Bud is a friend of mine from an Internet travel forum. I’ve known Bud (virtually) for over a decade, and we’ve become good buddies. He’s old enough to be my dad, and probably glad he’s not. As a WWII Navy vet and retired California Highway Patrol officer with a car racing habit, he has a lifetime of stories that are a joy to read. (Here's a pic of Bud's patrol car and the result of a deer hunting trip a few years ago.) Bud's wife passed away a year or so ago, and he's at that stage of his life where he wants to make sure some of his things will be taken care of and appreciated when he's gone.
A while back Bud contacted me and asked if I could help him with his redwood platter. He had a platter that he’d purchased years ago and it needed refinishing. He knows of my lathe work, and figured I have the tools and materials to get the job done. His only stipulation was that he wanted me to keep the platter when I was done. He felt it was a special piece of wood, and he wanted to be sure it would be in the hands of someone who would truly appreciate it. I told him I’d be honored to refinish the platter, and would be proud to add it to my personal collection of turned pieces. Well, somewhere between taking it down off the shelf and getting it boxed to ship, Bud accidentally dropped the platter, and a chunk was broken off the rim. Nonetheless, he taped the piece back in place and shipped it to me, apologizing for the accident.
When I opened the package from Bud, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Inside the box was a platter, 15″ in diameter, made out of the most stunning piece of redwood burl I’d ever seen. The gloss finish was indeed in bad shape, and sure enough, there was a chunk broken out of the rim, but it looked fixable. Here’s how it looked fresh out of the box:
After a number of steps over the course of a month or more, here's what I ended up with. It's got a very high gloss and smooth lacquer finish over several coats of polymerized tung oil, but the gloss isn't very apparent in these pictures:
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You can see there's a sticker on the back of the piece. This is the label showing who made it, and it also covers the hole where the blank was mounted to the lathe with a screw chuck. Here's a closeup of the label, back in its original position, and also a glimpse at some of the absolutely gorgeous figure in this wood:
I did a long write-up with a lot more pics and put it on my blog. Click this link if you're interested in the rest of the story:
Even though I didn't turn it myself, this is still one of the nicest pieces of wood that's ever been on my lathe. And coming from Bud, it's one of the most cherished pieces in my collection.