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Mesquite Burl

I seem to be getting several commissioned projects turning mesquite burls. This is the first year I have turned mesquite burl so it is great to gain the experience with this wood. This wood is very hard and was difficult to cut with a chain saw, but not so difficult to turn. This burl is green with a moisture content of 25%. I trimmed the burl as shown in the first two photos below. The profile or outer shape of the bowl was dictated significantly by the large bark inclusion on one side, and my usual goal of having a bark edge. I left the bark inclusion in the outer wall of the bowl and stabilized it with CA glue. My plan was to keep the wall a bit thick to minimize the size of a hole in the side of the bowl. I turned a 3.2" tenon on the bottom of the bowl for reverse chucking and hollowing, but there was some decay just under part of the tenon which gave me some concern. You can see this in the third photo. I have had such decay under a tenon result in spectacular crashes of bowls with distant walls of my shop (I keep clear of the line of fire in such cases). Thus, I kept the live center tail stock in place during the start of hollowing, keeping a good eye on the tenon in the chuck. I was lucky that the bowl stayed in place so I could complete the hollowing. This bowl started warping immediately during the hollowing so there was a wobble, but the tenon stayed solidly attached. I did the hollowing very slowly and gently using small pointed 3/8" and 1/4" gouges with standard grinds. I also used a round carbide cutter tool at the bottom of the bowl. The rough turned bowl is 10" in diameter and 7" high with a 0.75" wall thickness. The bowl looks and feels good with the thick wall and the bark edge. The wood has great red-brown-and yellow colors. You can see the darker area on the inside wall just under the bark inclusion, but no hole! I of course planned it that way! Now the long drying period and making sure no nasty cracks form.

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