Ambrosia Maple Bowl

This is an Ambrosia Maple bowl that measures 9″ x 2″.  I have written extensively about Maple in the past.

Unknown to me until recently, Ambrosia Maple is most commonly seen in the softer of the Maple (Acer) species.  I don’t know which species this Maple was as it was simply sold as “Ambrosia Maple,” but it was certainly soft.

Ambrosia Maple Bowl

As I just noted in the post about the Red Gum bowl made the same day, I don’t much care for softer woods on the lathe.  They don’t cut cleanly and they require LOTS of sanding and sometimes the effort, frankly, just isn’t worth it for the end product.  The more I turn, and I’ve made over 50 bowls between February 2020 and April 2020, the less and less tolerance I have for wasting time on crappy turning wood.  Life is just too short to go through the frustration and limited reward of turning soft woods when there are dozens of very nice hard woods on my remaining whopping 31 4 cubic feet shelves in my wood storage area.  If you don’t care to do the math or visualize it, let’s just say that it adds up to a LOT of wood, half of it exotic hardwoods.

True to being a soft wood, it cut easily but nasty over the cross grain areas.  The with the grain areas were lovely and hardly required sanding, but the cross grain was just foul.  Sand, sand, sand.  And run through sandpaper discs because the soft wood clogs it up in about 30 seconds.  That gets really expensive and for a marginal piece of wood to begin with…why bother.  But, I am obstinate so I did finish it out.

Speaking of finish, I generally love Shellawax but for the second time in one day, and worse this time than on the Red Gum, it totally failed me.  Shellawax didn’t go on evenly at all.  It was incredibly splotchy and it was so bad that I really had no choice but the sand it all off and refinish it with Odie’s Clear Wax.  Odie’s isn’t shiny but it is food safe and it goes on evenly on soft wood which Shellawax just does not.

Oh, this bowl should have been about an inch taller than it is but I let the drill sander get out of my control for about a microsecond and it went over the edge and broke it.  I do think part of the problem there is that I have been turning so much that my hands are alternately painful to numb.  After I finish one more piece, Oregon Myrtle which is thankfully HARD and cuts beautifully, so nice to end on a high note, I will take a break for about a week for recovery.

All cuts were made using the Easy Wood Tool system on my Robust American Beauty lathe.  Forward chucking was in a Nova Chuck, while reverse chucking was done using a Nova Chuck with Cole Jaws.  Sanding was with Gold and Green Wave sanding discs from Packard Woodworks.  Final finish is as described above.

As always, I wish all my readers a great experience in whatever your wood working interests happen to be and to those who like working with lathes especially, do a good turn today!