Bored, cold & alone…

So it’s been a bitterly cold day down at Riverside house. We even resorted to putting some (shock horror) Elm on the fire. It seemed so cold that even the wood didn’t feel inclined to give up its heat. I knew I was to be abandoned this evening, as the girls, Grandma, Mum and Daughter and Neice were off the pantomime, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to play with the potentially annoying (dental type noises) piercing unit from Woodart Products. If nothing else it might ease the boredom of the day.

So I took a 210mm square of sapele that I’d reclaimed from the firewood pile earlier in the day and turned a very quick round-bottomed square bowl. For no other reason than I couldn’t be bothered to a) find another piece of wood, b) cut it into a disc, and c) I thought the squareness might provide some counterpoint to the piercing. So the bowl, plate, dish, call it what you will, was turned, quickly abraded to 320 grit, and taken home to pierce.

I decided to try to make a conscious effort not to do the usual pattern you see far too often these days, so opted for a larger, more freeform pattern not dissimilar to ink blots. Another reason for the shapes was that such large pierced shapes would provide (perhaps) an even more fragile framework which would test the unit’s capabilities in an extreme situation. The thinking being that a fragile frame and a wildly vibrating tool would not make for a happy ending.

I used one of the two supplied cutters to do the work, and found it to be easily up to the job. The cutter not only pierces but will cut sideways once the cutter is through. The trick, like using a router, is to make sure you cut in the correct direction relative to the rotation of the cutter. The bugbear is when you hit a patch of wild grain, when the cutter wants to wander and skitter, but the variable speed control is a real boon here as reduced speed seemed to lead to better control.

I’d brought some small dremel-type sanding discs and stones to clean up the piercing, but found these were not needed in the end. The cutters produce a nice clean cut and only required a little 320 grit on the outside and inside of the plate to clean up some fuzz.

Compared with the other drive systems I’ve used (and again, I stress that I don’t do a lot of piercing) this unit was faultless in operation. The speed you can work was quite exceptional once you got the feel for it. It didn’t strain or struggle cutting through the 3-4mm sapele, and the action was almost like using a scroll/fret saw such was the control and capability. So all in all I was impressed with it and have already thought how I might use this machine in other ways and on other work pieces. I could see this as a welcome addition to the other off-lathe tools on the work bench.

Here are a few pics of the finished plate after some pyrography was done to the inner edges and upper surface over the piercing. The pictures aren’t terribly good but I’ll take better ones soon.

For those who can’t be bothered to look back for the pictures of the unit, here it is:

I don’t know if Woodart have it one the website yet, but an email may result in any queries being answered.