Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Salad bowl out of cherry wood: Discussion and Plans

Hi Everyone,

I'm trying to clear out my turning schedule and so today I'm going to begin a salad bowl out of a solid block of cherry.

Cherry is a common domestic hardwood here in the US and most of the cherry that people see is in the form of kitchen cabinets, furniture, and wooden chests. It's usually stained a dark red but cherry's natural color varies from a golden pink to deeper brownish pinks. It's a closed cell wood and it's very easy to turn, especially if the wood is unseasoned. The one big problem with cherry is finishing it-it can be difficult to sand out scratches and if you don't you will be able to readily see them in the finished piece.

This bowl came from a wood supplier down in Florida and it was in absolutely perfect shape when it arrived. I'm making this bowl for a dear friend of mine who lives in Alabama and who long ago asked me for a salad bowl in a red-colored wood. I had the opportunity to acquire this bowl blank and I did so with this friend's request in mind.

So here we go:

Here is a photo of the bowl blank. It's 10 inches in diameter by 4 inches thick:

Since this blank is made from unseasoned wood, it's very heavy so until the weight of the bowl blank is reduced by turning, I'll turn it between centers for safety's sake:

Here you can see the long strips of cherry wood coming off the surface of the bowl. This is a characteristic of unseasoned wood:

Here we are about 5 minuted into the turning:

This is about 15 minutes into the turning. If you look closely there are two lines on the bottom of the bowl. I'm going to be removing that so the bowl will have a foot:

Here you can see the foot taking shape:

This is a side view of the bowl. It has a squarish-shape. I'm going to turn the bowl so it is more rounded so I'm going to turn the surface in a line from the rim (left) to the foot (right):

Here is the bowl about 10 minutes later:

This is the underside of the bowl. I've cut a tenon into the bottom-this is where the bowl will be attached to the lathe when I turn it over for hollowing:

Here is the bowl with a completed foot and sides-note the pink color. Time to turn it over for hollowing:

Now I've flipped the bowl blank over and I'm going to hollow it out.  This photo shows the center being removed. I do that to establish the depth of the bowl and to make cutting the center easier  to do:

Here are two photos of the bowl:

Now since this is unseasoned wood, it is really, really damp. I've had it spraying me with water all day long and it has a very sweet scent to it. But this also means the fibers can tear and if you look carefully at this closeup shot you can see some of the fibers have torn-they look shaggy.  This bowl is going to go straight into the drying bag for month and we'll take another look at it at the end of July.

As for the basswood platter from yesterday-I have it 3 coats of lacquer and then buffed it and it came out great. Unfortunately the center fibers tore while turning so rather than leave a jagged hole in the center I inlaid a piece of jade into the center. Here is a photo of the completed piece:

I'm going to experiment with this piece so you will be seeing it again soon.

My next posting discusses a bowl that I turned about 3 weeks ago and it's developed some bad cracking. So join me for part two shortly.


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