Britain’s Best Woodworker finalist relies on Osmo for unique art work
Radha Sivyer, a finalist on Channel 4’s Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker and owner of Atma Furniture, which specialises in creating bespoke fine furniture using traditional joinery techniques, has recently turned his talents to creating a stunning wall hanging for a meditation room.
The creation incorporates a Sri Yantra, an ancient Indian pattern, while also featuring subtle nods to the client’s family and beliefs. For example, four outer lotuses feature three layers of petals each representing a member of the family.
Made from solid European oak, the project was initially cut using a CNC router to ensure the geometry of the piece was perfect before being adorned with carvings and decorations by hand.
Radha explains: “As it’s being featured in a meditation room, it was important that it blend into its environment – in this case a very light room. So I sought out a lime finish that would give it a whitewashed effect. Due to there being so many small details in the carving and edges of the triangles the finishes needed to be fluid, easy to apply, hold its colour, durable and environmentally friendly.”
To achieve this, Radha turned to Osmo, specifically Oil Stain White 3501 and Osmo Polyx-Oil Raw.
“I chose to use the Osmo Oil Stain 3501 and Osmo Raw transparent oil as a top coat because it suited all of my requirements for the final look of the piece, but also importantly it was the easiest finish to apply,” he adds.
Radha prepared the hanging by sanding from 180 to 240 grit using an orbital sander and multitool for the tight spaces. All the carvings were sanded using a rotary carver with a 240-grit sanding attachment. A hard brass brush was then used to scrub out the soft grain of the oak which would later be filled using the oil stain giving the distinct lime washed effect.
The Osmo Oil Stain was applied using a clean, lint-free cloth. “The oil stain ended up being easy to apply, and once dried seems durable and is holding its colour well, despite being in direct sunlight. On top of that the eco-friendly factors are a massive bonus and really tie this meditative project in a neat bow,” says Radha.
For the flat surfaces, Radha applied the stain, leaving a small amount of excess on the surface to cure for 5-10 minutes before buffing it off with another clean cloth. The carved details required some additional attention, so he used a large soft bristle brush lightly dipped into the oil then worked it into the carving to cover every spot. Again it was left to dry for a few minutes before another clean brush was used to work away the excess, a process that took around three hours.
The raw transparent oil was then applied using a rag on large surfaces and bristle brush for the details. A thin coat was applied across the whole piece, taking around 30 minutes. It was then left to sit overnight and the next morning it was cured, adding an extra layer of protection to ensure the longevity of the piece.
The process didn’t run entirely smoothly, though, as Radha recalls: “In one place I accidentally left a fingerprint of oil on the piece, but by using the back of a chisel I could scrape it clean and reapply the oil within minutes. Any repair work needed on the piece was quick to rectify.”
The final result is a beautiful wood carving featuring intricate details and finished to perfection. Radha concludes: “I couldn’t be happier with the final result, the stain was a perfect consistency and colour, and could have easily been layered up to make it even whiter. The piece shimmers in the sunlight and has a beautiful sheen when caught from the side.”