Mahogany Sculpture Base

The project for yesterday was to make a mahogany base for a cast bronze sculpture.  The client asked for the base to be about 1.5″ thick and 12″ in diameter.

Two yellow flags right away.  Where was I going to find a board at least 13″ wide (need to allow for waste when turning) and my lathe diameter turning is capacity is 12.5″.

Nothing that wide in my current wood stash, so I called my good friend David Sapp owner of the Woodcraft store here in Nashville.  David hooked me up with a 14″ wide board so I was off to a good start.

The first photograph shows a 12″ diameter hardboard circle (used in our wedding cake) that I keep for reference.

After finding a good center point a divider is used to scratch out the diameter, and then penciled in so you can see it in the photograph. The pencil was given to me by Tom McDonald to help promote his PBS series “Rough Cut”.

A smaller circle is drawn to locate the faceplate as close to the center as possible.

Using a hand plane a small high spot is removed so the faceplate seats perfectly.

Every time I use this plane I think of a conversation I had Lonnie Bird.  “Read the directions, focus and slow down”.

Off to the band saw where the corners are removed.

Even with corners removed the diameter is in excess of 12.5″ so more material needed to be removed.

Pilot holes are drilled for screws to attach the faceplate.

Faceplate is attached.  Typically I like to do this with out power assist as it is easy to strip out a hole or break a screw with a power driver.

Finally the blank is attached to the lathe.

Note the small amount of clearance between the blank and the lathe bed.

Tail stock is moved into place for safety, and the blank is trued.

Using a scraper from Thompson Tools the face is trued.

Sand, stain, and top coat shellac.

After a final rub out with wax, ready for customer.

Final picture with sculpture in a future post.

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2 Responses to Mahogany Sculpture Base

  1. keeping old stuff (12″ circle from wedding cake) CAN be a good thing

  2. Julie says:

    Honey, get back to work on the house.
    Love, your bride. (of the wedding from whence came that circle)

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