Spalted Hackberry Bowl

I recently made a good sized bowl with a local wood, hackberry. While hackberry isn’t a particularly interesting wood, the spalting process gave it character that a piece without spalting would never have. The process of turning spalted wood, especially a wood that is soft to begin with, was not necessarily easy or without challenges, but in the end, I think the finished piece was worth the effort.2014-09-21 19.42.29 Continue reading


I had purchased a relatively small block of wood labelled Timborana at some point in the past, from where and exactly when are now mysteries. I had never worked with this wood before so it presented new opportunities and, it would prove, new challenges. While I am pleased with the end result, the process of getting to that point was not always easy.2014-09-21 00.54.29 Continue reading

Mulberry Goblet

Long ago I acquired several tall round blanks that were sold for the purpose of making lidded boxes and that was my original intention for the wood. However, I found that the process, despite having a book about how to do it and having one in person lesson with my Dad, was more difficult than I had imagined. I put aside the idea of making lidded boxes for a while but still wanted to do something with the wood on hand, so I decided to experiment with a new shape. I have not been displeased with the result.2014-09-16 14.22.03 Continue reading

Cherry Bowl

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Today I worked on making a nice little bowl from some cherry wood from South Carolina. It is nice to be able to work with a variety of local woods, similar in ethos to eating local produce, and fortunately for me, living in the eastern part of the United States opens up lots of options for nice woods that are quite local or regional in origin. Granted, I am from California and still have family there, so when they give me wood that is western United States in origin, I can still consider it local, so I win the best of both worlds! This particular bowl demonstrated two essential aspects of wood turning: wet wood shrinkage and end grain tear out. Continue reading

Highly Figured Chico California Walnut

While in Chico, California for the wedding of my sister, Kelly, I went out on the outskirts of town with Tim, my father Steve, and my uncle Don to a local seller of walnut timber. Chico has historically been an area where lots of nut trees are grown, including walnuts, for both commercial and ornamental purposes. As the trees age and become unproductive, or when homeowners wish to remove them for one reason or another, it is this man and his son’s business to remove the trees, cut them into timber, largely for the gun stock trade, and sell them. Occasionally, a walnut tree will prove to contain some pieces that have especially heavy and attractive figure and grain and these pieces will, of course, command a premium price. We purchased quite a few pieces of walnut timber and I kept several of the pieces for air drying before attempting to turn them. Continue reading

Maple Burl

I had a piece of wood that I had marked as “maple burl,” which I had obtained at some now unknown time and place. The wood was obviously also spalted which added to the interest of the uncut piece. The spalting became more pronounced and evident once it was cut to round on the band saw. Other than the spalting, the piece suffered from none of the irregularities or weaknesses often found in burl wood or spalted material. Perhaps the innate strength of maple served it well to prevent these common problems in these otherwise often stunning but problematic pieces of wood material.2014-09-13 14.42.43 Continue reading

I have no idea what wood this bowl is turned from, but I do know that it was part of a large cache of wood purchased from a local woodturner who was retiring and selling all of his shop equipment and wood.  He had an eclectic collection, with some very fine, rare and expensive pieces, along with, frankly, a great deal of junk!  I suspect that this piece falls closer to the junk category, but I could be very wrong.  It was not prepared well for drying and the checks were obvious on the surface.  I would find out that the checks penetrated completely through the piece.  There was also considerable insect damage, particularly on one end of the unturned piece.2014-09-01 15.45.43

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