In my previous blog post, I talked about some of the woods I liked to use for platters. Once you have decided what type of woods you want to use, the next question is where do you get it? That will depend on what type of wood you want to use, and whether you want wood that is already cut and dried or whether you will use “green”- freshly cut wet – wood that you will need to rough turn and dry first. As noted, I like exotic woods, which must be sourced through an importer, usually online. When I was in Beijing, there was a huge outdoor exotic wood market that I would visit from time to time. I also spent some time in Australia every year and would pick up a few pieces of their incredible burl woods and haul them back. In the US, I often order ebony for finials and other exotic woods for platters or vessels from Cook Woods (https://www.cookwoods.com).
Now that I am back in the US, I like to use big leaf maple, which is common in the northwest. This summer I was going to Oregon for a wedding so I decided to spend a few days with my friend Steve Hatcher, who lives in Olympia. One of the great things about woodturning is you meet a lot of interesting characters. Steve is certainly one of them. This trip he introduced me to another – Don Avery – The Old Man from the Mountain. Don lives in Rochester, Washington and sells high quality round wood blanks, primarily big leaf maple. He has a huge selection but no longer sells online or ships, so you have to go see the man himself.
One of the problems with buying wood is you always buy way more than you should! It’s just too tempting. I ended up getting 15-20 round blanks in various sizes from 10-16 inch. While the initial cost wasn’t huge given the quality of the wood, the shipping (which Steve handled for me – thanks mate) ended up more or less doubling the cost.
Here’s a pic of some of the blanks I picked up.
As you can see, they vary in thickness, and all are considerably thicker than the piece that is being turned on the lathe.
In the next blog, I will talk about the process of preparing the blanks for carving and inlaying.
You can view finished platters at https://www.etsy.com/shop/zenWoodArtCreations.