Occasionally Asked Questions
The following questions were prompted by recent article and discussion of Concentrated Dishwashing Detergent as a treatment for wood.
Please do Google search for "Ron Kent, detergent" for further information, including third-person evaluation and discussion".
We would love to hear your question - ask it here.
Ron, I've seen some beautiful bowls make from "Cook Pine." Can you tell me more about it?
Jim , (California)
im, Hi...........Yes, Cook Pine has become very popular with woodturners, especially in Hawaii where it is virtually free. It is quite similar to the Norfolk Pine that I have been using, except a lot more common. Ron
Love your web site. Is the soap you are using "dishwasher detergent" for a dishwasher (Kirkland brand is green in color) or is it dishwashing liquid for the sink (Kirkland brand is orange in color). My wife (the real turner in the family)says the green stuff is the wrong one. Thank you,
Kent Brookins, Washington DC
Hi.......C'mon, Kent, how long have you been married? :-) Of course she's right!
It's the orange colored stuff (though other brands may be different colors.) I notice that Kirkland has stopped calling it "detergent" on its main label. They now call it "Dishwashing Liquid", still stressing its anti-bacterial qualities. I did get an email from someone who had tried the dishwasher product and wasn't very pleased with the results. Even on the right stuff, don't expect miracles.....just tendancies, seems-to's, somewhats, and oftens. But it sure does seem to help in the things I mentioned. Good luck in your own experiments with it. Ron
I'll bet you hoped my visit would answer all my questions and keep me from bothering you...but it just brought up more...sorry. What proportion of sawdust do you mix with the resin to plug the pipe in your home made chuck? What kind of resin do you use? How much material do you leave on the side of the pipe when you drill it out? Do you know what kind of material the turner who imbeds the pinecones in resin uses?
Thanks again for sharing your time. I really learned a lot. Somehow the 1 1/2" wide strip of shaving that I brought home isn't quite as thrilling to my friends as it is to me...but they just don't know! My husband was quite impressed once he realized it wasn't just a piece of dried up masking tape! Would you mind if I wrote a short article about my visit to your shop for our club's newsletter? Thanks. Sally
Ron to Sally: Sally, I'd like to introduce you to my friend Bob Endreson. Bob, meet Sally. Suggest you two exchange a few emails about our shared interest in woodturning. And maybe about your mutual friend Ron Kent, and his sometimes grumpy attitudes towards.....oh, but that will show up in context, below.
I'd be complimented (I hope) if you wrote the article. As for your questions....I'm a little concerned that you missed my main message: the fun and satisfaction of figuring these details out for yourself!! It's not a matter of keeping a secret. You certainly saw that I was pleased to show you everything I do. Now it's time for you to experiment, improvise, and develop your own techniques to share with the rest of us. Ron.
Bob to Sally: If there is anything I learned from Ron it is to "find a cure for yourself". The more he doesn't tell me, the more I grow, because it's all the trial and error that leads me to do things I normally wouldn't do while turning, and sometimes I come up with things I wouldn't have thought of if I hadn't tried them on my own. The fact that I know it can be done, having seen Ron do it, makes me want to find my own path leaving my own footprints in the sand and not someone else's. But I must admit, Ron can frustrate the hell out of me at times, by making me bring the best out of myself and not handing it to me on the spot. Good Luck. Bob
The question I would like to ask is in regards to using cynoacrylate glue on Norfolk pine. I often find that it is necessary to use a bit of the stuff here and there to hold in a knot or harden up the pith or seal a crack. I find however that when doing so on Norfolk pine as opposed to let's say Milo, I get a permanent discoloration after applying the finish. It's clearly a case of the glue sealing the wood to a point where the finish can't penetrate. Do you have any thoughts on this?
Yes, and it was a common occurrence on my own earlier work. In fact once I used it as a form of hieroglyphic/calligraphic design enhancement. (Only once, I might add). Here is how I now solve the problem: Save the glue treatment until after you've completed your finishing process.
Aloha Ron. Could you provide some ideas on the care and maintenance of your vessels?
First let's review the "finishing" process I use. After shaping and preliminary smoothing on my lathe, I immediately immerse the completed vessel in a large vat of "Danish" oil and allow it to soak at least over-night. I then sandpaper it while still oily, wipe the surface dry, and allow it to stand at least 24 hours. The cycle is repeated a dozen or so times, then modified slightly by applying oil as I sandpaper, rather than total immersion. Each vessel will have at least fifty such cycles over a period of months, before it is ready to be shown. The uniquely porous nature of Norfolk Pine allows it to soak up the oil which gradually polymerizes and hardens within the wood. Thus the "finish" on my vessels permeates the wood fibers. It is part of the vessel, rather than merely a surface coating. See also "Oil Stalactites" in Technique section.
