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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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.

This, my friends, is curl

A friend gave me a couple of maple logs, and I’ve been roughing out bowls from it. I uncovered this ripple–which is called curl–in the bowl I was working on this morning.

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Keep in mind that this is rough turned, and still rather wet. I have to let it dry (slowly, to prevent checking), then finish turning it, sand it (probably to 1000 grit, because figure like this deserves that), and apply a finish..

No need to embellish

I sometimes consider adding some sort of embellishment on my next project–a band of texturing or pyrography, perhaps.

And then I get something with grain like this…

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…and I realize that anything I could possibly add would be like gluing sequins on a lily; it would only detract from the beauty that’s inherent in the material.

Work in progress, American elm.

Maybe it’s a little crazy…

Last fall, while out cutting firewood, I found a chunk of green ash that had been charred when a grass fire burned through part of the woodlot. And I thought to myself, “Why not?”

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Pretty ugly, isn’t it? Here it is now.

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The tricky part now will be sanding it. Touching the charred part with sandpaper smears black dust all over the rest of the wood. I’ve soaked the char with some wipe-on polyurethane; hopefully that will stabilize the char so it doesn’t smear around quite so much. I’ll post a picture once I have the finish on it.