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.


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!


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.