Some New Cherry Burl Bowls

The following bowls were recently turned from cherry burls provided by a customer. This was an interesting project since some of the burls were significantly decayed, challenging to say the least, but also satisfying to get five nice bowls. I like doing such commissioned projects, especially when the bowls have great significance for a family who is leaving their home where the cherry trees grew. The galleries of images show the turned, dried, sanded and oiled bowls and a few shots of the burl and the trimmed burl. I have added a brief description of each bowl and the turning process.


Cherry Burl Bowl 22WS6

dimensions: 8.5” diam x 5.5” ht, 3/8” wall thickness

The burl was on one side of a log and was cut and trimmed for turning. Images of the burl on the log and trimmed are shown below. The wood had some decay and bark inclusions. The shape of the bowl was chosen to maintain a complete bark edge and to best show the beautiful grain figuring. The bark edge of the bowl follows the outer contours of the burl and gives the bowl a great rustic appearance. The grain figuring is best described as mottled agate and bird’s eye within red-orange regions. There are also some lighter rays extending up the sides of the bowl toward the rim, just below the bark. This area has some bird’s eye and fine lines of curl (chatoyance). The darker bark edge gives a jagged frame around the top of the bowl. The dark areas of decay and inclusions were stabilized and sealed.


Cherry Burl Bowl 22WS7

dimensions: 8.5” diam x 6” ht, 3/8” wall thickness

The burl was on one side of a log and was cut and trimmed for turning. Images of the burl on the log and trimmed are shown below. The wood was quite punky and had some decay, worm holes, and bark inclusions. These problem areas had to be hardened, filled, and stabilized. The shape of the bowl was chosen to maintain a complete bark edge and to best show the beautiful grain figuring of the burl. The burl was a bit shallow, so I included part of the log in the lower part of the bowl. The bowl shows the interesting transition from straight grain to burl. The bark edge of the bowl follows the outer contours of the burl and gives the bowl a great rustic appearance. The grain figuring of the burl part is best described as mottled agate and bird’s eye within red-orange regions. There are also some lighter rays extending up the sides of the bowl toward the rim, just below the bark. This area has some bird’s eye and fine lines of curl (chatoyance). The darker bark edge gives a jagged frame around the top of the bowl. The dark areas of decay and inclusions were stabilized and sealed. The many worm holes are mostly near the bottom of the bowl where the decay is most visible.


Cherry Burl Bowl 22WS8

dimensions: 10” diam x 6” ht, 5/16” wall thickness

This bowl was turned from a cherry burl that grew in the woods on the Tonsager’s property in Ham Lake, MN. The burl was on one side of a log and was cut and trimmed for turning. Images of the burl on the log and trimmed are shown below.The burl was without most of its bark, so this bowl will be a live edge bowl. The wood was solid but had a lot of small checks, especially near the outer edge. These were filled and stabilized with CA resin and wood dust. These small checks can be seen in the side view of the bowl. They are completely stable. The shape of the bowl was chosen to maintain a complete live edge and to best show the grain figuring of the burl. This burl has colorful grain but without the usual bird’s eye. I have turned many cherry burls and seen only one other with this type of grain. The colors include shades of red, brown, green and blue. The wood also has some subtle areas of flame (chatoyance) with rays extending radially. These are visible in the top view of the bowl and add some nice grain figuring. There is also a small knot in one side of the bowl. The dark rim of the bowl gives nice contrast to the colorful wood.


Cherry Burl Bowl 22WS9

dimensions: 6.75” diam x 6.5” ht, 3/8” wall thickness

This bowl was turned from a cherry burl that grew in the woods on the Tonsager’s property in Ham Lake, MN. The burl had some areas of decay but with proper trimming, a suitable piece was found. Images of the burl on the log and trimmed are shown below. The shape of the bowl was chosen to maintain a complete bark edge and to best show the beautiful grain figuring of the burl. A vase like shape worked best and only one side of the bowl showed decay and a small hole. This is shown in the central image above. The bark edge of the bowl follows the outer contours of the burl and gives the bowl a great rustic appearance. The grain figuring of the burl part is best described as mottled agate and bird’s eye within a red-orange background. There are also some lighter and dark rays extending up the sides of the bowl toward the rim, just below the bark. This area has some bird’s eye and fine lines of curl (chatoyance). The darker bark edge gives a jagged frame around the top of the bowl. The dark area of stabilized decay with a small hole is the result of carpenter ant activity in the burl. It was impossible to turn a decent bowl from this burl without including this small area of decay. I like including a rustic feature like this in a bowl.


Rustic Cherry Burl Bowl 22WS10

dimensions: 9” diam x 4.5” ht, 5/16” wall thickness

This bowl was turned from a cherry burl that grew in the woods on the Tonsager’s property in Ham Lake, MN. The burl was on one side of a log and was cut and trimmed for turning. Images of the burl on the log and trimmed are shown below.The wood was quite punky and had significant decay in large areas, worm holes, and an active colony of carpenter ants (see phots below). These problem areas had to be hardened, filled, and stabilized. The ants needed to be dispatched. Normally I would not have turned this burl due to all these issues. There is a significant danger that the burl would fly apart during turning. The solid areas did show nice figuring and colors and a complete bark edge was possible, so I decided to go for it. The overall shape of the bowl was chosen to maintain a complete bark edge and to best show the beautiful grain figuring of the burl. The selection of the base of the bowl was tricky due to decayed out areas so I used a lot of cyanoacrylate resin to stabilize the solid parts and slowly forged on. The bowl has a nice shape and a great bark edge. The solid areas have nice grain figuring best described as mottled agate and bird’s eye. There are also some lighter rays extending up the sides of the bowl toward the rim, just below the bark. This area has some bird’s eye and fine lines of curl (chatoyance). The bowl also has many holes and ant carved out areas. These are quite interesting and beautiful. The bowl is rustic with the beauty of cherry burl and the texture of the ant carvings. This is really a spectacular bowl. The decayed and ant carved areas are sealed and stabilized.


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