Most of the wood i use comes from Ullapool Woodturning Centre. The owner, Mr Alec Mutch stocks premium quality wood, much of which has come from the immediate area. I tend to use air dried wood that can have been drying for 4-5 years. This reduces the chance of distortion in the finished piece. He also stocks many exotic species from around the globe. This wood is sourced responsibly from reputable suppliers.
End grain v’s Cross grain:
I use both grain directions in my pieces and consider different factors when choosing. Strength, visual appearance, iridescence, colour variations and figuring are all taken into consideration. They can all add or subtract from the finished piece so I spend some time in examining each piece prior to working.
A burr is an abnormal growth on the tree trunk, usually shaped like a half sphere. It is caused when the tree has experienced some sort of environmental stress or damage. The wood is highly prized in woodcraft due to the beautiful swirling patterns and “eyes”. It is this irregularity that also makes to wood more difficult to work.
These are the beautiful, almost three dimensional ripples running at right angles to the grain of the wood. They are one of nature’s mysteries as no one knows for sure exactly why they are formed.
This is the measure of density of wood. Some woods are less dense and will float on water and some are very dense and will sink. When choosing wood for a project, especially when combining them, it is essential to choose woods that have a similar specific gravity. Wood will expand and contract with temperature and to some degree with humidity. Woods with greatly different specific gravities will expand and contract at different rates so care must be taken.
This is one of the most important processes in making a piece. Rough sandpapers are used to remove all blemishes in the wood and various finer grades are used to give a silky smooth finish. At least two coats of a cellulose sanding sealer are applied and smoothed with very fine steel wool. Sealing wood properly is imperative for the longevity of a piece. I then apply a couple coats of melamine lacquer and buff to a nice shine. The UBC company logo is engraved on all finished pieces.
Wood is a natural material and has certain characteristics. It will expand and contract with heat and to a certain degree with humidity. Do not place the piece in direct sunlight or beside a heat source such as a radiator or fire as this will cause shrinkage of the wood usually to the detriment of the piece. In general, protect from extremes of heat and humidity.
Cleaning can be done with a soft cloth and from time to time a wax polish can be applied but use wax paste not the spray as this can sometimes strip coatings that have already been applied. If you have any questions or concerns please contact me.