My Dad gave me a rectangular piece of material years ago now and we believed it to be piece of highly figured Walnut, possibly Claro Walnut. There was sapwood attached which was pale tan in color, which would fit with Walnut. I wasn’t able to get much out of the piece; the final dish measures a diminutive 4″ x 2.5″. Usually, I won’t make the effort for something so small, but the figure in this piece was so striking that I decided to go ahead and turn it.
Immediately I had to wonder, is this really Walnut? It was much harder than Walnut and I have a lot of experience with turning Walnut. And it had a distinctive and pleasant sweet spicy smell that usually associate with tropical exotics. And it cut extremely well, requiring next to no finish sanding, but when sanded down to 800 grit is showed a natural sheen that I just don’t see in Walnut. Would a piece of burl be so much different from the rest of the tree? Would a true burl have sapwood? So I am left wondering what this wood really is. Short of a DNA analysis, which isn’t likely to happen, I probably will never know. If anyone thinks they recognize this wood as something other than a very highly figured piece of Walnut please let me know.
All major cuts were made using the Easy Wood Tool system on my Robust American Beauty lathe, although I do use Robert Sorby bowl gouges for light final passes before sanding. 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 Shellawax.
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!
By the way, I won’t be posting for several days as I am working on a set of 12 Walnut bowls that I will post together along with one larger Walnut piece. Stay tuned and look for it to come out sometime over the weekend if everything goes according to plan!