Woodturn Natural Edge Fig Mushroom – Not For Soup

Mushroom From Fig

May also be viewed on YouTube.

My wife’s sister asked me to turn a mushroom for her. Right now I have cuttings from a fig tree in my front yard.

Why not a natural edge mushroom from this fig. Figs and mushrooms both have nice flavors for cooking, why not see how they go together for a gourmet chef?

The end result is about 3 inches in diameter and 4 inches tall. The bark and limb make a nice irregular natural edge. This mushroom is finished with walnut oil – another flavorful cooking item. :)

Since this wood is wet, it will dry, shrink, distort and crack for more character and personality.

Woodturn Natural Edge Winged Tea Light From Fig

Fig Tealight


Also may be viewed on YouTube.

This wood came from a fig tree in my front yard. It’s a small limb but had to go. I’ve never turned fig nor heard of anyone turning it. But why not try.

Although it’s small, it is large enough for a simple tea light. I did not want to just rip the limb in half. I wanted the top surface to be the natural bark from the fig then bend around to a flat on the bottom. This tea light base is 5 inches long and about 2.5 inches in diameter. The light is a battery operated LED tea light. I’d never put a wax candle in a wooden holder.

Since the wood is very green or wet it did not absorb much walnut oil. After it dries, I’ll apply more oil. then we’ll also see how fig turns out.

Woodturn Cherry Box From Wet Wood

Cherry Box

Also can be viewed on YouTube

I started this project in July 2013 when I helped a friend cut down a large cherry tree in his back yard. I turned some of the wood into cylinders starting to make small boxes. But the difference is that the wood was very fresh and wet. Knowing that it would shrink and distort as it dried, I left the walls thick but did bore out the inside. Then I wrapped them up with the bored out ends exposed and left them to dry–hopefully from the inside out.

Now with the wood dry, I remounted the pieces to re-trim the tenons, and finish turn the box.

I used gouges, a skew, and a square carbide cutter. I used a mixture of mineral oil and beeswax both as a sanding media and as a finish. The box is about five inches high and two inches in diameter. The joint has a nice vacuum friction fit.

Woodturn Rustic Cedar Natural Edge Coasters

Natural Edge CoastersThis project is relatively easy, a great way to practice with natural edge forms without the risk of a bowl. These coasters are wet, freshly harvested, cedar. After slicing a limb into discs, I started them drying with a quick soak in Denatured Alcohol to accelerate the drying process. They had lost about 30% of their weight before I started turning them.

Then in a quick but repetitive process cut a mortise on the bottom, smoothed the rim wood and smoothed the top surface.

Later I realized that they were reversible — the mortise was large enough to hold a cup or mug.

These coasters are irregular size between 3 and one half to four inches and finished with walnut oil.

Green Woodturning Techniques – Alcohol Soak & Walnut Oil Finish

I’m experimenting with two techniques for my woodturning: one for drying wet or green wood; one for finishishing.

For drying a bowl after rough turning the bowl blank, I’m using denatured alcohol (DNA) for an overnight soak, then drying the bowl in a controlled environment such as a brown paper bag.

For finishing, I’m following a practice I saw at Mike Mahoney’s shop — soaking the finished project in walnut oil expecting deeper penetration of the oil into the wood.

As these are experimental techniques, I welcome comments and suggestions.

For both processes, I’m using large plastic bowls with lids to hold and store the alcohol or oil.

Remount And Finish Woodturning Alcohol Soaked Green Bowl

Green Birch BowlI rough turned this birch bowl about six months ago from a fresh green trunk a friend found for me. At that time, I did not expect much from this bowl thinking that birch is a fairly blond wood without a lot of character.

To expedite the drying process, I soaked this bowl overnight in denatured alcohol then left it to dry in a brown paper bag. Originally, the rough bowl weighed 3,760 grams. In ten days, it lost 952 grams or 25% of its original weight. Then I was distracted by life and did not weigh it again for four months at which time it then weighed 2320 grams having lost 38% of its weight.

To finish woodturning the bowl, I followed a typical process: 1) re-mount to refine the mounting tenon; 2) shape the exterior; 3) reverse onto the tenon to shape the bowl’s interior; 4) reverse again to remove the tenon and form a foot. I power sanded each section after tooling.

After all turning and sanding, I soaked the bowl overnight in walnut oil then drained and wiped off the excess. The bowl now weights 1180 grams — final turning removed nearly half of the wood from the rough blank.

The final bowl is beautiful — far exceeding my original expectations. Natural staining and other coloration really dressed up this bows into a masterpiece. Finished, it is 11 inches in diameter and 5 inches high.

Woodturn A Natural Edge Cedar Limb Bowl

Cedar Limb BowlI have a lot of wood to clean up from cutting down an Atlas Cedar in my back yard.

For this project, I’m using a whole section of limb for a small but deep natural edge bowl. This small bowl is about 6 inches long by 4 inches wide by 3 inches deep. I tried to finish it with walnut oil but the bowl was so wet, no oil would stick. I’ll let it dry 3-4 weeks then re-sand and finish it.

Woodturn A Holiday Star

Christmas Star

Also viewable on YouTube

To wind up the Christmas season, peace on earth seems to be further away than in year’s past. I hope this ornament can symbolize a quest for peace on earth as well as a reminder of Jesus Christ for those who believe in Him.

May we have more tolerance for others and work toward peace on earth.

This star is maple with a background of red oak.

Here’s a link to the complete challenge playlist.

2014 Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge Results

Also viewable on YouTube

At last, we’re announcing the results for this year’s challenge. The response has been amazing — Thank you all.

Congratulations to our finalists.

Everyone for whom we have an email address will also receive a certificate for their participation.

Follow this link for all ornament challenge videos.

Woodturn An Acorn Christmas Ornament

Acorn Ornament

Also viewable on YouTube

I want to add another simple ornament to this year’s Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge. This is an acorn made from walnut and elm. It is very light since I hollowed the inside. It is about 1″ in diameter an over 1 inch long.

My acorn is finished with shellac friction polish.

This is a link to the complete playlist