All of my urns are hand made by me, the process I follow is one that I have built up over the years I have been turning, the process allows me to produce a top quality product reliably.
Naturally everything starts with the tree, you can read more about my timber sourcing and selection here.
Once in the workshop the process is broadly as follows:
- Final trimming/Preparation. The sections of harvested wood are cut to slightly longer than the finished urn, this is to alow for the spigot I will create to hold in the blank in the chuck. I use various diameter plywood discs to mark out the blanks then cut them out.
- Initial turning and hollowing. This next stage is to what is termed 'roughing out'. Each blank is turned to the desired shape then hollowed out using very specialised tools to remove the interior of each form leaving a unform wall thickness so that the piece can dry evenly. If the wall is too thick the stress and tension created while it dries could be enough for the piece to split apart and if the wall is too thin there won’t be enough wood left to be able to remove the out of roundness. Judging how thick to leave the walls comes from years of experience working with green wood.
- Drying. When I've finished roughing out a piece it is weighed and dated to be able to keep track of the drying process, I have built up a stock of 150-180 roughed out pieces, normally freshly roughed pieces are ready to finish in 4 - 6 weeks while others can take up to a year before they are ready to be taken back to the lathe to be finished.
- Second turning. The dried pieces are taken back to the lathe to be re-turned
- Dealing with voids/cracks and splits from the drying process.
- Application of colour - not in every case. The only reason I apply colour to wood is to enhance the natural beauty hidden in white or pale coloured woods.
- Fitting of the lid. The lids and corresponding inserts are custom made for each individual urn, they are usually made from a very dense hardwood such as African Blackwood, English Boxwood, Holly but it's not esssential. Boxwood and Holly are my favourites to work with as they cut beautifully and have a wonderful workability. What is important for me is that the lids blend with the overall form, complimenting it rather than appearing to be an afterthought, they all have a handcut 12tpi thread which ensures a secure closure.
- Application of finish. The quality of the finish on my pieces is very important to me, I use two types of eco friendly finish, either a waterborne lacquer or a hardwax oil both of which are industrial grade finishes which need no maintenance other than the occasional dusting.
In addition I offer a number of customisation options which would be fitted into my process as needed.