Friday, August 28, 2009
Spalted Maple Bangle Bracelet
I have made necklaces and earrings out of various exotic woods already, and I was tossing around an idea for bracelets in the form of bangles. I figured they would be more sturdy and less likely to break, like smaller pieces of wood might be. I used a cheap, pine 2x4 to start out practicing on. Using a 4" hole saw, attached to a drill press, I cut out the outside circle first. I then changed to a smaller 2 1/2" hole saw, and with original circle wedged in place, I cut the center out of what will be the bangle. I then changed out the hole saw for a sanding drum to sand the inside of the bangle smooth, and to get the right fit for my hand. I kept sanding from center outward until I had a snug fit. My hand, slightly cupped, measures from thumb knuckle to pinky knuckle 3 1/4". The inside diameter then measured 2 3/4", which will most likely be the standard inside diameter size I use. On to the belt sander, where I most always start with 80 grit and work to finer grit to shape the square outer edges into round. I use the softest part of the sander, as it gives me a more flexible sanding surface as I round the edges. After I get it nice and rounded to my satisfaction, I use a hand held sanding pad to take out any undesirable spots, and make the outer surface even smoother. The sanding pad is equal to around a 320 grit, which is really fine, but then I take it a step further to a sanding wheel, which is like 400 grit. It sands things so fine that they almost look polished. In the pictures, this is where I have left off, just after the sanding wheel. I haven't finished it yet, but will use a clear coat of something to bring out the figure in the wood. If you look closely at the pictures, you can see all different colors, like greys, different shades of brown, and the natural light colors of the maple itself, which give it a sort of "curly" look. The different shades of the wood are actually the levels of spalting the wood has reached. Spalted maple is maple hardwood with dark veins caused by a pattern of rot or bacteria in the wood. Once stabilized, this wood is very decorative as it often looks like a pen and ink drawing through the wood. Spalted maple can be found most anywhere in the United Sates. To me, the heavier the spalting, the more striking the piece. I will post again when I get a finish on this lovely piece of jewelry.
The new pictures of the finished bracelet have been uploaded. I chamfered (bevelled) the inside edge for your wearing comfort. It was finished with a high gloss lacquer, followed by a coat of paste wax, and buffed to a high shine.