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Turning a Large Aspen Burl bowl

I love turning aspen burl and seldom get many. Aspen trees are abundant where I live on the north shore of Lake Superior, but burls on these trees are rare. It is unusual that I get a large one. I love the process turning an aspen burl. It involves studying the burl, visualizing the possibilities, cutting the burl (I use a chain saw and hand saw), attaching the cut piece to the lathe, carving the spinning piece, adjusting the visualized shape (a reality check), and finishing the turning. My passion in this process is doing delicate carving to preserve the fragile features of the burl and achieving an attractive shape. The following photos show the burl on its log, the trimmed burl on the lathe, and the fresh turned bowl. The bowl is 18" in diameter and 4.5" deep.

Satisfaction comes after drying, sanding, and applying tung oil when the beautiful figuring and colors of the burl wood pop out. I actually dream about the finished piece and reality sometimes exceeds the dream. Below are photos of this aspen burl bowl afer drying, sanding to 400 grit, and application of pure tung oil. This finishing process brings out the beauty of aspen burl with its Lake Superior banded agate figuring. This bowl is a great example of an aspen burl bowl.


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