Friday, September 17, 2010
Wood Base for Sculpture
This weekend I'm preparing a wood base for a ceramic sculpture, so I decided to research wood finishing. At the local hardware store I found so many products used to treat wood I was overwhelmed. Since the wood I'm using is a locally harvested, sustainable wood and considered semi-exotic due to it's unusual grain, I thought I'd use a surface which is both durable and reversible. My thinking is the surface I put on the wood could be refinished in the future if need be. In this way I hope to ensure the longevity of my ceramic sculpture.
I learned there are two types of surfaces which can be applied to wood. One surface is evaporative and the other surface is reactive. Basically the evaporative surfaces can be reversed and the reactive surfaces cannot without much sanding or damage to the wood. Evaporative surfaces soak into the wood and the carriers or solvents evaporate and leave the surface. Reactive surfaces penetrate the wood and bond chemically with the wood and create in essence a different chemical composition within the wood.
I'm only using a one inch thick base for the sculpture and I prefer to apply an evaporative surface to the wood. The two surfaces available as far as I could research are wax and nitrocellulose lacquer. Since most lacquer containers don't specific the type, I decided to choose a wax finish for my wood. No polyurethane, varnish, watco oil, danish oil or others, I am using plain wax on the wood surface. After the carrier in the wax evaporates, the wax is left and is reversible. Just what I want.
Today I'm taking measurements, making a template, cutting the wood, sanding with numerous grits of sandpaper, woodburning my signature on the bottom of the base, then applying the wax finish. Next I'll attach felt pads to the bottom of the wood, epoxy the ceramic sculpture to the wood with two part epoxy and hopefully I'll have a long lasting piece. Please wish me luck with my cutting, sanding, woodburning, waxing, and epoxying.
Not to keep you in suspense, but if all goes well you'll see the finished piece at the Clay and Blogs Show, Friday nibbles on Meredith's blog here. If you can't make it to the show, you can purchase pots in advance at the Arts Council of Moore County online show. Comments and suggestions are welcome.