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Woodturning Elm Burl into Bowl

Living in Rural Ontario I get alot of people bringing in their own wood or making lumber donations. Whether it be milled lumber or they call saying ” I got a tree I’m cutting down, Do ya want it?” . People seem to know that I’m the guy to contact. One day a friend who is an arborist working for the municipality walked in with This…

He informed my that an Elm had been culled due to Dutch Elm Decease and this was a burl from said tree. I describe burls as something like a tumer. There are different ways they can form. And from what I’ve seen, have no effect on the tree’s overall health.

From what I got from my friend was that it was growing off the limb. The horizontal piece in the top of the picture above. Knowing burl was a fairly hard wood I tried to mill most of the waste immediately. The more it dries out tighter and harder the wood gets. I had never turned something this odd before on the lathe. It took awhile to get it areodynamic enough to reduce vibration as it turned. And because of the malformation of the bark around the limb there were many cavities dispensing absesses of water as I cut deep into the core. I roughed in a bowl shape and let it sit for a week or so to dry. After the week I re chucked the bowl. Reshaping the now somewhat deformed bowl from its week of drying. Some project I give less drying time than others so that the piece has a bit of extra character after I’ve given it my final shaping. I then proceeded to flood the barewood with osmo oil to penetrate the wood. Followed by a french polish shellacing to help harden and shine the outershell.

I tried to keep the bowl as large as possible to best display the original Burls soul. I’m not sure what its practical use would be yet. But it sure is cool to look at.

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