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Turning a large Gnarly White Cedar Burl

This project started with a 20" diameter white cedar burl that had wonderful thick bark. Click on an image below and scroll through the gallery.

After studying this burl for a few days I decided to trim the sides of the burl as shown in the above photos. I used a chain saw to prep this burl. The plan was to incorporate the beautiful contoured bark into the top edge (rim) of the bowl. I inscribed a 17" diameter circle in the top of the burl and made vertical cuts as shown in the third photo. The blue line represents where the next cut will take place to make a flat bottom and set the approximate depth of the bowl. Note the vertical spike in the top of the third photo that I used to show the approximate axis of the bowl. I used this as a visual guide for the cuts down the sides and along the bottom. The gamble in this approach is getting a solid base. Many burls are decayed which is not desirable in the bottom of the bowl where a secure tenon is needed for reverse mounting and hollowing the bowl. The next gallery shows this trimmed piece mounted on the lathe with a 6" diameter face plate and stabilised with a live center in the tail stock. The third photo shows the 5" tenon in the bottom that was used for reverse mounting in a chuck. Turning this bowl was uneventful, although I worried about deep cracks in the depressions between the mounds of bark which could cause pieces fling off. Fortunately the cracks were not deep and I stabilised each with copious amounts of CA glue during the turning. The final bowl is 17" in diameter, 8" deep, with a ½" wall thickness. The bowl will have interesting collors and some twisting chatoyance. This burl was almost dry so I hope to sand and oil this one after a few weeks of settling and drying.

This bowl was sanded and oiled on Christmas Eve 2020. The following gallery shows images of the completed burl bowl.


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