This month, I have not been as active in the shop due to many other things going on. I have managed to complete a few pieces with a handful more to apply a final touch to the finish.
This Spalted Live Oak Natural Edge Bowl has been my crowning achievement this month so far. The grain was so soft in some areas I didn’t know if I would be able to complete it without it exploding on the lathe. A technique I decided to try out paid off, using layers of shellac to bind the fibers together.
This bowl came with some interesting surprises, the video below is hollowing out the inside and reveals the surprise near the end. I never know what is going to be inside these pieces of wood.
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This Spalted Live Oak Natural Edge Bowl measures 9 ¼" in diameter, 5" from table top to highest point on rim, and weighs around 1 ½ lbs. I had no idea this piece of wood had this much character before mounting it on the lathe, it looked like many of the other blanks I have lying around. The happy surprise came when I formed the inside and discovered the beautiful grain within. Available Qty: 1
Price: $195.00Price: $215.00
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January was busy, I managed to rough-out over 50 bowls. They are now curing and will be finish turned when the moisture content is appropriate. This could take several months, but I am planning to build a drying kiln when I have the parts all gathered up.
I did finish a few pieces, either from wood that was already dry, or I cured them in the microwave before finishing them. Here are a few of the pieces I completed:
Black Locust Bowl, turned from a hollow dead locust tree that my dad cut in the North Carolina mountains. The hollow of this tree was filled with large black carpenter ants, they flew out at my while turning it. Some of my family and friends may remember my dad being trapped under a tree for over 8 hours last spring, this is the type of tree that pinned him and one of the trees he was attempting to remove while logging.
This Black Locust Natural Edge Bowl is the first piece I have ever turned from Black Locust. It has a very unique feel, even though there is a large hollow space filled with carpenter ant tunnels, it is still quite heavy. My daughter described the finish as "Silky" and said she liked rubbing it on her face because it felt good. I guess that is a good thing? It weighs in at a little over 3 lbs. Available Qty: 1
Cherry goblets cured in the microwave, then finish turned. These are coated with Salad Bowl Finish which is food safe (not recommended for alcoholic beverages).
Oak bowl turned from lumber that has been air drying in the top of my dads barn for around 20 years. Food Safe Salad Bowl Finish
This Red Oak Salad Bowl measures 7 ½" in diameter, 1 ¾" from table top to rim (sitting on foot, not depth of bowl center). The bowl was coated with Salad Bowl Finish, a non-toxic hard finish. Available Qty: 1
Price: $22.00Price: $25.00
Another Oak bowl turned from the same board as the above bowl. This bowl is the first ever of this shape I have turned, depending on response I will be turning more. Future bowls like this will not have the “Center Bowl” included unless specifically ordered that way. Food Safe Salad Bowl Finish
Another new item I had not made prior to these two, these are kids “Spinning Tops” and they are addictive to play with. These are also Oak from the same board as the above two bowls, and finished with Non-Toxic Mineral Oil.
Today I arrived at the wood shop with the desire to make some chips fly. I had a large pile of logs to choose from, and nothing to stand in my way.
I decided to hack up a walnut log into pieces I could work with. A couple hours later, 4 new pieces magically appeared. Keep in mind, these are all rough turned. They have to cure until the moisture content is correct, then they will be turned to their final dimensions.
After turning the walnut bowls, I made a switch to a different chunk of log. A cherry log jumped right up at me and onto the lathe. Six “Normal” bowls later, I decided to call it a day. I still have a few more to turn tomorrow from the cherry log. Not bad for a days work…
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After nearly a week without turning anything, I had to get in the shop again when I made it back to South Carolina. I brought a bunch of wood back from my dads place, including some walnut logs and oak lumber. The oak has been air drying in dads barn for over 10 years, so it is nice and dry and ready to make completed pieces. The first piece I decided to turn was a kids toy, a spinning top. The results were better than expected, so more than the original two are planned.
I decided to turn some of the green walnut logs I brought to South Carolina from my dads place in North Carolina. These logs are going to yield some great pieces, I just know it. They are full of twists and knots, and some that are even pre-destined to be bowls. Photos of those will come as I begin to create some pieces from the logs, here are some of the bowls I made this weekend.
Here is a short time lapse video showing me turning two more walnut bowls.
In South Carolina, Sweet Gum trees are a nuisance to say the least. They take over any open area and grow very rapidly. The wood is not considered to be good for firewood, so any that is cut is allows to lay around and rot most of the time.
I decided to use some pieces to make a bowl, and the results turned out pretty good. The piece I used had been cut to use as a log for growing shiitake mushrooms, but it didn’t get inoculated with the mushroom spawn soon enough and was allowed to sit and begin to rot.
With the climate in South Carolina hot and wet, the rotting process happens very quickly. This log had been cut and lying on the ground for around 3 months. It started out as a white log with very little grain pattern or coloring. Fungi begin to decompose the log, creating the black lines that wood workers refer to as “Spalt”. This spalted sweet gum bowl is the first of many I plan to make, I didn’t take any photos of the log before I turned it, but here is the final result.
I now have a much better lathe for use at my leisure, so I had to turn a bowl to try it out. After a 6 hour round trip drive yesterday to pick it up, I made it back to the shop and promptly began making the wood shavings fly. The variable speed controller, combined with the stability of the over #300 machine, made for an awesome experience. This wild cherry bowl took shape quickly, now it will sit for a few days to dry before I complete the final sanding and apply a finish.
Today I am heading back to the shop to see what will unfold. Maybe some walnut, more cherry, or spalted sweet gum is in the cards. I won’t know until the wood speaks to me 🙂
I have been playing with time lapse videos on my iPhone, this one turned out pretty good as far as I can tell.
I mounted the wood block on the lathe, and my lovely wife had to sit on the lathe until I had turned it enough for it to quit shaking. You can see the lathe moving in the first few seconds of the video even with her sitting on the other end. Next time, I am going to have to get my oldest daughter to sit on the other end 🙂