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.

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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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Dough bowl

I modeled this silver maple bowl after the stoneware bowl my mother always used for making bread dough. Mom’s is a bit larger than this, but I think I came pretty close to the basic proportions (although I’m operating purely from memory).

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This was twice turned, and after the rough bowl dried, it was the most lopsided one I’ve done yet.

8 3/4″ diameter by 3″ high. Walnut oil finish.

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.

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..