Redbud natural edge

My wife and I spent some time visiting family in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area the week before Easter. While walking in my brother’s Grand Prairie neighborhood, I found some chunks of an unknown species of wood sitting on the curbside, waiting for the garbage pickup.

I’m not one to turn my nose up at free wood, so I grabbed a few chunks. After some research, I determined that it’s redbud (Cercis canadensis). It turns beautifully and takes a nice finish without much fuss.


The logs I took were kind of knobby, hinting at some possible burl-like figuring. Here’s a closer look at the figuring that I found.


7 3/4″ long, 5 1/2″ wide, 2 1/2″ high. Danish oil finish.

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?”


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


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.


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.

Natural edge flowering crab bowl finished

This spring, during what the city calls “Spring Clean Up Week,” but everyone else calls “dump week,” I rescued a couple of logs from a flowering crab tree from the curbside. The tree had just been cut down, so the wood was extremely wet. Paul Hedman (president of the Minn-Dak Woodturners Association) told me that flowering crab tends to check badly as it dries, rendering a log unsuitable for turning, and that the checking begins almost immediately after it is cut.

So I cut the logs into slabs and as quickly as I could, turned them into bowls. Most of the scraps left over went into the woodpile, to be burned in our patio fire pit. (We learned the hard way that one should not burn flowering crab in a woodstove; that’s a long and ugly story.) However, I had one smaller, thinner piece left that I thought might make a nice bowl, so I had set that aside and promptly forgot about it.

When I found it again, to my surprise, there was no checking visible, so I sawed it into a blank, chucked it up, and voila! Bowl #30, 6 1/4 inches long, 5 1/4 inches wide, 1 3/4 inches high.

Bowl #30 (7) - Copy

That “claw” over on the right side is where a branch was growing out of the trunk. That got knocked out in the turning process.

Here’s a shot showing the inside of the bowl.

Bowl #30 (9) - Copy

 This bowl is available via my Etsy shop.