Winged bowls

One of the forms that I have been exploring this year is winged bowls and in particular I’ve been exploring winged bowls where the wings coming down to act legs and suspend the bowl. I’m not sure what sparked my interest but some of it may to do with having come into possession of a number of pieces of wood that lent themselves well to that particular form.

The first one I tried was this one made from a piece of Japanese snowball wood.

I found that the legs moved a bit as the bowl dried but I was able to bend them back to where I wanted them by steam bending them in the microwave.

On these next two bowls I experimented with the orientation to see if I could show more of the crotch grain in the wood. Both of these next two bowls are made from plum wood. On the first one I orientated it so that the bottom came from the outside of the tree. It worked well but lost feathering from the crotch figure in the grain.

On this next bowl I reversed the orientation so that the bottom of the bowl came from the inside of the log. This resulted in a great display of the crotch grain feathering but I wound up with the wings being too short to work as legs. I tried steam bending them into place but on this piece it didn’t work. Still kind of an interesting piece though.

Another attempt was with a piece of magnolia wood given to me by a neighbor.  It had a crack in it that I was hoping to be able to turn away or at least keep tight with the application of some glue but it didn’t work out that way. Being turned from green wood it changed shape as it dried and the crack became much larger. I have a few ideas for making it a decorative feature but haven’t entirely decided which to go with yet. The options I am considering include: leaving it as is, decorative stitching with leather or copper wire or using some kind of resin to fill the crack.

The most recent one is a winged bowl made from butternut wood. The wood came from a tree that my parents had cut down in their yard and then sent me a couple of pieces.  At first I was thinking that it was too large to do a winged bowl with but I decided to try it anyway.  The piece did not lend itself to making a suspended bowl so I decided to go with a more traditional winged bowl design for it. It was much lighter than I expected and did not change shape much in spite of having been turned to finish from green wood. I think this is because the tree was cut near the end of winter before the sap started to flow. I also noticed that when I had it on the lathe it was not very out of balance to start which would be explained by the low moisture content.

Although I have some pieces now that I really like I still feel that I have not yet put all of the elements that I would like in one of these bowls together. I’m getting closer but I’m going to have to play with the design a bit more I think. What I would like to try next is a winged bowl where the wings come down to support and suspend the bowl and oriented to show the feathering of the crotch grain.


Wood turned Christmas ornaments

Wood turned Christmas ornaments are always a great item to make as the holiday season approaches. They sell well at craft fairs and any left over make great gifts for friends and family. Two types of turned Christmas ornaments that I have been making for a while now are ball ornaments and bell ornaments. This year I added ring turned ornaments as a third kind of turned Christmas ornament.

The ball ornaments that I made this year were all made from apple wood. This was mostly just because I had it available and I like the wood. These ornaments are made in three pieces with the ball being hollowed out and then finials attached to the top and bottom. In the past I have sometimes been a bit hit and miss on the finials but this year I seemed to have it dialed in from the start and I think that they are some of my best looking finials to date.

I had a special request from a family member for red ornaments in this style so I made a couple with the balls stained red and then the finials left natural.

Apparently I have given them a few ornaments over the years and red was the one colour still missing.

The next style of turned Christmas ornament that I made was done using a ring turning. For these a ring of wood was turned on the lathe with specific profiles on the inside and outside of the ring. The ring then gets cut into slices to make the ornaments. I found turning the profile on the inside of the ring to be a bit tricky and it took me a few attempts to get one that would work.

Once I had all of the slices cut out it looked like a small forest has sprouted on the table of my bandsaw.

After that the slices were cleaned up a bit and then dyed green.

And finally a topcoat of finish was added and they were strung up.

The final type of turned Christmas ornaments that I made this year were the bell ornaments. I have made these before and they are always a favourite. They are fun to make and people always like them. Basically I just use small sections of branch and shape and hollow them into a bell shape leaving a thin strip of bark at the edge. When I add the string I tie a small jingle bell to the inside so that they always have a little sound to them.

A couple of times during this past Christmas season I ran out and had to make some some more.


Video showing the Making of a Natural Edge Wedding Goblet

A couple of years ago now a shot some video of a natural edge wedding goblet that I was making.

Unfortunately when I went to edit it I found that my computer at the time was simply unable to manage the files and there was really too much video to post it without being edited so it sat for a while. Now that I have a new computer I came across the video files and thought I would see what I could do with it.

As this is my first real attempt at editing video it is a little rough but here it is: The Making of a Natural edge Wedding goblet!!!

Hope you enjoy it!

Turning an Oval Handle for a Pizza Cutter

Generally wood turning in know for making wood into round shapes but other things are possible if you know how to do them, lately I had reason to make an oval handle.

What happened is that I was placing an order for some hardware that I was getting low on and decided to try out a new style of pizza cutter. When my order arrived I was surprised to see that, although there was no mention of it in the included instructions, it would be best to make the handle oval where it joined this hardware.

I haven’t made many oval handles before but I have experimented enough to know that it can be done. The way to do it involves using three different centres during the turning process. Starting with the standard centre in the middle the handle is first made round. Then the centre is moved off to one side to create the first side of the oval and then moved an equal distance to the other side of the original centre to create the other side of the oval. This is the layout sketch that I made to figure out where my three centres needed to be.

I was pretty happy with how it turned out, and on my first attempt too. Here I have already trimmed the tenon and drilled a hole for the tang on the pizza cutter so you can’t see where I placed the three centres but I just followed the sketch above. I only made the tenon and about the first two inches oval before blending it into a round shape higher up.

Test fitting the oval handle to the hardware. I think this is going to be quite a nice pizza cutter. There is a bit of figure in the maple wood used for the handle that will look good once the finishing is complete.

The Twenty Bowl Challenge

In September of 2013 president of the Greater Vancouver Woodturner’s Guild issued a challenge to turn twenty bowls and bring them to the meeting in May. The guild usually has monthly challenges and this was issued far in advance to give everybody time to work on it with the idea being that making twenty pieces would challenge and improve the skills of those who took part. In the next meeting the challenge was modified to be a ‘twenty something’ so that those who do not turn bowls could bring twenty of whatever they do turn to meet the challenge.

I chose to stick with the original twenty bowl challenge and wound up with a wide variety of bowls and plates with a wide variety of sizes, shapes and types of wood. Those who are paying attention may notice that I have twenty-one pictures in the gallery because I actually turned one extra bowl.

In general I am not very sentimental about my work and prefer to have pieces move on to other people rather than keep them for myself. The reason for this is that as my skills abilities evolve I find that pieces I originally liked lose their appeal for me and all I see are the flaws so I prefer to see them go on their way while I still enjoy them. With that said though there are two pieces out of this group that I decided, before they even finished, I would be keeping. Both came from wood at the crotch of a tree with one being maple and the other walnut. The figure of the wood in both pieces is just amazing and I am happy with the way that I was able to show it in these two pieces. I guess I’ll be seeing how the appeal of the pieces over time lasts  for me.