Last time, I was ready to begin sanding. Lots of sanding....
I usually start at around 80 or 100 grit - especially for the larger areas like the bowl. This first grit of sanding inevitably reveals little connections and overlaps that I end up wanting to carve to refine a little further, again, this time more than usual. I think I even made 4 or 5 new piercings, not to mention sharpening lots of little corners, and maybe even a little slight re-shaping here and there. With all the nooks and crannies, the needle files were a big help this time, too. So, I find that the first pass probably takes 4 or 5x as long as any other grit. I assume, also that the reason for that is because I don't carve nearly as cleanly as someone like Dave. That means more shape refining in my first pass. It's probably been years since Dave's had to deal with that issue.
Next came 180, 220, 400, 600 and 800. In these pictures, it was at 800, and still drying the first time. You can see, the scratches are pretty much gone, but the surface still looks pretty rough after wetting it this first time. Through these first several grits, my main focus is removing scratches from the previous grit, or from the carving tools as well as I can. By 600 or 800, it starts to get a sheen, and it mostly stops creating dust. At this point, I like to wet down the spoon with water to bring up the fibers of the wood (I just pour water all over it). Then, I repeat 800, wet it again and see if it roughs up any more. Once it doesn't rough up after wetting it, then I move on to the remaining grits.
So - it looks rough here, because those little fibers are all standing up, but it wasn't long now, before I was through all the rest of the grits (about 9 more). Probably only 3 hours or so.
At this point, I think of it more like polishing than sanding, so I don't feel the need to get all the way into every nook and cranny with these very high grits. Of course, that's why these higher grits go so quickly. There's no more dust, and no more scratches, but if I can see a difference in the polish with each grit, then I keep going until either the polish stops improving, or I run out of grits. With most of these harder woods, that's usually 12,000.
Someone said something about video... so, I figured I'd give it a try. I don't think I'm any good at it - hope you don't get motion sickness watching it! Anyway, here it is, with the sanding all done...
Last thing - maybe a coat of oil to protect it a bit... Earlier, I was thinking it might be better to just leave it sanded, not oiled, but after seeing how dirty it got from handling it, I changed my mind, and decided a coat of oil would be a good idea. Also, I finished it on a Saturday, so I couldn't mail it until Monday anyway, so why not?
Here are some pictures against a medium-color background, just for a change of pace.
Well, time for me to part with this thing. That was really really fun! Thanks, Dave & friends at Americymru for letting me be a part of this! I can't wait to see Dave bring the top alive, and pull the whole thing together - It's definitely becoming reality. My only regret is that it took me so long. Sorry, Dave! Don't forget to get your tickets - you really won't want to miss your chance at this one!
Next, packaging it so it won't break in the mail, and then we all get to see Dave make it into something really special!