Work in progress: Natural edge flowering crab

The bark on this one was in large scales, so I’m happy that I managed to keep as much of it on as I did. It still needs to be sanded and then have a finish applied (most likely teak oil; that’s my present finish of choice for decorative items).

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Green ash wedding bowl

Here’s a shallow green ash bowl I made for my nephew and his new bride. The wood, which has great crotch figuring, came from our family farm.

10″ by 2″. Danish oil finish.

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Interior view, showing that crotch “plume” figure.

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Silver maple shimmer

Another silver maple bowl that has a beautiful chatoyance. It’s not the ripple that you see in curly maple, but it’s striking. I’m doing a little experiment with this one: it’s finished with walnut oil, which takes a little longer to cure but is completely food-safe. (Note: pretty much every finish is “food safe” once it’s fully cured, but walnut oil starts out food safe, since it is food. But it also has the advantage of being able to cure to a solid finish without going rancid.)

UPDATE: This bowl is available on Etsy.

10 1/8″ diameter, 2 1/4″ high.

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Interior shot of that figure.

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Twice-turned bowls

I’ve been working with quite a bit of green wood recently, which means that I have to turn bowls twice: once to rough out the basic size and shape, and then after a period of controlled drying, once more to correct for the warping that inevitably occurs when wood dries. Here’s a bunch that I finished over the weekend:

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Back row, left to right: Birch – 7 3/4″ x 2 3/4″, Silver Maple – 9″ x 2 1/2″
Middle row, left to right: Ornamental Pear – 8 3/8″ x 2 1/2″, Ornamental Pear – 8 3/4″ x 2 1/2″
Front: Birch – 7 1/8″ x 1 3/4″

Roughing it

I’ve been working with some silver maple that a friend gave me–they had to cut down a large tree in their daughter’s yard, and offered me some of the larger branches. It’s still quite wet since it was just cut, and so if I turn things to their final size, the pieces will warp as the wood dries.

So I’ve been turning the pieces to close to the final size and shape I want.

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Moist, green wood like this turns nicely, and the ribbons of shavings that come flying off the end of a good sharp gouge makes this process a lot of fun. I finished four bowls this morning, and put them into paper grocery bags to help slow down the drying process. (If wood dries too fast, you’re more likely to get cracks.) It will probably take a couple of months until these are ready to finish.

And so it goes…

I had a silver maple bowl roughed out, cut from the same chunk of wood as one I wrote about a few weeks ago. I was a little concerned, though, because this one had a large bark inclusion in the bottom.

Well, I put it back on the lathe this evening, and started smoothing up the outside. It hadn’t warped that badly as it dried, and the wood was cutting nicely. Part of the bark came through to the outside, leaving a void that, although a bit tricky to work around, was a nice element in the look of the bowl.

On to the inside. That was a bit rougher. The bark inclusion was causing a lot of clatter as the gouge cut easily through that and then hit the much harder wood. But I was making good progress, and nearly had it ready to sand, when BANG!

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The tenon on the bottom (which is how I grip the bowl in the chuck) snapped off. There was enough of the bark going down into the tenon, which weakened it too much.

I guess this one is bound for the firepit.