American Elm Carved/Turned Hollow Form

  • Advertise with us
Project by Dave2D2 posted 07-16-2011 01:35 AM 2819 views 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was someone’s firewood at one point. It’s the only elm I’ve ever turned, besides a smaller one that I got the same day, which became my first turned/carved project. Alas, I lost the pics of it. I just completed this piece on Monday or so this week. It is 13.5” tall and a little over 8” diameter. And it will have a lid one day…..

I don’t know if all elm is rock hard like this or not, but this was a major major pain. Elm turns great though, on center. With a good wide scraper, you can actually make the inside of your hf’s shine. I guess this piece had more wood to remove than any other, which is why it was so tough to complete.

To illustrate the process should anyone else be interested in the method, I start between centers, and round it off. Then I stare at if for hours hoping the wood will “talk to me” lol, and when it doesn’t (it never does), I decide on a shape. I turned a tenon on the top (before any shaping of the hf), and put it on a big chuck I have and pull up the tailstock, get my dimensions, and started turning the outer profile of the legs. With that done, I remove the tailstock, and set my steady rest up. Then I hollow the space inside the legs, up to the bottom of the hf. I left enough meat on the feet to attach my chuck to it, turned it around, brought up the tailstock and shaped the hf, then repeated the hollowing with the steady rest in place.

When I’m done turning, I’m left with a solid piece, hollow on top and bottom. I draw my leg design on the wood itself, then I drill holes all along the legs in the waste part. I used my jigsaw to cut out the waste, and all the holes keep me from tearing up my B&D cheapo jigsaw, because there’s only a small amount of wood between holes to actually cut. Once the waste was gone, I began shaping by using a mix of carving chisels mainly, with small carbide burrs to even it all out, followed by 10 years of hand sanding, at least, haha. Anways, thanks for the kind welcome here! I hope I can contribute some of my own knowledge and experiences here, instead of just devouring all the info this site has on it.

12 comments so far

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 3073 days

#1 posted 07-16-2011 01:51 AM

It IS a very interesting looking “Bowl”? The longer I look at it the more it reminds me of a Chinese Temple Lion with the upper body missing! Whether you agree or not, it is still a very well turned and carved piece. Well done, Dave!

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View Dave2D2's profile


17 posts in 2503 days

#2 posted 07-16-2011 02:48 AM

Haha, thanks. I don’t know what to call it.

View bobasaurus's profile


3443 posts in 3178 days

#3 posted 07-16-2011 05:23 AM

Looks kind of like a jelly fish. Nice work. The leg carving is a marvel.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View woodworkerscott's profile


361 posts in 2808 days

#4 posted 07-16-2011 05:43 AM

Very cool. Thanks for sharing the process.

-- " 'woodworker''s a good word, an honest word." - Sam Maloof

View Thaqeb Alserhan's profile

Thaqeb Alserhan

87 posts in 2630 days

#5 posted 07-16-2011 11:39 AM

View michelletwo's profile


2735 posts in 3010 days

#6 posted 07-16-2011 02:01 PM

you have officially earned the title of ; producer of weird! beautifully done! whatever it is!

View helluvawreck's profile


31030 posts in 2861 days

#7 posted 07-16-2011 02:36 PM

That is very unique and the wood is beautiful.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4080 days

#8 posted 07-16-2011 02:53 PM

Very interesting! I always appreciate when a maker shares their methods, as most turners first thought is, “okay, how’d he do that?” That is some pretty deep hollowing in a narrow space, I think. You did great on it. And combining carving with turning is almost always a winner. Very attractive!


View dustyal's profile


1293 posts in 3470 days

#9 posted 07-16-2011 03:15 PM

your 10 years of hand sanding paid off… remarkable work… very clever design and use of tools. The elm looks great.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4213 days

#10 posted 07-16-2011 03:40 PM

Incredible amount of work in that piece, but the end result was worth it. Beautiful!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18267 posts in 3670 days

#11 posted 07-23-2011 04:49 AM

That’s is what I thought when I saw it; WORK, Work, work!! nice job.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2634 days

#12 posted 07-23-2011 07:59 AM

Very nicely unique. The someday lid could be a head of something.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics