Article: Holland Van Gores Demonstrates For CMW December 17, 2017

December 18, 2017 10:08, submitted by Tina Collison (author: Alan Wasserman, Photos by Tina Collison)

Holland Van Gores demonstrates for CMW December 17, 2017

The December 2017 Demonstrator was Holland Van Gores. His work has recently been getting lots of attention. The American Woodturner (AAW) magazine featured his work in a Gallery article in April 2017 (click on link at right side of article). Holland was the recipient of an Excellence Award from the Professional Outreach Program Instant Gallery Awards at the Kansas City Symposium 2017; photos of all the award winners was published in August 2017 (click on link at right side of article). He was also 1st place winner in the Henderson County Arts Council's "Bring Us Your Best" competition and is featured in several galleries in the area. Holland hails from Pisgah Forest, NC. Check out some of his work at:

CMW members were yet again honored to have a fantastic demonstration by one of our own members Holland Van Gores. After living and working in the United States Virgin Islands for 34 years, Holland decided in 2012, to move himself, tools and family to our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Besides being inspired by some of our renowned turners, Holland also creates forms inspired from the undersea life he witnessed during his many scuba diving experiences. He also uses forms that are common in our day to day life such as onions, eggs or many other natural forms. Ancient Greek forms have also been an inspiration to his work.

The demonstration was broken down into two projects, both of which had an overlapping theme of unconventional hollowing and embellishment with rotary and reciprocating tools and further enhanced with coloring. He still encourages turners to learn conventional hollowing to broaden their overall experience. The first project was a small “hollow” round vessel. The second project was a larger oval shape hollowed vessel. Instead of the conventional hollowing process, the demonstration involved the turning, parting, carving out the center of both halves, gluing back and fine tuning the form.

Safety precautions were first discussed. Shared was some sage advice as:

 Keep fingers on your side of the tool rest
 Face shield
 Dust protection more than just a dust mask
 Speed only as fast as you need and not any faster
 Be aware of the possibility of the wood splitting during higher RPM

The round vessel began with a rounded 6” x 3” (+/-) piece of unseasoned poplar, mounted between centers. Shape your desired form (using the side of your roughing gouge with an erasing motion to clean up the form). Create a tenon on both ends. Remount on a four-jaw chuck.

Once satisfied with your form, part with a thin parting tool, part near the widest portion of the form. The half remaining in the chuck, which will end up being your top, should be hollowed (use a hollowing tool and/or bowl gouge and scraper) to a 1/4” thinness (Holland uses a drill depth hole for the bottom). Create a shoulder (1/8” or a bit less) /rabbit as you would in turning a box. Mount the other half, doing the same. Glue together with Titebond II.

Bring the tailstock up with light pressure and fine tune your form (another suggestion to obtain a smooth form transition is to use your skew on its side in a light scraping motion), cleaning up the glue joint and then sand.

Using a Jacobs Chuck, select a drill bit 5/16” or 3/8” and drill the desired hole size in the top of the vessel. Create a Jam chuck with a round protrusion that the top of your vessel (and hole) will fit onto. Using light pressure with your tailstock, finish up the bottom of the vessel to your satisfaction. The final parting of the vessel bottom should be with a saw, not twisting off the nub, as that could tear into the vessel/end grain. (embellishment will be addressed at the end)

The next Oval Shape hollowed vessel creates more challenges but the end result is a very impressive work. At the demonstration, Holland used a larger piece of maple. He mounted the piece between centers. After shaping the piece to the desired form, create a small flat area on both top and bottom to be able to secure a plywood guide block for cutting lengthwise with a band saw. If an oval form is to be created, a predetermined slice of wood needs to be removed from the center lengthwise. This is where the term “Lost Wood” applies and is what give the piece an oval shape.

When creating your form, remember the Golden Rule (2/3-1/3) having your widest part of the form either 1/3 from the top or the bottom). Another tip for viewing the piece taking shape is to have a darker colored material behind the lathe and look at the top of your form as you are shaping and refining.

Now the tricky part…You need to level your piece on a table top or leave it between centers or use your lathe indexing feature to draw an accurate centerline. Either way you will need an accurate fine line down the center on both sides of the piece. This can now be cut down the middle using a centering sled. This will be the method used for a round piece. For the oval shape, a slice must be taken lengthwise as mentioned above. For this method, measure an equal amount, say ⅜’ above and ⅜” below your centerline.

Screw a rectangular ¾” plywood guide block along your upper and lower lines you have drawn. Make sure you set your screws down the middle of your piece so they are not in path of the band saw blade. If your pieces are small, say 8” or less, you can use a pony clamp to clamp both ends of the blank, with the lines to be cut vertical to the band saw table. Cutting outside the lines will allow you to keep your sanding to a minimum.

The next step is to hollow (grind/carve) out both sides to a 1/4” thickness. This does not have to be exact. You can either use your fingers as a guide, calipers or use a drill press with the bit set to leave a wall thickness of say 5/16” or a depth down to 1/4”. These drilled holes will be your depth guide when hollowing. Depending on the size of your work, you can hollow out with an angle grinder or something less aggressive like an Arbortech or Proxxon. The hollowing will extend right through the very top and bottom since you will be adding a top and bottom to the piece. This allows the finished piece to avoid having a seam or joint showing.

Next sand the two halves flat using sandpaper glued to a flat board. Make sure both joints are smooth and there are no gaps. Apply Titebond glue, rub slightly together and clamp gently not to distort the shape. Once dry, sand off all glue residue and assure the joint is clean and the form is to your liking. Next, create a flat top and bottom, using the same method you did for the two halves. Use another piece of the same wood to attach for your top and bottom. Use a slightly thicker scrap for the top but glue with a couple small areas of CA as you will be separating to hollow the inside of the top after you create your spout. After turning the top, separate, drill your desired size hole for the opening and hollow/grind to 1/4” thickness, sand the side flat and then re-glue but this time with Titebond. After all is dry, carve and sand smooth to merge the bottom and top to the form design.

Embellishment is of course your design of choice. Holland’s choice was to use a reciprocating carver with a Flexcut half round cutter (you can use a “V” shape or a mix of any other of your choice) and cut from the middle down and then turn around and go from the middle up, following lines that will follow your form. Holland first sprays the form with a light spray of black paint to highlight his area’s to be carved. When carving remember that the carving line should be in an arch leading and meeting up to the top or down to the bottom. Your carving and paint should extend over all three joints to hide them. Try to mix up the carving rather than straight lines. Do not follow a pattern. Once groves are carved, you can lightly sand with 220 Grit or use a furniture scraper to cut off any carving splintering prior to painting.

Coloring can be accomplished in many ways. Holland uses either milk paint or acrylics. He starts with black milk paint. After 30 minutes of natural (you can speed drying with a hair dryer or fan) drying, go to your next color and so on. Once dry, gently sand with 220G by hand or an orbital sander. this will expose the different colors you have applied. Remember that the last color you apply will be the dominant color. Burnish vigorously with fine steel wool to smooth out the Milk paint. Finish with a quality wax, Walnut or other choice of oil. Lacquer spray or clear Krylon is also an option.

Thank you, Holland, for sharing your techniques for creating such interesting carved, hollowed and painted forms at CMW.

Submitted by Alan Wasserman, edited by Holland Van Gores