Friday, January 27, 2012


I just finished this piece, Wonder. It started as a "doodle" of sorts, with no plans, direction, or preconceived objective. I'd always thought it would be interesting to play with a board of curly ash but had never found any in the lumber yard, but then, I was looking at a scrap board that had been left over from a shelving project and noticed a little curl in the grain so I figured this was my opportunity. The left side is camferred at a real low angle, maybe 20 degrees? The other side is rounded, also gradually. I also left some of the light planning marks on it. Though I normally go back and clean up any marks I find though the shellacking process, I didn't see the point on making the surface of this one perfect, at least not in that way.
shellac on ash
38" x 8" x 1"
©Robert Hitzig
The difficult part about this piece was in dealing with the extremely open grain in ash. Granted, there are ways to fill the grain that aren't so time consuming, but I also wanted to fill the pores with color and if I filled the grain first, I wouldn't be able to, and if I filled the grain after adding the color, I was afraid the color would be obscured. I ended up doing a partial fill and then used shellac to do the rest, which requires a lot of polishing and then waiting a few weeks for the pores to open back up and then repeating the process many times. There may be a better way to do it but this is what I did this time.

Here is an image of it with a white background and shadows.
 Wonder (white background)
And here is a closeup image. You can see at least one of the planing marks on the far left side. It is interesting how tinted shellac will exaggerate even the slightest imperfections. I don't think it would have been noticeable with any other process.
 Wonder (closeup)

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