My Etsy shop

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Hybrid masks

Hybrid masks


This past week I have been finishing off a batch of 4 hybrid ornamental masks, I say finishing off as the process to make the masks started a few months ago when I buy the Australian burr and start to process it ready for casting.






I have made some of these masks before a few years ago and spoke about how the original idea was based on seeing an ornament (prop) in the background of the TV show Fraiser.

I looked at the shape and quickly seen how simple it would be to make, the first couple I made in wood weren't perfect but I soon developed the process and improved the proportions.

I post all my work on instagram, its a kind of daily blog and I have been a bit gob smacked by how many requests (sometimes demands!!) I have had publicly and by private direct message to make a video showing how these are made.

what is the difference in the culture from the first time I made these a few years ago to now where people think that they MUST be shown how its done and get annoyed when I politely decline?

Its not a secret, the design is not unique and they are not protected in some way, its simply a made up design, but why should I spend my time showing step by step how I make them for others to copy when i am trying to make a living and do not get paid for youtube, in fact I have had to turn the comments of on my current youtube videos due to the hate comments I was receiving!

I think part of it is the difference between a hobby person and a full time person, but there is also something else going on that I cant work out.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

hybrid & stabilised confusion!

Hybrid & stabilised confusion!


Its come to my attention that people seem to be getting mixed up between a hybrid blank and stabilised wood, and in some cases even selling a hybrid blank as a stabilised blank.

What is a hybrid blank?

In general terms a hybrid blank is a resin blank with something (usually burr wood) embedded within it.
like this example that I have made

what is stabilising 

stabilising is a way to make soft or punky woods hard, this is done under vacuum where a special resin is drawn in and then after the vacuum process is over it is heat cured essentially making a piece of wood which will no longer gain or loose moisture.

I have blogged about the process before here and here

Some woods cannot be stabilised as they are already very dense and the resin under vacuum simply does not penetrate.

and just to confuse matters more you can have a hybrid blank which features a piece of wood which has been stabilised.

In summary

just like casting with resin stabilising wood is a very labour intensive process and costly when done correctly, unfortunately there are some ways to cut corners and make it look like the wood is stabilised when actually its not!! so beware of what you are buying and specially how it has been made.



Saturday, 18 March 2017

turned box design

Turned box design


I tend to work in batches and I have been making a batch of turned boxes for a few weeks now.

one of the designs I like to make is the shape shown here in this hybrid box
Hybrid box

hybrid box
I was asked if I could keep the concave shape on the side of the lid but increase the width of the opening to make the box more practical for my customers storage needs.

This spalted beech box was my first attempt.
spalted beech box

spalted beech box

and then I went on to try tow more boxes in olivewood and camphor burr each time slightly altering the proportions.

olivewood box

camphor burr box
I enjoyed exploring this design and will hopefully make more in the future.



Sunday, 9 October 2016

Masur birch box

Masur birch box

I love masur birch and have wanted to make a larger masur birch box for quite a while now but I cant seem to find masur birch spindle blanks in sizes larger than 65mm square. 

So I recently bought a 60mm thick by 180mm square cross grain bowl blank from Feines Holz in Germany.
I knew that cross grain boxes can be a challenge but masur birch cuts so cleanly I hoped I could make it work.

I cut the blank into quarters, to give me four pieces 90x90x60mm


I turned some scrap wood and attached them to the blanks with epoxy glue.


I cut the blanks on the bandsaw giving the base of the box 5mm extra than the top to allow for the tenon 




At this stage I set the wood aside for a week or so in my house to settle, i knew it wouldn't take too long as the wood was already at 9% moisture content when i bought it.


once happy that the wood was dry and stable I then turned the clam shell style box.

The glue blocks worked well and allowed me to use this thinner material to its full depth.






Saturday, 17 September 2016

You never can tell...

You never can tell..


Its been an odd sort of week since my last post:

I was contacted about doing a demo again.... which I have had to turn down again!

I have been worrying about my lathe and lack of space and whether to get a second lathe... again!

and after spending a small fortune on a new camera.. I had a 30 second mobile phone video go viral!

and its that that relates to the title of this post as it has happened to me a couple of time now where what I think is a brilliant piece of work drops like a lead balloon and then a quick phone picture or video takes off like a rocket!!

why does one thing get picked up and shared and another does not? is too complicated for me to understand but it is certainly a nice feeling when it does happen as it not only boosts my confidence and picks me up but also boosts website traffic and traffic to my etsy shop.

Here is the video that went well on Instagram with 260k views
A video posted by George Watkins (@from_the_tree) on




And here is a similar video that went well on my facebook page.