If you want to get off of the beaten path just a bit in your woodshop, one good way is to explore the possibilities of working with materials other than wood. You’ve seen George work with Antler, brass, and most recently, casting resin. Casting resin opens up worlds of new possibilities because you have the control over its color and pattern once you know how to cast resin. Casting resin is not difficult to work with once you understand the basics, and it’s an enjoyable and satisfying material. It is particularly fun to turn on the lathe because it sheers so effortlessly and produces endless streams of soft ribbons.
If you want to try your hand at turning some casting resin, you’ll first want to give some attention to maintaining your lathe so that it is performing optimally and producing minimal vibration. Next, a few tips that will help get you off to a good start.
Traditional gouges or carbide. Either one can work well, so the choice is up to you.
Keep chisels sharp. Whether you use traditional gouges or carbide, you will need to make sure that you are always using a sharp edge. There is no tolerance for dull chisels with casting resin.
Shearing is key. You can produce a clean surface, but you will have to execute well on your shearing techniques. Casting resin does not like to be scraped.
Wet sand. You’ll want to sand to a finer grit than you might normally with wood, and finish with wet sanding followed by an abrasive polish to really bring out the luster of the casting resin.
Have fun with casting resin, and send us a picture of what you produce. And if you want to learn more about woodturning, WWGOA has tons of content for you.