Large Aspen Burl on the Stubby Lathe

December 12, 2019

Finally, I turned a large burl on my new S1000 (3 hp) Stubby lathe. This burl was 2 ft in diameter, thick, and very heavy (about 90 lbs). I used my shop crane to help get it on the lathe. The photos below show the entire process. The Stubby lathe is designed for large heavy pieces (44" max diameter) and equipped with two beds with tool rests for maximum turning flexibility. I used both tool rests for this burl as it was convenient to turn the head-stock side of the burl during the turning of the outer profile. This helped reduce its weight so I could more easily remove and remount it with a chuck for hollowing. It took me 8 hours to turn this bowl. As usual with aspen burl, there was major grain line cracks and significant decay that was a worry during hollowing. You can see some of this in the hollowing photos. I used a lot of CA glue in the crack areas since things could possibly fly apart. You need a bit of luck turning aspen burls since these problem areas are generally hidden withing the burl and only appear while turning, especially during hollowing. I used a large tenon (5.6" diameter) for chucking the piece for hollowing, and I kept the tail-stock with a live center attached for most of the hollowing process. This bowl turned out really well. The grain figuring and bark edge are spectacular. It will take at least 3 months for this bowl to dry before sanding/oiling/waxing. That final step really brings out the beauty of aspen burl bowls, but it already looks quite nice. This bowl measures 23" in diameter and about 6" deep. The Stubby worked great. I have a lot of large burls, some over 30" in one dimension. The Stubby lathe worked great and permits amazing tool rest access to both sides of the bowl with the two movable beds, each with its own banjo and tool rest. I look forward to the next one.

 

 

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