Pith to Pith turning

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Project by tomd posted 08-16-2017 04:45 AM 1319 views 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here are two hollow form vases made of maple and then woodburned. I wanted to show these vases because they are turned pith to pith style. It seems the LJ’s down south and out west have a lot of access to very large trees or at least it seems so. Here in the Northeast large trees are not easy to come by, a eight to twelve inch high vase or bowl done side grain style requires a tree 20 to 30 inch in diameter. I don’t see those much any more, just once in awhile so I started trying pith to pith turning to be able to turn taller vases. These two vases are turned that style then plugged as you can see in the second picture. I have learned a lot about turning end grain, hollowing end grain and plugging the bottom. If you do not have access to large blanks you can turn tall vases or bowls with small trees using this method. Both vases where made using a 10 inch log and measure 8 and 10 inch tall and about 7 1/2 inch diameter.

-- Tom D

16 comments so far

View Bill Szydlo's profile

Bill Szydlo

65 posts in 2712 days

#1 posted 08-16-2017 12:06 PM

For those of us who are trying pith to pith turning these are very inspirational. I am just starting to learn how to hollow and am also faced with a shortage of large diameter wood, would you be willing to share your process for turning/plugging? Are you turning green wood?

View MyChipCarving's profile


604 posts in 3150 days

#2 posted 08-16-2017 01:15 PM

Tom, I’m a fan of your turning and burning. Can you dry your blanks slow enough to keep the pith from cracking? I too would like to see the process if you are able.

-- Marty,, 866-444-6996

View helluvawreck's profile


31378 posts in 2891 days

#3 posted 08-16-2017 01:53 PM

This is a beautiful vase and the artwork is striking. This piece displays a lot of nice details and craftsmanship.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View gashley's profile


88 posts in 3031 days

#4 posted 08-16-2017 01:59 PM

Really like this Tom. I’m a big fan of southwest style art (pots, rugs, kachinas, etc). This really captures that flavor for me. I’m not a turner – a lathe is the one tool I don’t have in my shop. But this kind of stuff makes we want to try!

-- Gary in OP

View Julian's profile


1347 posts in 2715 days

#5 posted 08-16-2017 02:01 PM

I like your wood burning designs. Did you turn them while the wood was still wet?

-- Julian

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3615 days

#6 posted 08-16-2017 03:45 PM

Very nice turning work.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4122 days

#7 posted 08-16-2017 03:47 PM

Lovely work.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View ralbuck's profile


4574 posts in 2291 days

#8 posted 08-16-2017 04:09 PM

All said above. I do think they are gorgeous.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View ZAGREB's profile


851 posts in 1675 days

#9 posted 08-16-2017 04:22 PM

realy nice bowls
did I see your horses are in ” action”?

-- bambi

View Woodwrecker's profile


4154 posts in 3600 days

#10 posted 08-16-2017 05:10 PM

Very nice job Tom.
The combination of color, wood-burning and the vessel shapes all come together wonderfully.

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View tomd's profile


2155 posts in 3795 days

#11 posted 08-16-2017 08:50 PM

The horse picture was taken from the French prehistoric cave drawings the second was from an Indian hide drawing. I am going to do a blog soon on pith to pith turning if I get enough interest. I have been working on this style of turning for about 3 years now and while not being an expert have come a long way.

-- Tom D

View htl's profile


3911 posts in 1184 days

#12 posted 08-16-2017 09:26 PM

Super nice work!!!
You other projects are way on the out standing side too!!!

-- Learn More About Making Wooden Models. An Index Of My Model making Blogs.

View bushmaster's profile


3101 posts in 2307 days

#13 posted 08-17-2017 03:10 AM

Would like to know what you mean exactly about pith to pith turning, to me it is lengthways on the tree, but then why would you need a 30 inch tree, for 12 inch vase.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View John's profile


1167 posts in 1295 days

#14 posted 08-17-2017 05:09 AM

Tom, you did a fine job turning and burning your two vases. Interesting information on where the drawings originated! I hadn’t heard the term pith to pith before, interesting.

-- John, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada.

View michelletwo's profile


2744 posts in 3040 days

#15 posted 08-17-2017 09:23 AM

turning with the pith vertically has been done for a long time. I very much like your horses on this. really make this vase stand out from the crowd.

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