Woodturning Bowl Disaster – Green Maple to Finished Bowl in One Turning

Last week we had a late spring snow storm here. The very wet snow brought a maple limb down on a friend’s home. He cut the limb down from the tree and his house and gave me one of the larger limbs for woodturning. Now I owe him a bowl to give to his wife. Later, he plans to cut the rest of the tree down. I hope he’ll give me some of the trunk when he does.

In Star Trek, they have a “Prime Directive” having to do with not interfering with the development of societies and civilizations they encounter.
I’ve adapted this prime directive to woodturning: “Don’t tell what you’re making until it is finished.” In this case, the bowl will evolve as I see the bowl emerge or in some cases, as I make mistakes and have to adapt the design to compensate.

This bowl is green or wet maple. The limb had been cut from the tree on Thursday, I turned it on Friday. Very fresh and very wet.
I decided to experiment with grain orientation since it was not a large limb. The grain normally runs across the bowl but in this one, the grain runs vertically.  The downside for this bowl is a log of eng grain which is harder to turn than side grain. I also planned to turn this bowl in one sessions. Then let it dry and warp just a little after it was finished.

Alas, in the end, this bowl was a disaster. At the last of the tooling, I wanted to thin the bottom just a little more. But, I lost focus on my gouge, nicked the bottom, and the bowl shattered. I should not have been terribly surprised since the bowl is almost all very short grain. Being wet and prone to warping anyway, no chance to salvage it.

Oh Well, better luck next time.

Register at the right & I’ll let you know with the next one is ready.

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