Last night I went to the street fair and came up on a guy that said he was as turner/sculptor. I saw he had several vessels that were fairly large in size and allowed me to pick one up to take a close look at it. I asked him a couple questions in a curious way.
First was why he cut out such a large plug in the bottom of the vessel (some 4" plus in size). He told me that it was the only way to control cracking at the center of the log. I told him there are other ways to control the cracking even with the pith in and that started a good conversation about his work.
Second was what he used for a finish - he said he coats them with linseed oil and then uses Varathane - usually a few coats and that completes the finish.
I only mentally critiqued his work because my stuff if far from perfect but I noticed a few things that I didnt like. The sanding was not that great and I could see the sanding lines if you look close in the light. His idea of a vessel is a poor one because while the outside looks like a nice vessel shape the inside was not hollowed out at all and therefore made the vessel very heavy. He had drilled a hole straight down and called it done. The finish had a few spots of what i would call aligatoring in the finish - like maybe he put it on to soon before the oil was dry but who knows. Prices ranged from $20-$85 depending on size which is not bad considering some of the short cuts i suppose.
The wood was myrtle and redwood that he used.
The interesting thing i saw was some hand carved bowls and were not done on the lathe at all but were unique and simply finished with some type of oil and left alone......the finish was like a satin. He told me about the tool he used which was the King Arthur Line of tools. I decided to look it up online and found the website at
There are some videos on U-tube about it also and i thought if anyone was interested they could take a look................its a really nice tool for what it does................Dan