Surface Texture and Carving


Mini-Blossom with surface texture

Mini-Blossom with surface texture

I recently posted an Instagram image of an open vessel I created entitled “Ribbons in Wood”. A couple of followers on Instagram asked if I could share the process I used to create the vessel. This weeks blog will hopefully answer that request and maybe inspire others to expand their reach in woodturning to include more than just the basic finishes normally found on turned objects.

References and Credits

Before I start I should reference where I derive most of my inspiration and process techniques. I am a great admirer of Binh Pho he has been one of the leading artists in the evolution and elevation of woodturning from craft to art. Galleries of his work, details of the tools he uses and links to purchase his DVDs can be fount at Binh Phos’ Studio. I can only aspire to attain some of his skill. The second artist I’d credit with inspiring me to embellish some of my turnings is Brian McEvoy from One Good Turn. His techniques impart a simplicity to what appears to be a complicated process. 

My Current Tool List

If you are going to be serious about surface texture and carving then you will need to invest in a few specialized tools. I have two basic hand tools that I use:

  • Powercrafter™ Air Turbine Carving Tool
  • Dremel Rotary Tool Model 300i with Flexible Shaft

Note: I understand the Powercrafter may no longer be in business. A good alternative is the Power Caver 400K

A good Air Powered Turbine tool is a necessity for good effortless wood carving of turned vessels with wall thickness up to 3/16″. The Dremel tool does not have sufficient torque to really accomplish the task repeatedly. The Air Turbine tools use dental burs for carving and embellishment. I actually get mine from my dentist. Once a bur is no longer useable for dental work it is still plenty sharp for wood work.

For adding surface texture I have several dental burs in various shapes and diamond cutoff wheels for the Dremel tool to do veining. You can see a sample of the veining technique on  in my Etsy shop on the Ikebana Flower Vessel I have offered there. You can also find the images at my Instagram page here.

I think I will close here for now. Next time I am in the studio and doing surface embellishment I get some pictures or perhaps a video.

Thanks for looking



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