Today, I completed the wedging table I originally had in mind for the studio. The table itself is the same 24×26″ rock solid piece Skip and built back in February. It’s still perfect. The wedging surface I’ve been working on has been a plaster board in a wooden frame. It’s been quite servicable, and one that I built. What I really wanted, and now have, is a huge 2-3″ thick slab of tupelo.
Thanks to my buddy David, who did the amazing and turned up huge chunk of tupelo. David gave me a slab that averaged 3″ thick and was approximately 26″x36″. It was huge. Saturday morning I had Dad help me trim it down to fit, and avoided a few minor cracks. The final slab was 24″x 27″. This left a bit of space on the tabletop for the scales and other wedging table accessories. Event at this size, it’s imposing and huge. And perfect.
Today, I threw about 25lbs. of ware. Then when it was drying out, I cut loose the sanders and worked the surface down to a perfect silky smooth. It’s soft and smooth and amazingly nice for wedging. Clay doesn’t stick. It stained a little, though it washed up very easily. We’ll see how well it weathers, but the nice thing is that it can be sanded back to perfect any time.
The challenge in sanding was working out the chainsaw blade texture. While it was cut with a chainsaw, it was expertly done and was as smooth as one might imagine a chainsaw capable of leaving it. Still, it took about 2 hours of sanding with 60, 80 and 240 grit papers to get the silky smooth finish. But it was worth it.
Tupelo is known as an excellent wood for bird carvers because of it’s smooth tight grain. What I didn’t expect was the way the white creamy surface showed grain when I wiped it down with a wet towel. Very nice.
So, thanks for the amazing chuck of wood, David. It will become a part of every piece of Barley Hollow pottery.