Phil Irons (UK) textured burr elm hollow form 17x13cm. Signed
I think many of us have started to turn pieces of our favourite wood and found flaws in it or the piece had more rot than initially thought but it’s too good to throw away so we put it in the “I’ll finish that when I’ve got more time” pile. Or am I the only one? I think both these pieces came from Ray’s said pile.
I was fortunate to have two pieces of Ray’s work to finish. They are both Burr Elm, a favourite of Ray’s and mine.
The Ray Key Collaboration Auctionn
The first piece was spalted as well as having a lot of woodworm and rot in it, almost half and half, I filled the worm holes with bronze epoxy (powdered bronze in two part epoxy) as a nod to Ray’s early pattern making days. Before the epoxy had properly cured I went over the whole piece with a filament flap brush eroding the soft rot and texturing the the harder areas including the bronze epoxy.
I normally put a small flare on the opening of my pieces but I kept the shape as close as possible to how Ray had left it and hollowed it out with a reasonable thickness so as not to go through the eroded areas. The finish is three coats of hardwax oil.
The second piece was more of a challenge. For various reasons this was the piece that made me think it was a very early piece of Ray’s work. The fact that it had a good quality Birch plywood glue block plus it had been put on a screw chuck, the shape wasn’t typical of Ray and the fact that it had the bark inclusion in the underside which would have created an unsightly hole.
Ray had partly hollowed it but stopped before he got to the bark inclusion because I think he knew it wouldn’t look right.
What to do with it?
All the time there was Ray in my ear saying “keep it simple stupid”, then I had the idea to invert it. So I glued a piece of Ebony into the opening which also acted as a chuck spigot, then hollowed it through the waste block leaving some of the plywood as a contrasting collar.
I had already pyrographed his name onto the Ebony before I glued it in, positioning it so that it faced the natural opening but it didn’t stand out so I gilded it in copper and then 22ct gold leaf. Now with the interior painted matt black your eye is really drawn to to the disc.
It was sanded down to 1000 grit before applying four coats of hardwax oil and then reverse turned to remove the chuck spigot.
I think he would approve.
The Ray Key Collaboration Auction