When I first got my lathe, Peter Brown (of Shop Time) sent me a box of interesting scrap wood to practice on. The one that caught my eye was a big chunk of live-edge (the bark still attached) walnut. This is the story of how I nearly ruined it.
While squaring up the blank on the bandsaw, I could see that there were some cracks running through it. I originally did not think that this would be a problem. I have turned flawed pieces of wood before and can usually work around the problem areas. This time though, the whole thing exploded on the lathe while I was still roughing out the shape.
Boom. If you have never had a piece of wood spinning at 3,000 RPM come flying at you, believe me — it will wake you up.
After I changed my pants, I asked myself “What would Peter Brown do?” The answer: epoxy. I reattached the two pieces with superglue, created a makeshift form with some painter’s tape, and poured five-minute epoxy into the crack. After letting it set overnight (once bitten, twice shy!) I very carefully finished the goblet. I would have liked to thin the stem a little further near the base, but I was concerned that the epoxy would not be enough to hold the piece together. I quit while I was ahead.
If you are interested in woodturning, you owe it to yourself to check out O.B.’s Shine Juice. Made of equal parts denatured alcohol, shellac, and boiled linseed oil, Shine Juice is very similar to a classic technique called a French Polish. The only differences are that you do it on the lathe and it takes minutes, not hours. The high speed and friction of the lathe set the shellac almost instantly and buff it to a high gloss. As a bonus, you do not even have to take it off the lathe first.