Pebble Mosaic Woodturning
A self-taught craftsman tells how to create handmade mosaic vessels.
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Self-taught craftsmen Bill Haskell has been creating stunning wood-turned vessels, platters and other works for over a dozen years. He begins a piece like the carob vessel by selecting a log that already has a contrasting dark red heartwood and light-colored sapwood. The particular log he used on camera was rescued from the side of the parkway and clearly shows this contrast before he starts turning.
He marks the log with a circle that determines how the desired sapwood edge is used to contrast the dark heartwood. He cuts the cylindrical blank out of the log and affixes it to the lathe to begin shaping the exterior of the vessel. Once he starts the exterior, he turns it to completion, which (after the shaping is done) includes sanding and then covering the entire outside with a sealer coat of cyanoacrylate or ca (known as Crazy Glue to the layman). This glue coat brings out the finished colors of the wood.
Once the exterior dries, it’s time for the inside of the vessel. He starts by drilling a 1-inch hole from the top neck of the piece down to the bottom (without passing through). Turning the inside, he hollows out the vessel. He makes the final interior wall cuts by using a boring bar with a laser-light guide, which helps him to achieve the specified wall thickness. Lastly, he smoothes the inner wall with a round scraper.
Removing the vessel from the lathe, it is time for his unique pebbling technique. He begins by sketching the mosaic design on the lighter sapwood, arranging his pattern for space and aesthetic elements. He drills a pilot hole into each of his "pebbles" and then carves them away using a micro die grinder. Finally, he chamfers and sands over the edges of each pebble cut-out until it is smooth.