Woodturning with Jesmonite
When most people think of using Jesmonite they prepare a mould and off they go… not Adrian Jacobs.
The Exeter-based woodturner is applying everything he knows about woodturning to the material in a never before seen technique that is breaking boundaries and making waves.
Adrian, who has been woodturning for 35 years, has spent just over a month working with Jesmonite – glueing and inlaying it into turned wood pieces and also turning it on a home built ornamental lathe. He also does demonstrations for other woodturning enthusiasts.
“I think the woodturning community could get very interested in working with Jesmonite,” he said.
“People were fascinated when I did demonstrations and there is so much you can do with this material.
“I had been trying to create a marble effect with polyester based resin products for some time and not got the results I was looking for. Over the last few weeks I have been doing some trial and error testing with Jesmonite.
“It is very easy to work with, it turns quite easily with special tungsten carbide tipped tools and it gives a very pleasing effect.”
Adrian, who has a basement workshop at home which even the most experienced woodturners would envy, has made a wooden pot with a Jesmonite lid, glued Jesmonite to wood turned bowls, created chess pieces out of Jesmonite and thinks it could be used for much more. You can see a video of one of his techniques on YouTube here.
“I don’t think there is anybody else doing this,” he said.
“In my internet searches, what I have found is mostly about using moulds and trays to make homeware and jewellery. All of this is similar but in different designs and colours – this is something completely different.
“I am interested in breaking boundaries and I think Jesmonite could be used as a substitute for ivory.
“It could be used to fill cracks in bits of wood and many other things.
“If you make a block of Jesmonite from a wooden tube then you can turn that block into whatever you want – chess pieces or anything at all.”
The former health service manager first saw Jesmonite at a local craft fair in Devon, England, where a stall was selling trinket trays.
He looked at it and thought Jesmonite had potential for his plans.
Since then, his experimenting has led him to trial with a vibrating table, added a couple of drops of washing up liquid or water to help get rid of bubbles and even built a homemade vacuum chamber.
Adrian has written two articles on Jesmonite which will be published in the Woodturning Magazine this year and he thinks there will be a lot of interest.
You can pick up the pieces he makes at Maker Mart craft shop in Gandy Street, Exeter.
And you can follow him on YouTube – expect to soon see more videos demonstrating his homemade vacuum chamber to get rid of bubbles, advice on what to do with leftover bits of Jesmonite, how to do inlays into bowls and how to turn a chess set (maybe just a few pieces rather than a whole set though!).