A good mate of mine is in the process of cleaning out a lot of stuff that he has sitting around, not being use and gathering dust. He offered me the Speedy X key at a price i could not resist. It was unused, new in the box. And the key itself is rather smooth and I like it, so today I had a couple of hours free and decided to put it on a base.
I did think about using some exotic hardwood like Padauk or Black Bean, but after searching about for a small block that was suitable, it became apparent that it was going to be a non starter unless i lucked onto a bit. So, in the garage I have some eucalyptus branched that my wife brought home for me to cut up and make into toys for her kindergarten kids to play with. Its been sitting there drying for months now, so i grabbed out one of the bigger bits, cut a diagonal off it to get more surface area and began sanding away to get it looking pretty.
I did not know if it was going to look all that good, so initially i sanded back one side just enough to make its kind of smooth, well as smooth as 80 grit is going be be and gave it a coat of oil. I knew then that I liked what I was looking at and proceeded on.
Not having access to a thicknesser, all i had was the belt sander to use, so I set about sanding the sides to be parallel to each other. The image above I am just checking to see that the overall visual is going to be what i was after.
More sanding and then even more sanding. Eucalyptus has a density of something like 800, so its very very hard. It took about 90 minutes of sanding to get the base to this stage. Once i had the shape I was after, i proceeded to go down the paper sizes to remove most of the sanding marks. 80, 240, 400, 800 and 1000 grit papers in all.
After what seemed like an eternity sanding, I hit it with some wax and gave it a good buffing. I know not everyone is going to like this kind of base. I call it, city meets country. You have the formal and structural elements of how many make their bases plus the informal in that it still looks like a tree. Ying and yang if you like, its very much like who I am.
This is the underside of the base. I think its a very pretty wood. I am very pleased with the result and that the timber is still very natural looking. Sure the key might also look good on some exotic hardwood that has been french polished to within an inch of its life and glows in the dark, but this is very Aussie and that will work for me.