Two Burl Bowls

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Project by PetVet posted 10-06-2009 02:36 PM 2435 views 1 time favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

These are two burls I turned, my first experience with them. The first is a Red Morrell Burl that I turned for my wife’s anniversary present. I know she holds her breath now at birthdays and Christmas, not sure what to expect, but she seemed pleased. Burl was 10” at it’s widest point (max for my Steel City lathe). I decided to turn the bottom, although it would have been interesting to leave all those little spikes on it. I finished it with spray lacquer, my first time doing that. Learned the hard way to let it dry more before rubbing out!
The second is a Red Mallee burl, smaller, about 5”. This is for an aunt who is turning 90 this month. On this one I left the bottom natural. The spikes aren’t as pointy as they are on the Morrell burl. I put a 2009 penny in the epoxy I tinted and filled the mortise with. Again, lacquer finish.
I purchased the burls from Bob gives you personal service, and has a good selection of burls to choose from at reasonable prices.
Any critiques or suggestions are honestly asked for as I am a newbie to turning and appreciate the help you veteran turners provide.

-- Rich in Richmond -- Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

20 comments so far

View peruturner's profile


317 posts in 3356 days

#1 posted 10-06-2009 03:22 PM

Real nice well done I had never turn any f those,burls ,some day Ill get one and try

View jeffthewoodwacker's profile


603 posts in 3798 days

#2 posted 10-06-2009 03:32 PM

Very nice. One suggestion would be to jam chuck it to turn the tenon off of the bottom. I like the finish that you put on it. Keep up the good work.

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

View Joanne's profile


186 posts in 3191 days

#3 posted 10-06-2009 03:37 PM

They are beautiful, I have had a couple of burls sitting under my lathe now for over a year. Seeing your bowls makes me want to finally bite the bullet and try turning them.

-- Joanne, New York,

View Dennis_MGWW's profile


90 posts in 3411 days

#4 posted 10-06-2009 03:42 PM

Very Nice! I love the look of burl when it is turned like that. Very impressive.

-- Dennis,!/MpleGrvWoodwrks

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4240 days

#5 posted 10-06-2009 05:37 PM

Gorgeous turnings, just beautiful. You are a very good turner for a beginner.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Indiana_Parrothead's profile


110 posts in 3149 days

#6 posted 10-06-2009 07:52 PM

Very nice pieces. I tried a couple of these myself, but they did not turn out that well. I still have four burls left that I have not done anything with yet. They are a little big for the mini lathe that I have and I hate to cut them smaller.

-- We are the people our parents warned us about.

View woodbutcher's profile


592 posts in 4160 days

#7 posted 10-06-2009 09:16 PM

Beautiful turnings, both of them. The anniversary one is my favorite for sure. What did you use on the bottom cemter of that burl to give it all the different colors? Was that the recess turned into the bottom for the chuck jaws to expand? I’m a very new turner myself and only do a few necessary things myself. Congratulations again on such a lovely anniversary gift. I’m sure your wife has to Love it!

Ken McGinnis

-- woodbutcher north carolina

View lew's profile


12052 posts in 3749 days

#8 posted 10-06-2009 09:21 PM

Stunning, absolutely stunning!!!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6855 posts in 3973 days

#9 posted 10-06-2009 11:14 PM

Wow, and double wow,

Incredible turning my friend!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3328 days

#10 posted 10-06-2009 11:35 PM

Gorgeous turnings newbie or not.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3579 days

#11 posted 10-06-2009 11:37 PM

Very nice how did you find the spray finishing overall ? Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3279 days

#12 posted 10-07-2009 04:23 AM

Rich, Those are beautiful turnings. I love the Anniversary bowl. Absolutely breathtaking.

-- John @

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 3424 days

#13 posted 10-07-2009 05:03 AM

Both outstanding turnings. You are reaching for the stars and makeing it! Fantastic job.

Thank You for the link also. Keep up the inspirational work.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View tomd's profile


2155 posts in 3764 days

#14 posted 10-07-2009 05:15 AM

Great bowls, love the color.

-- Tom D

View Alan 's profile


51 posts in 3911 days

#15 posted 10-07-2009 06:35 AM

Very nice job. Burls like that are just begging to be turned, aren’t they? I use spray lacquer on almost everything and patience is the name of the game. I usually give it 4-5 coats thinned out about 30% and sand lightly beginning after the 3rd coat mainly to get rid of the little nibs and bumps. I use 3M sanding pads because they don’t seem to leave sanding marks the way regular paper, even 600 grit or higher, does. Wait a day or 2 after the last coat before final sanding to give the lacquer a bit more time to cure.

One minor quibble that I’ve mentioned before to others. When you photograph the pieces, use a simple plain backdrop with no pattern or textures. Let the work be the focal point, especially with something as busy as these burls. Otherwise the backdrop fights for attention and you lose a little of the impact of the piece. After all, if it’s good enough to photograph, it’s good eneough to get top billing, right? You can get rolls of paper backdrops in various sizes at photo shops. Just tape it to a wall behind a table and let it hang with a smooth curve at the bottom and you’re good to go.

Keep up the good work.

-- Alan Carter,

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