Beauty from ash

Beauty from ash

Here’s the finished product from that chunk of charred green ash. I really had no idea whether or not this was going to work–whether the wood was going to be any good, whether the charred edge would hold together–but I’m pleased with the result. I left this one pretty thick, not knowing how the wood would behave, and I kind of like showing off the edge this way. I have a couple more pieces from the log, so I’ll try to make the next one thinner.

7 1/4″ by 5″ by 2 3/4″, Danish oil finish.

Bear paw (Chokecherry root)

Last summer, a severe wind storm hit the Pick City, ND region, where my brother-in-law’s family has a lake cabin, and a small chokecherry tree (prunus virginiana) on their property snapped off. My BIL and nephew yanked the root out with a pickup, and before they could throw it in the firepit, I said “I can make something from that.” And I did.
Almost everyone who’s seen it so far has said it looks like a bear paw.

I added some pyrography on the edge. 8″, Danish oil finish.

A big ash bowl

Last summer, I took down a dead green ash tree in the woodlot on my family’s farm. The tree was in the neighborhood of 100 years old, but during an extended wet cycle about 10 years ago, it died when the water table rose too high and drowned the roots. Most of it was cut and split for firewood, but I saved the larger crotch pieces because the figuring in ash crotch is phenomenally vivid. I had sliced a slab off the side of one of the crotch pieces, and was going to just use it for firewood, but something stayed my hand, and a couple of days ago, I decided to cut a bowl blank from it and see what came of it.

It was the largest diameter blank I have yet attempted, and it was rather lopsided when I started, so I had to take it slow until things were balanced better. Here’s a look at the bottom after I had it shaped and sanded.

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And the inside (plus some detail of the bark rim):

Here it is after a couple coats of Danish oil, which brings out the grail beautifully:

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Finished dimensions: 14 1/4″ long, 12 1/2″ wide, and 3 1/2″ high at the highest point.

Two sales!

When I started making bowls and sharing pictures of them on Facebook, several friends and family members asked me if I was going to start selling them. The thought had occurred to me, but it took the questions and requests to push me into actually doing it.

Bowl #17 (4)

My first sale was this natural edge flowering crab bowl, to a former co-worker. This bowl–#17, was my third natural edge bowl. The wood was rescued from the curbside in our neighborhood during the annual spring cleanup week. It was freshly cut, so the wood was very wet. After turning and sanding, I dried it by microwaving it. (People are surprised that it works, but the process is straightforward: Weigh the bowl to establish a starting weight, then microwave for 45-60 seconds. This heats the water all the way through the wood, and helps force the water out of the interior. Allow the bowl to cool for about an hour, then weigh it again–it should be lighter. Then reheat. Keep repeating the cycle until the weights stop changing. This one took several cycles to dry.)

I was pleased with the color and grain on this, and have been keeping my eyes open for more flowering crab. Thank you to Shyla and Josh for being my first sale!

Bowl #21 (6)

My second sale–and my first from my Etsy store–was this small juniper natural-edge bowl (#21). Again, the wood was rescued from the curbside in the neighborhood. Juniper is a surprisingly light wood, so I thought I should make this bowl thin. The shape of the outside of this piece gives it a winged appearance. I shipped this one yesterday, and I hope that Michol enjoys it!

Now I need to make more bowls! Too many pieces of wood, not enough time!