Vic Cracknell uses odd pieces of glued timber to create an interesting turned pear
Have you ever had a tidy-up in your workshop and thought "what can I do with these odd pieces of timber?" If so, this is your chance to produce a glue-up block and turn yourself a pear.
For this project, you will need two contrasting timbers; I chose to use maple and sapele. The main block is 45mm (1 3/4in) square in a dark coloured timber (sapele). You can choose to use a length of your choice, but remember that it must be long enough to handle safely on a machine and also must be exactly square. Ensure that your measurements and cuts are accurate as if they are not, this will be visible in the finished block.
The finished pear
Take a block of sapele measuring 45mm (1 3/4in) x 45mm (1 3/4in) and using a moulding block in a spindle moulder, cut a schocher in two corners
Take the block, and fill the first two corners with the maple inlay measuring 15mm (5/8in) x 15mm (5/8in). Clamp the wood in place to ensure that the inlays stick securely before moving on. Repeat the same process for the other two corners of the block, and fill with the same sized inlay, measuring 15mm (5/8in) x 15mm (5/8in), as before and clamp until the glue is dry. Clean the excess glue, and now your block has four maple inlayed corners
Take the block, and this time, cut a groove in the centre of each corner (as shown) until you have four identical grooves. To do this, use a drip cutter in a moulding block on a spindle or a router
It is now time to inlay the other four grooves you have made with the rest of the maple, using a moulding cutter. Use a table saw to cut the two pieces of inlay in half until you are left with four identical pieces. Once the inlays have been glued into place, clamp the two opposite sides first and clean off the excess glue and then fit the other two inlays. You will now be left with a square shaped block. Note the routing errors towards the end
Take your square block and now fit the 3mm (1/8in) x 50mm (2in) sapele to two sides of the block. Clean off the surplus glue and repeat the same step for the other two sizes but using the 3mm (1/8in) x 6mm (1/4in) inlay
Next, layer the piece of maple 3mm (1/8in) x 60mm (2 3/8in) on top of two of the previous sapele inlays of the same size. Repeat this step with the other two pieces of maple until you have a completely new layer of maple on top of the sapele
Repeat this layering process further, this time using the 3mm (1/8in) x 66mm (2 5/8in) piece of sapele, first on two sides, then on the last two faces using the 3mm (1/8in) x 72mm (2 3/4in) pieces using glue to fix into place. The block will now look like this
Once again, take the piece of 6mm (1/4in) x 72mm (2 3/4in) maple for the first two sides of the block, and finish with the 6mm (1/8in) x 75mm (3in) piece to finish the square. You now have a length of wood which is ready for turning, in this case, we are going to turn a pear
Cut a length of the block off, measuring 100mm (4in) and mark an exact centre. This needs to be indented with a centre punch or pointed bradawl
Next, mount the block between centres using your preferred drive centre (four-prong or steb) and using a spindle roughing gouge turn down the piece until round. Turn a spigot at one end, using a parting tool to allow the piece to be mounted in a pair of scroll jaws on a chuck
Mount the piece in the chuck and shape the piece using a combination of both a spindle roughing gouge and spindle gouge for the finer detail until you have achieved the pear shape you desire. Since the item is held at one end only, it is easy for you to create the dimple in the bottom of the pear. Then, drill with a 1.5mm drill in order to accept a clove head at the final stages of finishing. Once drilled, sand and finish using a sanding sealer and wax
Reverse chuck the pear and mount it so the spigot end is located at the tailstock end, then turn away the spigot to create the neck section until the spigot has been removed. Sand to a fine finish and apply sanding sealer as before to finish. A small remnant will remain which needs to be sanded or carved off once removed from the lathe. When off the chuck, drill the neck end to accept either a natural stalk or, as in this case, a turned and carved one. Whichever you choose, fit the stalk into the top end, and mount a clove into the hole in the bottom to form a realistic flower shape. Apply the final finish to the areas previously un-touched and you now have your laminated pear