Cedar Vase with Stone Inlay

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Project by swirlsandburls posted 02-28-2009 08:27 PM 2378 views 4 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This Cedar vase started with a host of problems: a number of very deep cracks in the blank could not be turned off. I decided to try my first stone inlay project in a vessel. Most of my inlays are on mostly flat surfaces. Curved surfaces are much more challenging. I used the cracks as the basic outline for the twigs, extending them and adding carved branches.

Note that the outside was almost completely finished before hollowing. I left the piece in the chuck while inlaying and grinding the outside. Grinding the outside on the lathe is the best way to do this.

Two of the pictures show the carving and the first inlay step: the twig bark, which is done first and ground down almost completely. Then, I carved the needles and inlaid them with malachite in a second inlay step.

As you can see, this piece has at least three distinct grain patterns: waterfall, swirl, and an almost burl-like pattern where a limb intersected the main trunk.

Dry Cedar is a very challenging wood. It is soft, but very brittle. In fact, I cracked the bottom while hollowing, and the piece suffered, but still warrants a place on the mantle (or at the gallery). I really loved the natural edge flair at the top. All in all, one of my all-time favorites. On display at the Greenville Artists Guild Gallery on Main Street, Greenville SC.

-- patience is a virtue ... in woodworking, cooking, and life in general

17 comments so far

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3458 days

#1 posted 02-28-2009 09:45 PM

Very beautiful, great wood and the shape is fantastic. Letting your talent take over in the unknown.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Kerux's profile


812 posts in 3815 days

#2 posted 02-28-2009 09:46 PM

That is just plum gorgeous!


View maddog1947216's profile


32 posts in 3447 days

#3 posted 02-28-2009 09:53 PM

Nice job very well done – thanks for letting us allsee it.


View bamasawduster's profile


321 posts in 3525 days

#4 posted 02-28-2009 11:11 PM

Fabutastic. Really love the edges. Glad the cracks were there. The inlay turned out incredible.

-- Gary, Huntsville. Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do.

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 3654 days

#5 posted 02-28-2009 11:34 PM

Absolutely beautiful. Great job of using what the wood offered.

Thanks for posting it.

-- Martin, Kansas

View kiwi1969's profile


609 posts in 3373 days

#6 posted 03-01-2009 12:47 AM

My dad always saw cracks and defects in his turnings as design opportunities, nice to see how you combined the different mediums.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4091 days

#7 posted 03-01-2009 01:17 AM

this is STUNNING

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Matt Vredenburg's profile

Matt Vredenburg

189 posts in 3345 days

#8 posted 03-01-2009 01:18 AM

Beautiful work.

-- Matt, Arizona

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2721 posts in 3523 days

#9 posted 03-01-2009 01:57 AM


-- Dennis Zongker

View blackcherry's profile


3337 posts in 3754 days

#10 posted 03-01-2009 02:01 AM

Winner winner chicken dinner!!! Stunning and beautiful…thanks for sharing

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3805 days

#11 posted 03-01-2009 02:10 AM

Wow incredible!

-- Happy woodworking!

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4023 posts in 3994 days

#12 posted 03-01-2009 02:55 AM

Beyond words…

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View DocK16's profile


1184 posts in 4018 days

#13 posted 03-01-2009 06:24 AM

Glad I went back to see the projects I missed this week, this one was worth 2 looks. Very unique and a great finish.

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16273 posts in 4149 days

#14 posted 03-01-2009 04:21 PM

This is one of those pieces that goes way beyond “woodworking”. It’s a real work of art.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3521 days

#15 posted 03-02-2009 03:42 AM

very nice

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

showing 1 through 15 of 17 comments

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