This project started off with a freshly milled slab of black walnut (Juglans nigra) that was 18/4 thick, 14” wide, and 65” long. It seemed like it would have been lonely in the back of the truck on the way home, so I picked up two of them.
The tree was cut about a week ago, and slabbed a couple of days before I picked them up. They were heavy. I barely managed to get them out of the truck by myself.
My lathe has a 14” swing, so my blank need to be just under 10” square to keep the diagonal small enough. I initially cut 11” from the slab.
I had wanted sap wood on both edges of the bowl, but the log was just a bit too big. So instead I opted to keep just one edge sappy and cut the blank down to 9.5” square and 4.5” thick.
Mounted between centers on the lathe, I’ll drive it with a spur drive and rough out a bit of material before I start on the final form.
Initial roughing out of the form.
I’ll turn a mortice to receive the chuck jaws, expanding them to grip the inside. I’ll sand the bottom to 400 grit before reversing it.
After reversing the blank, I’ll use the tailstock for support until I remove a bit more material. I did some quick math, and bone dry the blank would have weighed about 10 pounds. Sopping wet like it is, I’ll bet it was more than 15 pounds.
Here’s a shot that shows the side profile of the bowl.
This one shows the final form just before the last few cleanup passes and any sanding on the inside.
And here we have a shot of the pile of shavings next to the square bowl from yesterday. There’s a 12” ruler in there.
Finally, I have a shot that compares the color difference a day makes. The one on the left has had a day to dry and oxidize. It’s got a much more recognizable rich, brown walnut color. These bowls were turned to final thickness and they will warp a bit as they dry out. Once they are dry, I’ll finish them with a thinned out lacquer, rub out the shine with some steel wool, and then wax them. Final size is 9.5” square and about 4” tall.