the piece.

Using the dental tool, I started the piercing process.  While Brian and I have used many piercing tools, we both find that the dental tool yields the best results, especially for large piercing jobs.  Why, you might ask? For us it comes down to control and comfort.  The dental handpiece allows for excellent control, and the handle is comfortable to hold for extended piercing sessions. Look for our special offer on a piercing system later in this newsletter.
Here you see the piercing coming along nicely.  Again good light, comfort (note: my elbow is supported at a comfortable height), and using my magnifiers for improved vision.
It is also important to strive to have the wood separating the piercings to a consistant size and to have the actual piercings random in shape and size.
Once the piercing was completed, I used some 220 foam-backed sandpaper to sand the pierced section inside and out. Here you see the piece ready for lacquer.
Here is the finished piece. As I mentioned earlier, in hindsight I wish I had made the Orca a bit larger but overall I was very pleased with the result. I used Deft Semi-Gloss lacquer as a finish and applied several coats.  After applying the lacquer I let it sit for a few days and gave it a light sanding and applied another two coats of the Deft lacquer.
I hope you give it a try.
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By Gord Langer