BURL TURNING – SOFT MAPLE

As a forester I get to meet and make friends with many professional loggers.  One of my logger friends, Dennis Edge, gave me three burls that he had for some time.  Last week I turned a Soft Maple burl that he gave me.  This burl had gone by and was very punky and spalted.  The following pictures show the burl being turned from start to finish.

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This burl was about as big as a basketball to start with.  It had several obvious bark seams, checks, as well as other deep defects.

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After studying it I decided on several cuts on the band saw.  This picture shows the bottom of the burl.  You can see the spalting, rot and a serious bark seam.

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I tried drilling a hole for my screw chuck but the wood was too rotten.  I decided to drill a 3/4″ hole to insert my spur drive.  This is a fairly safe method of mounting blanks, especially unstable blanks like this one.  You can see that I also removed a piece that was unstable because of the bark seam.  I don’t need to get hit by this piece flying off during the turning process!

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This shot shows the One Way live center on what will be the bottom of the bowl.

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This shot shows the partially turned bowl with the spigot.

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With the bowl turned around, I always try to use the tail stock and live center to make the hollowing safer.  I leave it engaged as long as I can.  It is especially important with this piece because of the rotten wood.

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Side shot of the same piece.  If I can hold it all together this is going to be a beautiful bowl!! I put a piece of wood over my lathe bed and saturated the rotten areas with thin CA glue.

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The finished bowl ended up being 8″ wide and 5″ tall. I decided to try something different with this bowl because it had so many deep imperfections.  I only sanded it with 80 grit and left the imperfections.  I then applied Mahoney’s Walnut oil.  I think it came out great.  Unfortunately, I lost significant size due to the advanced rot, bark seams and checking.

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I gave the bowl to Dennis in appreciation for his generosity.  Sorry for the poor photography. Someday I will set up a picture station with improved lighting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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