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.
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.
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.
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!
This shot shows the One Way live center on what will be the bottom of the bowl.
This shot shows the partially turned bowl with the spigot.
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.
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.
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.
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!