Walnut Bowl

You know the story, some guy I know, knows this guy that…I get a call from a friend, he says his dad got some wood they needed to split to burn in the wood stove and there were a couple of pieces of walnut in it and wondered if I’d like them. I said sure, as long as he thought they would be big enough to put on the lathe and turn a bowl or something out of. So weeks go buy, probably more like a couple of months and I happen to be near his place with the car and thought I would pick up the pieces and see what I could do with them. Well lets just say they were bigger than I had expected, and there more than a couple of them.

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Here is the smallest one, the bowl is over 12 inches across, and look at the beautiful grain in it! The dark spots are cyanoacrylate (super glue) to do what I could to make it so the knots don’t fall out and hopefully minimize the cracking. The wood wasn’t “really wet”, but it certainly would still be considered a green. I turned the walls down to about an inch thick. So we stuffed it into a paper bag and set it on the shelf. An inch equals a year wait…ugh!

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Tick, tick, tick…tick…boom! Ok so my patience got the best of me. I pulled the bowl blank out of the bag after about 6 months to checked on it, and it was quite a bit dryer than I had expected. I figured I was probably over the horrible cracking state that concerned me the most, besides I have plenty of other pieces to try another time.

One thing lead to another, and it sat on the shelf for several months. About a month back I figured I had better do something with it. The blank was considerably dryer, color was a bit faded and it looked quite round still. I chucked it back up on the lathe and proceeded to bounce it off the floor three times before the lip I had on the bottom finally gave way and split. It was over a quarter inch out of round! I grumble to myself loudly, grab some yellow glue and a clamp. I slathered a fair amount of glue on and clamped it upside down onto the bench top and left the shop for the day. It sat there for a week before it got in the way and we set it back on the shelf.

Last week I had about an hour to left in the shop and thought, hey that would be good time to “try” the bowl again. I had my reservations about it, but chucked it up, this time I slid the live center in to make sure I had better support. I consulted with the lathe gods before I turned it on, they agreed to take it slow this time around. Patience and the help of the live center made it so I could actually make some progress! It took quite a bit longer than I expected but I was going extra slow and being extremely cautious. That evening I managed to get the outside round once again and started to remove some of the high spots on the inside before running out of time.