Diminishing returns – a sad reality

Ring ring. Ring ring. This is Yaakov. Yes, I do take lumber from fallen trees. What type of wood is it? You don’t know? Well….errrr….. Okay. Yes. Yes. Yes. Okay, save one big piece for me. Click.

That’s how it started. A friend of my wife’s saved a big piece of wood for me. So I drove over there and picked up, it was one BIG wide chunk of poplar. Oh well… The things you do for love. But in this case it literally turn out well.

As most people who know wood, poplar is generally not a show piece wood. It is generally used as a secondary wood for furniture. So for the hell of it, I took the wood, and for the hell of it I turned two really large bowls. These bowls had a nice forms, but you could say; “They had great personalities but were not much to look at.” So what are you going to do? Doll them up of course, but how?

I thought of a motif; barren trees. So I penciled in barren trees, but to make it different, you never see the end of a limb. Next, I took a really fine point pen and inked in the trees. All this took a couple of hours. Now for the hard part; painting between the limbs with black acrylic paint.

And so it begins….






Little did I realize that it would take me close to an hour to paint in all the negative space between each tree. And with twenty sections…..do the math.

On and on…..

OMG when will it end!

Put me out of my misery!






For days and days it went on and on then I finally completed the painting. Then on to touch up painting, then layer upon layer of spray lacquer on the outside, the sanding and more sanding, the spraying and more spraying. Next, about ten coats of poly on the inside. I must have thirty hours into this bowl. There is no way I’m going to get my money out of this.

But here is the final result:

“Lost in the Woods”







The bowl is about 13″ wide and about 5.75″ tall. I call it “Lost in the Woods”

Here is the other half of that log. This piece is called “Blue Planet”

“Blue Planet”


About yaakov

Husband, Abba, Furniture Maker, Turner, Bookseller, and all around working stiff.
This entry was posted in In Yaakov's Workshop and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Diminishing returns – a sad reality

  1. Bob says:

    I really like the lost in the woods one, it looks great, it will be interesting to see what it sells for.

  2. Ron Zalk says:

    Lost in the woods turned out very nice. Check out Richard Kennedy’s work. He carvew what you drew on Lost in the woods. would have carved what you painted, Nick Cook uses it often. I use it when teaching bowl turning as there is very little wood that’s easy to turn here in Israel, Check out Mike Mahoney’s Heirloom series, too. Nothing wrong with poplar.

  3. Eye-catching finishes, Yaakov.

  4. You’ve done things with poplar that I never imagined. VERY nice!

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