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Huge Aspen Burl

The images in the slide show gallery show the story of turning a large (23" diameter) aspen burl. The turning process took about 8 hours. Aspen burls are always difficult to turn due to soft areas, decay, and ring crack along the grain lines. Turning must be done slowly with frequent use of CA glue to stabilize the problem areas. Turning a stable tenon is crucial as aspen burls often have decay just under the tenon. This decay and the ring crack can cause a tenon to detach during hollowing. This is dangerous with large burls so a lot of care is needed to make sure the wood around and under the tenon is stable. I always start the hollowing with a live center on the tail stock to minimize torque on the tenon. I hollow as far as possible before removing the tail stock, and do the rest of the hollowing slowly with sharp tools. This burl was very heavy and stable enough to hold together. The bowl is nice with the typical spectacular spalting patterns, colors and figuring of aspen burl. The bark always adds a lot to the beauty of burl bowls. The bowl now needs a couple of months drying before sanding and oiling. Aspen burls only show their complete beauty after the finishing process but I think you can see some of it already in this rough turned bowl.

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