The power of shrinkage

I mentioned a while ago that I got a whole lot of yew from a friendly benefactor. In return I promised to make him some items for his home. Amongst these items are three tall, elegant and simple candle holders.

Now yew is one of those woods that just love to split. I know that (don’t ask me how), and therefore I looked at my little creations and pondered what to do about it. In the end I resorted to drilling a one inch hole through the entire length of the candle holders, it won’t make much of a difference, since in the top there is going to be one of those Ikea glass tea light holders, so nobody is going to see it.

Then I put them aside for a few weeks to dry out a bit before any finish is applied. This evening I decided that the time had come to put the finish on. A little bit of final sanding, some sanding sealer and then my wipe-on poly that worked so well on the yew vase. All good to this point (just before I started with the poly). Final check: does the glass holder still fit in?

And here’s the surprise: it fits, but only on one of them. When I made these, the openings at the top had between 1 and 2mm space. But 2 of them were still quite green, hence the drying period. They have now shrunk so much, that not only have I lost the 1mm play, the glass dish now sticks out on top. Which means I’ll have to put them back on the lathe and figure out a way to widen the openings without completely destroying the shape.

What it did do though, was prevent most of the splitting. In fact, those two holders where the dish doesn’t fit any longer, haven’t developed any cracks at all. So in summary: the method worked, but the result was not anticipated. Need to leave more space to play with. At least I figured it out before the finish went on.

Life goes on…

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