“Plastics, Benjamin, Plastics!”

The ulu cutting board is finished, just a couple of coats more of oil. While waiting for each coat to dry, I took the opportunity to experiment with a couple of acrylic pen blanks that I picked up on sale. I’d never turned acrylic before and, after finishing these two, I can safely say that I won’t be doing much of  it in the near (or distant) future. 

Not that it was all bad, there is no grain to worry about, so going uphill or downhill with the gouge is not an issue. The end product is nice and sparkly and colorful; in a sort of Vegas revue type of colorful. No, the biggest issue I had with working with acrylics is the horrible odor during every cut. Sort of like the smell of CA glue (not quite as potent, thankfully) – very unpleasant. Also, once the blank are round, each pass of the gouge produces long strands of plastic that wrap around the turning, so much so that you can’t see where you are cutting. So, you make a pass, pull off the wrapped strands; make a pass, pull off the wrapped strands; on and on and on… And, like those styrofoam peanuts, the plastic bits have a static charge that attaches them to the lathe, the tools, etc.

So, give me some nice figured maple, and I’ll deal with the difficult grain. I’ll take style and substance over flash and sparkle any day. Give me the grace and elegance of a Jaguar XJS over  the speed and eye candy of a Ferrari. (No, please, really; give me a Jaguar!) “Plastics” indeed!

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