Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Nasty Walnut

Block of Walnut with a limb and some rot.  Be very cautious when you turn a bowl of this type,  it is very easy to snag a tool.  Go Slow

Consider how you want the bowl to look as to the grain and defect.  Decide which is the top and bottom of the bowl.  Start with a faceplate attached to the top of the bowl.
Bowl with outside rough turned and a dovetail recess for a 100mm woodturning chuck on the bottom of the bowl.  I alway finish sanding the outside of the bowl, because when you remove the inside material the outside of the bowl will become slightly out of round.
Bowl reversed and the inside rough turned.  I power sand these bowls it's a lot easier.  You have to be very careful with the defect that you don't snag, keep the leading edge of your sander tipped up away from the defect.
I use a vacuum cup to hold the bowl and remove the dovetail and finish the bottom.  Make a small foot on the bottom of the bowl so it does not sit flat and there is a shadow line around the bottom, greatly improves the appearance and adds depth.

 Finished bowl, it's about 9.5 inches in diameter.

Always sign your work.

Thursday, May 4, 2017



This is a piece of very green, very wet  Big Leaf Maple.  See April 19th Blog, called "GRANDDAUGHTER" for the beginning.

In and out of the dryer and  here is Alyssa's Bowl. 11" diameter.

Eleven days in the dryer and six days for final turning and to apply the finish.  The bowl developed a small crack during the drying process.  I filled the crack with Turquoise Inlace Nuggets.

What do you think?

Saturday, April 29, 2017


Coast Redwood Tree (Sequoia sempervirens); these behemoths are the world's tallest plant. The trees can grow from 180' to 370' tall and 8' to 23' in diameter.  The Tree pictured is about 16' in diameter and +200' tall.

Below are pictures of bowls turned from Redwood.  Many people have not seen this type of wood or tree, the pictures of the bowls show some of the different variations in color and grain pattern of the wood in Redwood Trees.

The wood in these bowls, is from the salvage of dead wood from winter storms or stump wood from trees that were logged  in the 1930's and 1940's.
Redwood is soft and brash, cuts very easy and sands easy.  End grain wood tends to pull rather than cut and the only way to to remove the marks is to sand them out.  Very dusty, a good dust collector is essential.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


 Look at what my Granddaughter Alyssa gave to me.

It is 12 by 16 by 3 inch piece of Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum).

The wood contains both burl and fiddle back figure.  The figure in this piece of wood is shallow. Back side of the piece has almost no figure.  I turned the bowl so that the figure was on the bottom and as I hollowed out the inside of the bowl the figure was exposed.

The bowl is green and is rough turned to about 1 inch thick, 8 to 10 days in the dryer and it will be ready to finish.

I think she is going want her wood back.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spalted Wood

Spalted wood is partially decayed wood, that changes color as it decays. The wood fiber is still sound and can be used is a variety of projects, the decaying stops when the wood moisture content is below 20%.

This is a slab of Oregon Myrtlewood.  Spalted Myrtlewood produces colors that range from cream to black with shades of green, red, orange and brown; in various shapes and streaks.        

The spalting process can produce some very dramatic colors and patterns.

Remember that spalting is decay which is the wood tissue breaking down because of the interaction with fungus.  It is always prudent to wear a breathing mask when working (sanding) spalted wood. Some people have an allergic reaction to spalted wood.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Curly Redwood

Curly Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens).

I have several of these Redwood planks lying around the shop; for years. They are two inches thick and range from 12 to 14 inches wide.  Being shut in for the weekend I decided to turn a couple of platters.  I started with a face plate; turned the back and bottom and do all the sanding because your won't be able to go back.  Then I used a 6 inch vacuum cup to hold the platter and finished the inside.

Second platter.

Side view, they are only about 1 3/4 inches thick.

Redwood varies in color from dark red / brown to an light brown as you seen in the photo.  I alway start with a heavy coat of spar varnish; apply heavy and wipe off after a few minutes it seals the wood and brings out color and depth.

Anybody have any wood they want to trade?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Old Wood

Pacific Madrone Burl (Arbutus menziesii).  This was in my Father's shop and when he passed in 2008, it came to my shop shortly thereafter and I have been moving it around my shop to different places. Only because it was from my Dad's shop kept me from throwing it away.

Yesterday I decided to turn the burl, my only regret is I did not take a picture before I started. The bowl is 13" in diameter and 3.5" deep.  The wood has been kicked around a shop for at least 20 yrs. and is very dry, cracked and badly checked.  There was even termite channels in the wood. This has turned out to be a very usual piece, I am very glad I did not make firewood out of it.