Ongoing care: Occasionally apply any of the readily-available furniture oils or "Danish"-type products. How often? My preference is once or twice a year. (My wife does it weekly on the wood in our house). Important to wipe thoroughly dry after. And once each year use very fine steelwool (0000-grade, from any hardware store) to apply a coating of clear paste-type wax (Johnson's or Trewax floor-wax, Simonize auto wax, to name a few). This will remove the inevitable gradually buildup of surface scum and restore the satin texture of the wood. The steelwool is the important part of this process. I usually use a fresh pad of dry steelwool for a final buffing and burnishing, actually removing virtually all the wax I had previously applied. (Please don't ask for further explanation or rationalization. It just feels right to me.)
These methods have evolved over the many years I've been working with Norfolk Pine. They have been tested over the full spectrum of temperature and humidity environmets across the country. I'll welcome the opportunity to discuss further, at any time. (Additional background, description, and discussion also available at www.ronkent.com )
Aloha Ron. I would like to know if what looks like heart stained wood in norfolk is always problematic to turn? I just got some that was cut a couple of days ago with large areas of stain surrounding the pith. Upon turning, I found the wood in the stained area punky. Is this usually the case?
Sounds to me like the thing I call a “Splotch”...jagged earth-tone discoloration around the center of the log; varies from mildly interesting beiges and tans to vivid, dramatic rich browns, often with darker border. It seems to be caused by a chemical the living tree secretes as protection when it is attacked by termites, or otherwise distressed. The wood in this area often very different from non-discolored parts of same log, and usually more difficult to cut cleanly; subject to tearout and chipping. No real “cure,” but take a look at the section on my web-page talking Concentrated Dishwashing Detergent. This is exactly the type of application I envision for the process, and it has helped me considerably with these logs.
Are there other detergents, or other, inexpensive liquids which function as well,or better? I do not use Costco..
The key words here are "concentrated dishwashing detergent". That's ing, not er. Palmolive, among others, makes it. Most large drug, grocery, and discount chains sell it under their own brand names, identifiable by similar wording on labels. Safeway's band is "Select."
I use primarily local wood such as maple, pear, apple, holly. Will your great technique work for these woods?
Don't know if, nor in what ways, or how much. Have received reports from some other woodworkers who have indeed found it helpful on fruitwoods.
As I understand it most turners "rough turn" and then put bowl aside for 3 more months to distort. You speak of "setting the work aside for a few days. Is this the same thing? Will bowl soaked in detergent no longer need to sit for several months before turning to final shape? Have I misunderstood?
I've seen the rooms full of rough-turned bowls in many other turners' shops, but that has never been my technique with Norfolk Pine. I seldom wait as much as a week between rough and finish turning, and will go straight through to finish on semi-dry (three months after tree comes down) logs. And yes, the C.D.D. seems to enhance cutting and sanding three or four days after application...as well as right away.
Thank you so much and I apologize for asking so many naive questions.
I'm complimented that you asked and hope my answers were helpful and not overly preachy. Hope you'll keep in touch and send me an occasional photo or digital image of some of your work. And more questions as they occur. Most answers will be much less lengthy than this, and I'll let you know when I've had enough.
Ron...I've been reading your various articles with interest. Particularly want to know how you developed your ability to "think outside the box."
Ron...I am a beginning hobbist woodturner who really wants to improve his work. What is the best place for me to go to improve my knowledge and techniques?
Your own workshop.
Ron...I have recently become interested in turning wood, particularly norfolk pine. I have visited with elmer adams and have attended the big island woodturners meeting where i spoke with ••••• amongst others. I am also registered to attend a hands-on class with •••••• at the end of the month. My question is whether you are offering classes which I might attend on Oahu. I understand that you are the originator of the translucent finish, which I most admire. I have a fair amount of experience working with my hands, majored in ceramics in college, have been a builder for over 25 years, and - although a total beginner - feel I am not a slow learner. I look forward to hearing from you.
Certainly pleased and complimented by your request. I'm looking forward to meeting you and spending time together. I wouldn't be a good teacher of woodturning. I'm totally self-taught and have never had the patience (or interest) to watch others work, hence my own methods and techniques tend to be unconventional. And my idea of teaching pretty much is leaving somebody largely alone. I will welcome a visit any time and show you everything I do and how I do it. Probably put you to work roughing out one or more vessels (which I'd want to finish). I'll always be pleased to answer any questions.....and I'd be interested in learning more details of your own background. Sounds like you live in Hawaii. Big Island? Wherever, why not give me a call for further discussion? (808) 263-6658.
What are your latest discoveries?
Hmmmmm, "discoveries"....Hard to answer without a whole lot of background. Let's save this for another day.
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