Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wing and a prayer

Our neighbor and good friend Tom Define dropped off some extra firewood a while back, and much to my delight much if it is Maple (appears to be of the red variety). I have turned some natural edge pieces with it and one lidded box.

One of Vencka’s favorite styles of turning I do is the winged-bowl. Typically, I have used the crotch section of a tree, which produces some interesting grain patterns and a Y-shaped piece. These have been “natural” edged, letting the wood shape speak for itself. However, some of my “firewood” maple logs came pre-cut in blocks that are relatively square, so I decided to try turning a piece where I controlled the shape of the wings.

After truing up the block on a band saw, I let the chips fly. From a purely technical perspective, turning a wing bowl is not too difficult. The challenge is overcoming a certain amount of fear and nervousness. Unlike turning a normal bowl, where your tool (gouge) is in constant contact with the wood, when cutting a winged bowl the gouge is passing through air which has a potential of catching a wing if you don’t have good control. The result is possibly (most likely) reducing the bowl to firewood and/or personnel injury ( I typically turn at about 2000 rpm, so you imagine the interaction if you catch the wood wrong).

Fortunately, both the bowl and I are in one piece. I am quite happy with piece, nice grain patterns which are enhanced by the overall shape of piece. Also, I am finding this particular batch of maple is producing some interesting 3-D effects. The finished natural edge piece below exhibits this unusual 3-D effect, almost like you are looking at it through a polarized lens as the piece is rotated..... I am hoping will come out in the winged piece.

I am still working on the final finish; I decided to use multiple coats of hand-rubbed polyurethane to see if I can really bring out the 3-D effect. Unfortunately, the cold weather is not conducive for this process. I work out of my non-climate controlled garage so I am lucky to get one coat on a day. So lets hope for some one warmer weather soon!!!!


  1. Oh, I have the perfect place for both of these beautiful objects in the LoveNest!

  2. Really pretty bowls, I love the natural edge on the second one!