Wenge, Brass and Soapstone

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guitarchitect

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Sep 8, 2020
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Toronto
This was a fun one!

I was pulling my summer tires out from under the front porch and an oppossum had found its way under them, made a nest, and subsequently passed on. It stank. So I had the unenviable job of extracting it. In the process of cleaning out the nest, I found a bag with rocks in it - I knew when I picked it up (even with thick rubber gloves) that it had to be soapstone. Exciting! A couple google searches later and I was pretty sure I could turn it... it sure was soft.

I only had two hours in the shop so I grabbed some wenge, some brass, and glued up a quick blank with medium and thick CA. Originally I wanted Walnut but I'm glad I used the wenge (and I'm also glad I remembered to line up the grain correctly!)

So here it is - I always seem to manage to scuff the metal bands and not notice it until it's well under the CA finish, but live and learn. I'll be interested to see if the finish holds up on it, or if it lifts/bubbles away. Had to be extra careful with sandpaper because if you press even a little the soapstone grinds away in no time, and I didn't want to hollow it out!
 

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egnald

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Jun 9, 2017
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Columbus, Nebraska, USA
Great Pen - I really like wood and stone combinations. I have a bunch of blanks made up and trimmed to round but I haven't turned them yet. I hope they turn out as nice as yours did. - Dave
 

guitarchitect

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Joined
Sep 8, 2020
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36
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Toronto
Thanks for the kind words everyone! For those that like the finish, it's GluBoost using the @mg_dreyer techinque from his youtube channel.
I've found my own tweaks to the approach - with open-grained wood after sanding at 240 I do a wet-sand with a layer of thin CA, which does a really good job of closing up all of the open pores. Sometimes I have to do it a second time, but that was only necessary with Bog Oak which is also quite brittle. I also find than on a regular/stabilized wood doing a flood-coat of thin will give the grain more depth and make it pop a little more - in this case it also helped stabilize the soapstone a little bit. Typically I only sand up to 600 grit before the flood-coat and then starting mark's method (3 layers medium, two thin), but on denser woods I will sometimes flood it at 240 so that it penetrates well. I think i did 4-5 coats of medium here to help even out a bit of the hollow I felt at the soapstone.

@Mr Vic I wish i had thought of that, haha!
 
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