Silver maple bowls

Silver maple bowls

I just finished a couple of silver maple bowls that I had roughed out back in July. The first one had the beginnings of some spalting, and when you hold it up to the light, you can see that there’s a bit of curl.

Bowl #166 (8)

11 1/2″ diameter, 3″ high. Walnut oil finish.

The curl in the second one is more pronounced. I gave this one a little foot to lift it off the tabletop just a bit.

Bowl #167 (11)

12″ diameter, 3″ high. Walnut oil finish.

Here’s a peek at the curl. I’m always tickled when I find some of that in one of the pieces I turn. It’s like unwrapping a present.

Bowl #167 (7)

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American Elm bowl with crotch figure

American Elms are lovely trees that have been hit hard in recent decades by Dutch Elm disease, a fungal infection that has killed millions of trees in the United States. Our family farm had dozens of them in the woodlot and surrounding the yard, and one by one, they also succumbed. This bowl is from one of the last to go.

The crotch figure in this one looks to me as if the grain has been melted and sagged.

6 5/8″ diameter, 1 3/8″ high. Danish oil finish.

The worms crawl in…

…and now you’re likely singing that song in your head: “The worms crawl out…”

Seems fitting for this bowl.

There’s a lot going on with this one. It’s maple–I’m afraid I’m not sure what specific type, but likely either Sugar Maple or Silver Maple, as both are native to North Dakota. This tree was standing dead in the woodlot on my family’s farm, and I cut it down this fall for firewood. However, there was a likely looking crotch about 20 feet up, so I sliced it open to see what it had going on.

Bingo! Not just some nice crotch figuring, but also plenty of spalting, and some beetle larvae tunnels. There’s an old saying among woodturners: “If you can drink soup from it, it’s a bowl. If you can’t it’s art.”

9″ diameter, 2 1/2″ high. Danish oil finish.