A Mushroom in Apricot

This woodturning project is a small natural edge mushroom in apricot. I saw Walt Weis at the Oregon State Fair making his version of mushrooms. The mushroom is 3″ tall, and a little over 2″ across the cap and finished with mineral oil and beeswax. The wood is green or wet apricot harvested about 9 months ago. Already in 1 day, the drying process has created some interesting irregularities in the mushroom cap and stem.

Walt turned his mushrooms a little off axis to elongate the mushroom cap. The challenge is in the mushroom’s cap. With the offset axis and irregular edge, it’s hard to find the edge or to ride a gouge’s bevel. On the outside of the cap, I’m cutting a lot of air. On the inside of the cap, it’s very easy to catch the wood. Any catch here would destroy the delicate cap.

Rot in the wood was a challenge. I had to discard several inches of my blank to find enough sound wood. I intended to keep the bark on the natural edge. I treated the bark with CA glue a couple of times but it still flew off later. Oh well, I still have the natural edge of the wood itself.

This video also shows the danger of using a cloth on a lathe. My paper towel got caught three times. Had it been cloth, I would be nursing a mangled hand now. I would not wear a glove when working a lathe for the same reasons.

The finish is mineral oil and beeswax in a 75%/25% ratio. This is Eli Avisera’s recipe. Beeswax has a fringe benefit of smelling like honey when you use it. On this mushroom, I used the oil/wax also as a sanding compound. It both lubricates the sand paper and captures the dust that would otherwise go into the air.

I’ll be making more and larger mushroom; size will always depend on the available wood.

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