Black locust

Black locust

My friend and fellow woodturner Paul Hedman was given a couple of trailer-loads of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) logs, and generously offered some to me.

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One of the logs had a large branch coming out from it, and when I sliced it open, this was the crotch figure and color that greeted me, so I was eager to get it onto the lathe. Here’s the result:

Bowl #142 (4)

About 11 inches diameter, with walnut oil as the finish.

Here’s a closer look at the grain and the crotch figure…

Bowl #142 (8)

Mountain ash bowl

Bowl #134 (15)

The tree I got this wood from was a larger mountain ash in our neighborhood that had started declining last spring, and my wife “volunteered” me to help the homeowners take it down. I guess I can’t complain too much; the wood that was still sound has some fine spalting.

9″ diameter, 2 3/4″ high. Teak oil finish.

Russian olive

Russian olive

A friend gave me a chunk of a Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) a few weeks ago. I rough turned this when the wood was still wet, and it turned pretty nicely. I put the bowl into a paper bag to let it dry a bit before finish turning it. What a difference a couple of weeks makes! Now that it’s dry, this stuff is HARD. It’s worth it, though; it has wonderful grain, and takes a beautiful finish.

Bowl #135 (13)

Russian olive is an introduced species in North America–it’s native to western and central Asia–but it grows well in harsh conditions and poor soils, so it’s fairly common in my area. They never grow very large, and the trunks and branches tend to be crooked, so it tends to be regarded somewhat as a “weed” tree. But as you can see, for uses like this, it’s worth a second look!

Bowl #135 (15)

8 1/8″ diameter, 2 3/4″ high. Teak oil finish.

Something to do while waiting

One of my kids’ favorites when they were growing up was the PBS show “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.” And one of his songs that we adopted for our own started with the line “Let’s think of something to do while we’re waiting.”

Monday was our oldest daughter’s due date, and from a phone call earlier in the day, we had a feeling that things were going to start happening. So to keep my mind occupied, I mounted a large chunk of green ash (rescued from the curbside in our neighborhood) on the lathe.

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The grain and color is everything I could have hoped for, and when you look inside…

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…there’s some subtle curl.

11 1/2″ diameter by 3 3/8″ high. Walnut oil finish.

Work in progress: Large green ash bowl

I rescued a few large green ash logs off the curb last week, and while most of it is destined for our firewood pile (green ash is dandy firewood), I sawed a few bowl blanks from one of the larger pieces.

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Update: Here’s the outside cleaned up, sanded to 400 grit, and with an application of walnut oil finish. (I’m planning to add a pyrography texture between those dark lines.)

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Update 2: I didn’t expect to see that much curl figure in this.

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Dough bowl

I modeled this silver maple bowl after the stoneware bowl my mother always used for making bread dough. Mom’s is a bit larger than this, but I think I came pretty close to the basic proportions (although I’m operating purely from memory).

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This was twice turned, and after the rough bowl dried, it was the most lopsided one I’ve done yet.

8 3/4″ diameter by 3″ high. Walnut oil finish.