Prairie Skies II

This started out as a really ugly log. This is another one where I can’t decide which is my favorite side. I’m over the moon at the figure and coloring in this one.

The wood came from the North Dakota farmstead of my immigrant grandparents.

Boxelder. 5 inches diameter, 4 1/2 inches high. Teak oil, topped of with friction polish.

Caragana sphere

Caragana sphere

I’m sensing a trend here.

Caragana is a shub native to Mongolia and Siberia that was introduced to the United States in the 1700s as an ornamental. It’s common in the upper Great Plains. The wood is beautiful, but it never grows very large. This sphere is barely over 2 inches in diameter, and the branch it came from was about 2 1/4 inches.


Figured green ash sphere

This is my first attempt at sphere turning. The basic concept is simple: Turn a rough sphere between centers, then rotate it 90 degrees and turn off the high spots, then rotate it 90 degrees again and turn off the high spots. But it does take a bit of finesse to make sure you get it properly centered each time.

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I’m pretty happy with this one; the way the figuring in this green ash shifts in the light is fascinating.

3 1/2″ diameter, friction polish finish.

Not bad for firewood

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A local company salvages timber from buildings being torn down as well as urban trees being removed, and every once in a while they offer some of their “scrap” free for the taking as firewood. Being the frugal (a.k.a. cheap) guy I am, I brought home a load. One piece of poplar looked like it had potential so I chainsawed in in half to find some fun figuring. Here’s the result. 5 1/4″ high, 5″ diameter. Teak oil finish.

Silver maple bowls

Silver maple bowls

I just finished a couple of silver maple bowls that I had roughed out back in July. The first one had the beginnings of some spalting, and when you hold it up to the light, you can see that there’s a bit of curl.

Bowl #166 (8)

11 1/2″ diameter, 3″ high. Walnut oil finish.

The curl in the second one is more pronounced. I gave this one a little foot to lift it off the tabletop just a bit.

Bowl #167 (11)

12″ diameter, 3″ high. Walnut oil finish.

Here’s a peek at the curl. I’m always tickled when I find some of that in one of the pieces I turn. It’s like unwrapping a present.

Bowl #167 (7)

Oak burl bowls

A friend of mine is the director of a Bible camp in west-central Minnesota, and I volunteered to help out with their spring cleanup this year. Since I own a chainsaw, you can guess what duty I was assigned to: clearing brush and cutting down some dead and diseased trees. Which ended up being a good thing, when I found three burls on a mostly dead oak tree. This was going to be fun!

Bowl #145 (18)

When my daughter saw the first bowl I made from these burls, her immediate comment was “I am Groot.” I hadn’t actually seen those two voids and the horizontal line below them as a face, but now I can’t help but see it. 8 inches at the widest point, 5 inches high.

The next two came from a single, larger burl that also had a few large suckers growing out of it, which ended up becoming part of the rim on both bowls.

Bowl #157 (12)

This one is about 8 1/2 inches in diameter at its widest point, and about 5 3/4 inches high.

Bowl #158 (11)

This one is smaller, at 7 inches at the widest point, and 4 3/4 inches high.

I left them all fairly thick to show of the texture and character of the bark, and they are finished with teak oil.