What became of that big ole log — follow up to my first wet-turned box elder bowl

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Project by Douglas Bordner posted 07-23-2007 08:16 AM 3160 views 1 time favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In a previously posted project and forum call to experienced bowl-turners, I referenced finding some red-stained box elder logs at my sister-in-law’s outdoor wedding in Chicago. I prevailed on the woman that we carpooled with and several log sections hitched a ride back to Omaha. I gave wet-turning a go, and the German in me just could not live with allowing nature’s plan to free-form warp. From now on out I will either season the logs (three halves are split and stickered with latex painted ends in the garage for the next go) or wet turn to way over-sized proportions before allowing the drying process to commence. I don’t have cole jaws for my mini-lathe, and the dovetail recess I made was warped out of round, so I super-glued a dowel tenon to the middle of the rough turned bowl and re-turned the outside of the bowl, including a new recess. I knocked out the dowel and re-turned the inside. With not great tools and even poorer sharpening skills, it seems that I had a fair amount of sanding to do to get things to the final juncture. This mini-bowl, is the end result. But I will try, try again down the road. Finish is Myland’s cellulose sanding sealer, with a final application of Myland’s High Build Friction Polish.

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

23 comments so far

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4035 posts in 4302 days

#1 posted 07-23-2007 08:21 AM

Here is what the wet bowl looked like.


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

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4304 days

#2 posted 07-23-2007 08:37 AM

Douglas that is how you learn – try, then try again. Perfect size bowl for a small salad :-)). The wood is beautiful and the bowl look good.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4415 days

#3 posted 07-23-2007 09:15 AM

Douglas, I’ve only turned wet once. It was fun, but the result never saw the light of day.

Your small bowl is very nice; quite delicate looking and a beautiful color.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4399 days

#4 posted 07-23-2007 11:29 AM

end result: Beautiful!!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4201 days

#5 posted 07-23-2007 01:55 PM

Douglas, what I know about wet turning youcould put in your ear and have room left over for your hat. The bowl looks neat and trim and the color is very unique. i don’t think you hurt yourself here.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Karson's profile


35153 posts in 4639 days

#6 posted 07-23-2007 01:56 PM

Great Bowl, Handy for some dainty rose petals.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4201 days

#7 posted 07-23-2007 01:57 PM

just trying to fis something, sorry

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4035 posts in 4302 days

#8 posted 07-23-2007 03:15 PM

Thanks folks.

Karson, that is a very poetic sentiment! Now I’ll have to give it to the wife and I have the perfect presentation.

I held it up to the light to see if it would transilluminate (you can see the light through the bottom). But specifically you can see all the way through that little knot. Tiny little hole there. Perfect for the dry measure of rose petals!

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

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4549 days

#9 posted 07-23-2007 04:28 PM

I salute you, Douglas! Great job on your first try at turning green wood. You’ll find that it always looks fuzzy when turned green, too. I’ve turned a lot of things, but haven’t made a saucer or bowl. :^( Keep up the great work and work on those sharpening skills. They are very important in turning. You may want to look into the Scary Sharp way of sharpening…it uses different grades of sandpaper, instead of stones that are glued with adhesive(spray) onto a piece of acrylic or other smooth flat surface. It works well. In the furture…save some of your shavings and/or dust from sanding…this way you can fill that hole with a little Titebond and saw dust, then just sand it flush after it dries, thus eliminating the hole while matching the color of the original wood by using it’s own dust/shavings.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4325 days

#10 posted 07-23-2007 04:53 PM

Very nice Doug. I’d like that on my desk to hold stuff.

One of these days I’ll actually try my hand. I like the idea of turning green wood.

-- Bob

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4035 posts in 4302 days

#11 posted 07-23-2007 05:02 PM

Thanks Oscorner! I do the scary-sharp on my plane irons, and have one side of auto safety glass lined with P 80, backside ramps through the grits up to P3000 with Japanese auto body paper. I never considered honing the skews, gouges and scrapers. I’ve been on the net looking at Alan Lacer’s posted material. If I ever get seriously dedicated to bowl work I’ll consider getting a good grinder and a Wolverine or Oneway jig. The thing that really gets my goat, I have a super Ashley Iles 3/4˝ oval skew that I have butchered up trying to sharpen. Maybe I need to try and sell some pens or other projects to foot the bill. So many tools, so little money.

Since Dan Walters has shown up, I had the thought that maybe we should have a LJ consortium-store on eBay. I can’t see any of us buying from each other, perhaps it’s time we showcase our things to the unsuspecting public. Just a thought. I might have to swing over to the coffee lounge and post this.

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

View mot's profile


4922 posts in 4275 days

#12 posted 07-23-2007 05:07 PM

Doug, just awesome! I’d love to get my hands on some box elder.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Greg Mitchell's profile

Greg Mitchell

1381 posts in 4308 days

#13 posted 07-23-2007 10:25 PM

Great job on the bowl. The color of box elder is incrediable.

-- Greg Mitchell--Lowell,

View TheGravedigger's profile


963 posts in 4263 days

#14 posted 07-23-2007 11:17 PM

Excellent proportions, and little knotholes like that can add a lot of character to a bowl. Good job!

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog:

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14179 posts in 4221 days

#15 posted 07-24-2007 02:35 AM

beautiful piece.
love the wood.
great design.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

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