Dyed Alaskan Birch

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Project by Stonekettle posted 1439 days ago 2354 views 4 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I collected tons of cut Alaskan Birch (a sub species of North American White or Paper Birch) from a new road area near my home in the MatSu Valley. The figure and character of Alaskan Birch depends entirely on where it grows. In the deep swamp where there is little light, the trees grow very little from year to year and the grain is dense like hard maple with tight figure and large amounts of brown heart and burl – this is the wood I usually work in. In the open, in Alaska’s 22 hours of sunlight summers, the wood grows quickly, it’s soft like soft maple or pine, and is usually white in color with straight grain – i.e. boring. Good mostly for firewood. The several tons of birch I got from the road cutting was of the later type – but, hey, free turning stock, not like I’m going to turn it down.

The question then, was how to make it more interesting? Carving and aniline dye was my answer. This bowl was turned green to rough, allowed to dry for a year in the shop until it was around 8%, finished turned and then dyed, carved, sanded, dyed, sanded, and dyed again, building layers of color and character. The idea was to create something that looked as if it had grown that way, like coral. The finish is twenty coats of very thin wipe-on poly gloss. It’s about 14” in diameter.

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

26 comments so far

View Jordan's profile


1358 posts in 1721 days

#1 posted 1439 days ago

How could you possibly make it more interesting that what you have? It’s fabulous as it is!!! The carving, the color, everything!


View Stonekettle's profile


116 posts in 1501 days

#2 posted 1439 days ago

I meant that the wood wasn’t very interesting – which is why I choose to dye and carve it.

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

View cranesgonewild's profile


344 posts in 1504 days

#3 posted 1439 days ago

Good job. The colour is awesome. You have a lot of patience to wait so long to finish the project.

-- I'm a Fungi --

View Bearpie's profile


2584 posts in 1614 days

#4 posted 1439 days ago

Wow Jim, ALL of your works so far have been awesome! You have talent!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Tony Strupulis's profile

Tony Strupulis

240 posts in 1720 days

#5 posted 1439 days ago

Very nice.

-- Tony -

View scrappy's profile


3505 posts in 2027 days

#6 posted 1439 days ago

Fantastic work. Wonderful caving and dye/finish. Great eye for art.

Keep it up.


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

View TJ65's profile


1353 posts in 1646 days

#7 posted 1439 days ago

Cant add to what has already been said -but WOW!
Your work is incredible, I love it, as it is soooooo different yet still some semblance of reality.

-- Theresa,

View cathyb's profile


757 posts in 1840 days

#8 posted 1439 days ago

This bowl really speaks to my spirit. Nicely done…....

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View Ken90712's profile


14821 posts in 1785 days

#9 posted 1439 days ago

Holey Moley! This is awesome and very creative! Way to think ouside the box! You hit this one out of the park for sure!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Splinterman's profile


23058 posts in 1958 days

#10 posted 1439 days ago

Hey Stonekettle,
Really sweet job….well done.

View SPalm's profile (online now)


4743 posts in 2478 days

#11 posted 1439 days ago

That is just so cool. What a wonderfully beautiful vessel.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 2843 days

#12 posted 1439 days ago

Gorgeous work of art. You have a nice eye for color and design and form. You definately worked some magic here.

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile (online now)

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7465 posts in 1516 days

#13 posted 1439 days ago

It is absolutely beautiful. You really did a great job in making it look ‘natural’. Awesome!


-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs "Knowledge is Power"

View Chefdavid's profile


254 posts in 1451 days

#14 posted 1439 days ago

WOW!!! Now that is a wonderful piece of art. I hope someday to do work that beautiful!!

-- Become a fan on Facebook...

View Edward83's profile


161 posts in 1493 days

#15 posted 1439 days ago

What a wonderful piece!

-- Praise God in all things, especially the bad things because they make the best learning experiences.

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