Charr burning on bowls and vases

Discussion in 'Tutorials and Tips' started by Bob Collins, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins

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    Can any member give me some advice on Charr burning as a finish on bowls or vases. I have seen a finished product and would like some information on the proceure. Thanks bobcol.
     
  2. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    propane tourch, apply heat. More heat burns the surface instead of discoloring, more heat than that will burn deeper.

    If you apply lemon juice to the surface, it will darken with less heat.
     
  3. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins

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    Thanks Steve, have purchased torch, now to experiment, will try the lemon.
    I suppose the best way is to try heat on scrap wood first, is it different wood, different heat. bobcol.
     
  4. LHauch

    LHauch

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    I read an article somewhere (probably in the AAW Journal) about heating a couple of pounds of nuts and washers in an old coffee can, then carefully, with appropriate safety gloves, pour the nuts and washers into the bowl or vase; rotate and move the bowl/vase around so that they don't sit too long in one spot.
    Repeating this until your reach the desired effect.

    I haven't tried it myself, but I remember the photos from the article, and the results were quite impressive.
    :)
     
  5. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Just about everything you do with the torch will affect the final results. You can also sand or steel wool afterwords to change the look. On natural edge pieces where I remove the bark and burn the edge I use brown or black shoe polish to change the appearance before applying lacquer or sometimes brushing on shellac.
    Try burning with the torch sideways as well as straight down just to see the difference. It changes the way the grain appears or sometimes the summer winter wood lines.
     
  6. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    And different woods will allow different effects. Ash for instance has early wood and late wood that will brown quicker than other species. Torch head distance and patience will yield a whole new way to look at pieces.
     
  7. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins

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    Thanks for the above comments. Looks like it will be another media where time and patience will be the main factor, also getting to know your burner through practice on scrap wood. As pointed outs woods are so different, my first char was on a spalted leatherwood vessel, to much heat and now have a vessel with cracks and gaps where the spalts were. Can be made a feature with coloured filler I hope.

    bobc
     
  8. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Bob I was able to borrow a high end torch and tip from a jeweler for some silver soldering that I had to do. When burning wood with it you have so much more control than with the larger tips. I could easily burn the tiniest areas. This means that you have much more control over the final product.
    Of course if you combine the small torch, fire retardent, and a dremel with scotch brite head you can do what my friend Richard Painter does. The piece is all burned like all of his pieces are. They are incredible. I've photographed some as large as 8' by 10'.
     

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  9. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins

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    Thanks for that John. I have a control on the burner I bought and am experimenting on srap peces of wood to see the different results. Using steel wool to take the char off I am getting results I want. Has Richard Painter an album on site?

    bobcol.
     
  10. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Bob I almost forgot something I learned that has really been useful for "artistic" control. A sacrificial stick. Use the stick to block the flame from hitting parts of the wood. This is really handy if using a large torch but will also let you make reasonable straight charred areas.
     
  11. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins

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    Thanks John, Will try the sacrificial stick, this is going to be a good media to experiment with. Have found Poplar and ash are good for bring out the grain with either a light burn or heavy burn. Surprised more woodworkers have not tried this method in the finishings.

    bobcol.
     
  12. woodturner1951

    woodturner1951

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    propane torches

    from my experience, I have found that more care is required with plumbers torches using propane or mapp gas. For delicate work, the torches that they sell for cooking, creme brulee work very well and are much more forgiving. Depending on what I need to accomplish, I use one or the other.

    If I want to char a large area, I use the plumbers torch as I know I will be cleaning it up afterwards. If I need to char a delicate rim, I use the creme torch.

    As a afterthought, the plumbers torch works much better in making creme brulee. the problem with a creme torch is that in order to get enough heat to burn the sugar, you melt the cream. A plumbers torch burns the cream before the creme even gets warm. I gave my daughter, the cook, a plumbers torch for Xmas one year and after I explained the logic, her creme dishes improves remarkabely. Sorry for the ramble.
     
  13. Scott Barton

    Scott Barton

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    Lots of good info here. What is the next step after you torch a piece? How do you "seal" the char so it doesn't get all over when you touch it? Do you need to knock off the loose particles first?

    I understand there are a million different ways to "get the desired look", but I'm just trying to understand the base procedure.

    Thanks!
     
  14. Ian Thorn

    Ian Thorn

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    Another way is to use a wire brush or brass brush to get a texture ( WARNING ) the burning should allways be done outside.I know thats obviouse but being an ex fireman i have seen the results of things that should have been obviouse ,stay safe out there if you think what if before doing anything it helps to stay safe

    Cheers Ian
     
  15. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    you can seal it with a clear spray, like a Krylon or maybe a fixative.
     
  16. Wayne Spence

    Wayne Spence

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    charred bowls

    I tried Steve Worchesters suggestion of Krylon spray on a bowl I severely charred 2 years ago. Results were satisfactory, some deeply charred areas sopped up the spray and are glossy but overall ok. At least I can pick up the bowl without getting my hands blackened.
     

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