Coolibah Relief Wing Bowl

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Project by swirlsandburls posted 03-08-2009 01:46 AM 2248 views 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This Coolibah was a real challenge. Heavily off-balance, it wanted to jump off the lathe! I decided to execute a very sharp direction change by creating a cup inside the bowl. It really shows off a different grain structure at the transition, which is what I was hoping to achieve with it. I had a gallery visitor ask me what I would “do” with it (like put dip in the middle, perhaps?). I laughed and said (more or less), “I just enjoy it as art. I don’t really want it to be ‘good’ for anything necessarily, but the collector can pretty do as he or she pleases with a piece like this.”

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

15 comments so far

View Loucarb's profile


2388 posts in 3409 days

#1 posted 03-08-2009 03:30 AM

Wow that is some grain. Very nice piece. Thanks for sharing

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3522 days

#2 posted 03-08-2009 03:34 AM

I love it. Wow….......... But I have never heard of coolibah…..what is it? How did you turn this one?

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View jbrinkman's profile


33 posts in 3406 days

#3 posted 03-08-2009 03:35 AM

I wonder if that same person would have asked Da Vinci what you could “do” with the Mona Lisa. Great looking piece. I can just imagine how my lathe would have danced around the shop with that piece.

-- Joe Brinkman, California -

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18246 posts in 3640 days

#4 posted 03-08-2009 04:46 AM

Nicest looking chip/dip plate/bowl I’ve ever seen :~)) beautiful work.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3839 days

#5 posted 03-08-2009 09:09 AM

Guacamole! Gorgeous. This is a really cool piece.

-- Happy woodworking!

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3731 days

#6 posted 03-08-2009 02:20 PM

Beautiful piece of burl. Thanks for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View TreeGuy's profile


39 posts in 3335 days

#7 posted 03-08-2009 02:40 PM

Great piece. Where would I find some coolibah?

-- Bryan, Cleveland OH

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3492 days

#8 posted 03-08-2009 05:51 PM

Fantastic, appreciate the effort you went through to achieve this beautiful piece. Do not let anyone eat out of that!

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

View Rick D.'s profile

Rick D.

56 posts in 3360 days

#9 posted 03-08-2009 06:04 PM

Wow, that is awesome!

-- segmented turning kits --->

View toyguy's profile


1644 posts in 3802 days

#10 posted 03-08-2009 09:17 PM

nice piece of wood…....

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View swirlsandburls's profile


114 posts in 3360 days

#11 posted 03-08-2009 10:40 PM

to TreeGuy Bryan, I get my burls from LeeTree Wood Works in Decatur Georgia,

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

View swirlsandburls's profile


114 posts in 3360 days

#12 posted 03-09-2009 12:59 AM

To Jerry (cabinetmaster). Here are the basic steps I use to turn a “wing” bowl from a burl cap.
1. I make sure the flat surface is flat enough to mount either a faceplate or faceplate ring with not rocking at all. The ring is becomming my favorite approach. Saves time re-mounting the chuck. I use a 5” rotary grinder with 60 grit paper to flatten the face.
2. I find the high spot on the “dome” and make this (more or less) the center of the piece, unless there is a reason not to (that is the “art part” I guess). I mount the ring using this center.
3. Once I mount the piece on the lathe, I remove the spikes from the back of the blank. I once stalled my lathe on one of these spikes, and they are scary as all get-out. Needle-sharp, very hard, and lots of them, all invisible as they spin. So, I started using the grinder to remove them. It’s fast, safe, and far less punishing than a gouge. I figure one mistake with these spikes could easily cost me a finger or even a hand.
4. I turn the back of the bowl to a shape I like, taking the wings into consideration. I also turn and finish the dovetail center to reverse mount the piece. The back is very challenging, because the cut is almost always interrupted, and I leave the natural spikes at the very edge. Still a bit scary! Keeps me focused!
5. After re-mounting, I turn and finish the inside. I find that many species have lots of fissures in the grain, and tearout is a bit of a challenge. So, these pieces typically require a lot of sanding. I really like wave-disks mounted on a drill for the sanding.
6. I usually finish with lots of coats of a wiping tung-oil varnish, then two buffing steps (using the Beall system) and finally carnauba wax buff. I have never tried any sort of stain or dye. Its just not necessary and would interfere with the natural beauty of the burl (In my humble opinion)

There you have it! I look forward to seeing you try it sometime!

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

View crosseyedcarver's profile


226 posts in 3001 days

#13 posted 02-08-2010 06:10 PM

Beautiful wood is a wonderful thing.

-- Tim, Tallahasse FL

View a1Jim's profile


117062 posts in 3541 days

#14 posted 02-08-2010 06:19 PM

Wow that’s an amazing looking piece. Thanks for the info you gave to Jerry. Not being much of a turner it would be great if you could do a blog on this type of turning.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 2982 days

#15 posted 06-19-2010 10:54 PM

This is AWESOME, Thanks for posting and your detailed descriptions and the site for LeeTree. I’ll go up there one day and check them out.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

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