Making a wooden head

I love being presented new and different challenges. My aunt does some fantastic hand dyed yarn and wanted to know if I could make a wooden head to display hats and scarves made from her yarn. Definitely not my standard project but I was excited to give it a shot. I have a trip down to the look wood pile (I have made reference to this before, it is where a tree service dumps large amounts of great wood!) and picked out 4 different logs that looked like they would be big enough to make a wooden head out of.

3 of the 4 logs I choose

3 of the 4 logs I choose

After cutting the log to what I thought would be a workable length I barely fit it on my lathe! Easily the biggest thing I have ever tried to turn. I’m thankful for my sturdy base, my old lathe table would have shaken its self apart.
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Piles and piles of shavings latter I finally was able to turn it down to a proper diameter. At first I measured my head circumfrence but my wife’s head is a much better size and came out to equal a 7.5″ diameter circle. I seemed to remember that the head has very firm proportions, I could remember what they were so I went with 3rds. If the head was 7″ tall then the neck was 3.5″, that looked good to me so I went with it. Once I switched over to my 4 jaw chuck I did my best to hollow out the top of the head. This was done to reduce the weight and help it dry faster. Once finished It went through multiple microwaving and sitting in the sun to try and get it to dry. After about 4 days of drying I added a coat of butcher block oil to prevent cracking. I’ll be making a 2nd wooden head next so hopefully I will have learned a few things to make it easier.

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