A neighbor had some serious pruning done to an ornamental plum tree in this back yard. Knowing I turn just about anything that's wood, he came over with a piece and asked if I'd like to try turning some. The guy doing the pruning still had his chainsaw out and cut up the stuff I was interested in to manageable sizes. The heartwood had some promising reds and oranges and even a little purple in it that looked promising. Having already acquired and used some small hollowing tools making christmas tree ornaments - out of dry wood - I figured I'd try hollowing some "green wood".

Hollowing these things was a bit different than doing christmas ornaments - wet wood, larger diameteres, small holes WITH a neck to hollow through - AND - the "pith in". The "pith in" presented some interesting "challenges" I'll get to later. Getting the right "fair curves" that flow one into another nicely wastn't as easy as it intially seemed either. With these forms there are no beads or coves or grooves to hide transitions in. Even a little flat between curves stands out like a sore thumb. Got close - but not quite right - in the first several attempts. But the japanese raku look was worth pursuing.

So I tried again - with the left one below. And of course while doing the final outside finishing cuts - I blew it and got a spiral cut catch on the lower curve. Rather than cut to eliminate the interruption to the lower curve I turned a groove and took the original curve into it on one side and returned a new curve from the bottom up to it. I now appeared as a pot sitting in a cup. But that made the pot shape wrong. Another groove, a repeat of the bottom solution and a little reworking of the neck - from Japanese Raku-esque to Chinese Ball and Cups look. The idea has some interesting possibilities that I may get back to - after I get a pinch neck piece I' satisfied with. The one on the right is closer, but not quite right - closer but still not right - the bottom curve needs some refining, this one's two "thick" to my eye.

One interesting problem did pop up with these plum wood pieces - that damned PITH! Turning "pith in" pieces is the PITS!

Seems PITH is a crack generator that causes a turned green "pith in" piece to self destruct. That seems to be Common Knowledge in the wood turners community - "Everybody knows that.".

Funny thing is that Common Knowledge is sometimes based on what's known as "anecdotal evidence" rather than facts. You CAN turn green wood and leave the pith in the finished piece.

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