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Started cutting and grinding cabochons for the inlay ring on the top shoulder of the vessel.  Got 5 cut and shaped today.  It looks like there will be about 28 or so required.  Lots left to do and then many many polishing steps.  In the photo these are only ground to 320 grit ... the final product will have 50,000 grit diamond finish.

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I spent 2 days doing inlay work with crushed turquoise and some coal and sanding and finishing the outside of the vessel.  This piece will have a ring of semi-precious minerals such as agate and jasper inlaid around the top shoulder of the vessel.  In the photo you can see the groove I cut into the top of the piece that the polished lapidary cabochons will fit into.  The lapidary work will take more time than I have into this project thus far.

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I spent 3 days hollowing and a day sanding and finishing the inside.  I needed to get that finished so that I could remove the steady rest once completely done with the interior, and then reinstall the tail stock on the lathe in order to support the piece on both ends for the exterior inlay and finishing.

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I have the piece mounted back in the lathe with the steady rest and my deep hollowing tools in place.  It sure is nice to have the proper tooling for hollowing large deep vessels.  It makes it much safer with less wear and tear on the body.  Right now I’m running the lathe at about 250 RPM.  I’ll adjust that as needed as I get closer to the OD of the vessel and the velocity across the cutter increases.  Hollowing generally is at much lower speeds than working on the outside of the vessel.

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This photo gives a good idea of the basic form the piece will take.  I have to do some preliminary inlay work in spots to get a smooth surface all the way round the circumference in the area the wheels on the steady rest will ride.  After I get that done and the steady rest mounted I can begin hollowing.  The hollowing on this large piece will take quite a while I think.

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