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.

Go Bison!

My workplace holds an annual basket raffle to raise funds for the United Way, and my boss and I are collaborating on a “Game Day” basket. Our “basket” is actually a cooler, filled with a bunch of snacks, some swag from North Dakota State University–Go Bison!–and this chip bowl decorated in Bison green and gold.

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It’s silver maple, with some eye-catching chatoyancy and crotch figuring on the interior.

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The stripes were added with marker and the finish is a durable carnauba/beeswax blend. 10 1/2″ diameter, 1 7/8″ high.

Just a little bowl

I was doing a bit of housecleaning in the corner of my basement that I call my shop when I ran across a small ash bowl I had turned back in January during an open house held by my woodturning club, MinnDak Woodturners. I didn’t sand it during the demo because who wants to watch someone sand?

So here’s the (finally) finished product. Sanded to 400 grit and finished with a carnauba/beeswax blend and buffed on the lathe.

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Nothing fancy about it, just a clean, simple little bowl. 5 1/2″ diameter, 1 5/8″ high.

Poplar bowl

During midsummer this year, I heard that a friend was removing a few poplar trees from his property–a couple were dead or dying, and one was in the way of a shed he was planning to build. Being the wood scrounger that I am, I asked if I could come and take a few chunks.

This wood was very wet (you could see and feel the dampness of it when I was sawing the logs into blanks), so it had to be rough turned, coated with sealer to slow the drying and prevent cracking, and then set aside for a good while. But it was worth the wait. This is the first one I finish turned.

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You can see a bit of curl figuring on the rim in this photo, and there are more patches of that on the inside. 9 1/2″ diameter, 3″ high. Walnut 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.

Bowls #1 & 2

These are the first two bowls I completed–albeit not the first I attempted. That one is what is called a “learning experience.”

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I made these from a chunk of basswood I had been saving for “something” for a couple of decades. When I brought home the lathe, I said to myself “This is it.” 

I brought these to the MinnDak Woodturners Association meeting for Show and Tell, and Paul Hedman (the club president and a gifted turner) said “I don’t like working with basswood; it’s great for carving but I don’t like how it turns.” Of course, that would be what I’d pick for my first attempts.

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Here’s a closer look at #2. I was pleased that I managed to get this one as thin as it is.