Another bowl season ends

Although I have been working on one single commissioned project through most of this year, I have managed to sneak in my own turning work at every opportunity. Now I have finally gone through my big pile of roughed out greenwood bowls.

From last June through September, I was very busy working my way through my stock of logs. I like to rough out a bunch of bowls during the summer, that way I have a pile of work to do in the winter while I am waiting for glues or finish to dry. Wow, now that I think about it, I kinda sound like a squirrel getting ready for winter!

My plan for the summer of 2010 was to make “utility” bowls. Utility meaning, bowls to eat out of. I did create a number of artistic pieces, but I did try to stick with my plan for the greenwood turning season.

After about four to six months, the roughed out bowls are ready for their final turning and finish. Once I finish with the roughing out, I coat the bowls with Anchor Seal, then put them in a paper bag, write the date on it the bag, put it in the pile, and forget about it.

I think I lost about a third of the bowls due to cracking and checking, which is to be expected but a bummer none the less. All but one of my sycamore bowls split which was a real disappointment because some of them were really big. BTW, my local sycamore trees smell like manure when you turn them. My polite wife refers it as an “interesting” smell.

Overall, I am pretty happy with the summer’s bounty of bowls. I have already sold a number of them, and I hope to sell the rest of them at my next show.

I have not decided what I want to do this summer once I get my log pile re-stocked. The artistic pieces sell pretty well, and so do the utility bowls, but I really do want to focus on some theme.  Oh well, I have the rest of the winter to decide.

If you are interested in seeing my 2010 bowl season work, you can visit my website bowl gallery.

How was your turning season?

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About yaakov

Husband, Abba, Furniture Maker, Turner, Bookseller, and all around working stiff.
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4 Responses to Another bowl season ends

  1. cobweb says:

    It’s odd, but roughing bowls (and other objects) is more usually considered a winter occupation here in the UK. Wood comes from trees freshly felled in late autumn when the sap has stopped running, and the bowls dry through the lower humidity months of winter, spring, and just about into summer.

    A 33% loss rate is high, Yaakov. Could it be that your bowls cracked as they dried in the high humidity of summer and autumn? Assuming of course that you have high humidity at all!

    Just a thought.

    Andy

    • yaakov says:

      Andy,
      I usually get my trees in the summer when people are clearing their yard or after summer storms. It never occured to me to try to get stock during the fall and winter went the sap is down. A good bit of my stock comes from friends who are landscapers, and most of there work is in the spring and summer. They will drop by and leave stuff with me.
      As I drive around my area I rarely see felled trees in the winter, but I believe you are right. I should try to find more stock during the fall.
      I was surprised at my loss rate too. My pile of drying stock is in a temperature controlled room however. Some of the loss were due to my own stupidity. I would like to know your method for drying roughed out pieces.
      I highly value any advice or suggestions from you are highly regarded.
      yaakov…..

  2. Huge fan of the vase with the red tripod base and the off-center work. Really sparks my interest.

  3. cobweb says:

    Hello again Yaakov, you silver tongued smoothie you.

    I also pick up logs during spring and summer, but tend to leave them in the full length until a little later in the year if I want them for roughouts.

    My roughing process is quite simple really…rough out to the usual % increase in wall thickness, I use PVA glue neat to seal the endgrain, and stack in a dry, draught proof place where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate to much. I don’t bag them anymore unless it’s a wood species very prone to bad behaviour (cherry, holly Etc.), and I lose very few bowls over the course of a year.
    One day I’ll get round to building a kiln in my store and then the process will have to be learnt again. Until then my process works for me so I stick to it.

    I hope this helps

    Andy

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