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Turning Stone

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Mike Johnson, Dec 23, 2017.

  1. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Does anyone recall the scene in The African Queen where Humphrey Bogart attaches the prop blade with a simple forge and hammer? Amazing what can be done with very little. My father knew an excavating contractor that had this motto- The difficult we do right way; The impossible just takes a little longer.
     
  2. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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  3. Andy Chen

    Andy Chen

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    [/QUOTE=Thank you Andy for this information, I am very interested in Alabaster bowls and vases./QUOTE]

    You are welcome, Lamar. Alabaster is soft and easy to turn but it is tricky because it is too soft and crumbles easily. Fortunately, Max is kind enough to share his knowledge, http://www.maxkrimmel.com/Alabaster/AlabasterMain.html.

    I am attaching the picture of a small alabaster vessel (about 2" tall) I turned.[/QUOTE]
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
    charlie knighton likes this.
  4. Owen Lowe

    Owen Lowe

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    If we’re posting alabaster stuff…

    In addition to Max Krimmel, Guy Michaels has some very nice looking pieces. I especially like the segmented rims that do not follow standard segmenting. http://www.alabasterbyguymichaels.com/

    The pics below are some turnings I’ve done with alabaster:
    Alabaster Tealights1.jpg
    Tea lights from white Italian alabaster with blackwood rim and leaf base.

    _DCS8648_Edit_Edit1.jpg
    6” bowl from “spotted comb” alabaster from Utah.

    _DCS86492.jpg
    3” Orange alabaster vessel with cocobolo rim and foot.
     
  5. Andy Chen

    Andy Chen

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    Very nice alabaster turnings, Owen.
     
  6. RichColvin

    RichColvin

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    Owen,

    Where do you get your alabaster ?

    Rich
     
  7. Owen Lowe

    Owen Lowe

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    Practically all of my stone comes from a quarry in southern Utah, Alpine Gems (https://www.alpinealabaster.com/), though the Italian alabaster came from Colorado Alabaster Supply (http://coloradoalabaster.com/this-is-a-test/italian-alabaster/).

    I met the folks at Alpine Gems when I travelled through a few years ago while visiting family. They are very easy to work with and I always choose stones that will ship flat rate. (The USPS flat rate boxes are barely holding on when the rocks arrive, held together by the packing tape alone, but every stone has arrived in one piece.)
     
  8. Andy Chen

    Andy Chen

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    Thanks for the source info, Owen. I was wondering where you got all that alabaster with beautiful dark veins, too. I bought some from Colorado Alabaster a couple of years ago while visiting in Denver but all theirs was just light pink.
     
  9. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval

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    One of the oldest depictions of a lathe is an egyptian wall painting, I actually have somewhere in my computer...
     
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  10. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    When I was about 8 years old, I had two uncles who were big into tropical fish and exotic aquarium scenery. we traveled to a quarry somewhere in New Jersey, not far from Allentown in Pennsylvania and they filled the car trunk with a translucent green rock that had silvery grey speckles in it. The rock was very soft and they could shape/carve it with saws and rasps. I took a piece and rubbed it on sandpaper and made a 4 sided pyramid. Then we used a cloth and some powdered household cleanser to polish it. They made some kind of Greek ruins looking aquarium decorations with the rocks they had. I had a small piece saved that I tried to mount on a metal lathe years ago. I guess I tried to cut too aggressively and the piece crumbled. To this day, I do not know what the stuff was
     
  11. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    @Perry Hilbert
    Maybe soap stone?

    I know guy who ran across a reference to a soap stone quarry west of Baltimore. After a couple of months of research and many walks in the woods he found the quarry and turned a couple small bowls.
    It is quite soft. Carves and turns easily.
     
  12. Mike Brazeau

    Mike Brazeau

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    We visited the Forum in Rome in the early 80's and I was blown away by the columns of stone, some of which did not look sectioned and probably 20-25 feet high. They look turned but hard to imagine how it could be accomplished.
     
  13. Owen Lowe

    Owen Lowe

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    @Perry Hilbert

    As Al commented, it sounds like soapstone — I don’t believe I’ve ever seen translucent pieces but do know it exists. I’ve bought some small blocks from Dick Blick art stores to play with but haven’t yet. Which reminds me that Blick also carries smaller blocks of white alabaster.
     
  14. charlie knighton

    charlie knighton

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    soapstone is probably easier carved or grinder/dremel...not sure I would trust the chuck hold....
     
  15. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    They usually epoxy the stone to a wood base and then screw the wood base to a face plate.
    That usually provides a solid base to turn the stone on the lathe with. Your biggest worry is
    a major flaw or void in the stone while you are turning the piece. Just like a wood blank you
    need to inspect the piece closely before turning and stop the piece on a regular basis to inspect
    it for flaws once you work your way into the piece. Not sure which one will cause more damage,
    a 10 pound piece of stone or a 10 pound piece of wood? :)
    Staying out of the line of fire would be the best option.
     
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  16. Owen Lowe

    Owen Lowe

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    Just for discussion, I don’t hold any of my stone turnings directly in the chuck. They are much too fragile for that and I want to remove a piece midway through and remount it without having problems. I flatten an area of the stone on a disk sander or flat-platten sander and epoxy on a hardwood glue block. After that, it’s treated just like a wood turning with a glue block.
     
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  17. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    Colorado Alabaster Supply will sand a flat (or more) on pieces if you ask. They're supposed to charge a little extra, and sometimes they do. ;)

    Soapstone is also known as talc and it turns nicely. Both alabaster and talc are common minerals and have been quarried in many places in the US. Most states have an inventory of abandoned mines, as they present numerous hazards, and somewhere on the web is a national database, though I can't locate it just now. In areas around old mines or quarries, you can often pick up pieces of these minerals along roadsides. Our local Tintina Resources talc mine gives samples to those who ask. They get paid best for white talc, so the more interesting light greens and pieces with black specks and streaks are nearly worthless to them.
     
  18. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Anyone that turns Soapstone/Talc needs to be aware of the hazards involved with working
    the material. The fiber particles can easily cause medical problems when they settle in the lungs.
     
  19. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    As in asbestos. High quality dust abatement recommended.
     
  20. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Gary,
    You don't want to scare anyone with words like that, next thing you will be telling us that some
    wood types are toxic and need proper dust abatement. :)
    Just about any type of material deposited into your lungs has the potential to cause problems.
     

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