|Project by mileskimball||posted 06-13-2016 02:27 PM||528 views||0 times favorited||5 comments|
On my way to hang insect replicas in trees (that is, fly fishing), I noticed a guy working with a woodpile from a tree that had obviously just been taken down. It was pretty massive sugar maple, leaving a 6-7’ diameter stump.
As a woodturner, I’m always scouting for likely logs by the side of the road. I stopped and chatted with Stu Clancey, who was a really nice guy. Turns out he and my dad were both purchasing agents, so I regaled him worth stories about the rivalry between my dad and my stepdad, who, wouldn’t you know it, was a corporate salesman. Natural enemies of the corporate world, you know, one trying to get as much money as possible, the other, to spend as little money as possible. You meet the nicest people through woodworking!
He and I both noted that the crotch was going to be a pain to split for firewood, so I asked if I could take if, along with a smaller log that I plan to get a “thank you” bowl out of for Stu.
The crotch was a beast. At least 100 pounds. I had to hack away at it with a chainsaw until I could get a blank that would fit on my lathe, a Nova DVR 2024. The problem with a crotch is that the various branches exiting the trunk have different densities, and they’re not all spaced equally. So anything you turn out of it will never be in balance. So I had to start at 100 rpm, and I was able to build up only to 800. Even so, it made the lathe dance.
One of the challenges of a crotch bowl is figuring out how to orient the bowl in the log. I chose to do an end-grain bowl, as if it had been sitting there upright in that tree for a hundred years or more. I wonder what it witnessed as it sat by a road in upstate New York all that time?
The natural edges were tricky. They made the gouge bounce a bit, which was exacerbated by the differing grain densities at different points around the bowl. Then I decided on a undercut lip, as if I didn’t already have enough challenges.
Finished with shellac and paste wax for now. Finished diameter: about 17”. Height: 7”