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Happy as a Beaver with More Aspen Burl Bowls Turned

I am obviously having fun turning my favorite burls. These have the right balance of challenge and reward. Aspen burl wood is always beautiful and each resulting bowl gives great satisfaction. This post shows several aspen burls on a large log. It is always fun planning (visualizing) the bowls that are possible from such a burl. The first four images show the log with its burls and the result of cutting it to give two pieces (bowl blanks) for turning.

Note that there are two metal rods in the first image that approximately show the vertical axes of two visualized bowls. I have turned many aspen burls so I have a good feeling for laying out the bowl axes. I used a chain saw to cut the blanks. The first bowl blank was cut from the burl to the right in the first image, and is set up for a round bark edged bowl, about 8" in diameter and 7" in height. Note that its metal rod is positioned in the top of the bowl as shown in image 2 above. The second bowl blank (cut from the burl to the left in image 1) is set up for turning an unsymmetrical bark edged edged bowl. This bowl blank is shown in images 3 and 4 above and unfortunately the metal rod had been removed. The flat part of this second bowl blank (image 4 above) will actually be the top of the bowl. This will become more clear in the next three photos that show the bowl blanks attached to a lathe for turning. The bowl blanks were attached to the head stock of the lathe using 4" faceplates. The first image below shows the round bowl blank with its bark side attached to the lathe. The second image below shows the flat side of the bowl blank attached to the lathe. The third image below shows a view of the bottom or base of the visualized bowl.

The next three images below show the fresh turned bowl from bowl blank one. The entire bowl is round with a jagged bark edge. The curved shape of the bowl was chosen to best bring out the beauty of the aspen burl wood. This bowl is 8" in diameter and 8" high.

The next three images show the fresh turned bowl from bowl blank two. The second image below shows the top view of the bowl with its unsymmetrical bark edge. The lower part of the bowl is of course round since it was turned on a lathe. The unsymmetrical shape results from flaring out the shape all the way to the bark edge.The dimensions at the top of this bowl are 15" max and 13" min. The bowl is about 4.4" high.

It is instructive to look back at the burl, the bowl blanks cut from the burl, how they are attached to the lathe, and the bowls. These examples represent the two main approaches to turning live edged bowls. These bowls now need a few months to dry. The real beauty of aspen burl bowls emerges when sanded and oiled. The colors and grain patterns really pop when oiled. I use pure tung oil mixed with citrus solvent (Real Milk Paint Company). The next gallery shows photos of the sanded and oiled bowl. This bowl is now forsake in my store. It may not last long!


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