"Lil Monster" - Bowl from 5" Wisteria Vine

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Project by Transition posted 01-07-2012 07:49 AM 1804 views 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have access to a farm that has produced some very interesting materials for turning. One of them was a Wisteria Vine that was 5” in diameter. I hated to cut it down, but it was causing damage to just about everything surrounding it.

I couldn’t wait to explore and turned it the day after it was cut. So, I had a bit of moisture to contend with. Turning it was a bit of a challenge as the vine was soft and very fibrous. As I was turning it, instead of the outline becoming more well defined, it got fuzzier. When I switched off the lathe, the tooled piece looked like a brush. After getting the general shape, I tamed the fibers with 80 grit sandpaper, and worked my way down the grits.

As the cross section shows, the wood is a lemon yellow with white bands and a dark brown pith. I don’t know much about the growth of vines, but the pattern is very interesting. The finished piece is fairly strong and did not move much at all.

Bowl is ~ 3.5” diameter x 2.5” high x 1/8” thick. I did not apply a finish.

-- Andrew, Orange County, CA -

11 comments so far

View Mark's profile


34 posts in 1411 days

#1 posted 01-07-2012 07:57 AM

Beautiful. I am now going to keep my eyes open for anyone getting rid of their old Wisteira

View a1Jim's profile


113725 posts in 2614 days

#2 posted 01-07-2012 08:03 AM

Wow nice turning and cool turning

-- Custom furniture

View Dez's profile


1149 posts in 3114 days

#3 posted 01-07-2012 08:21 AM

Very nice! I salvaged some Wisteira too hoping for some useful cool curly pieces for a small table or lamp but nothing over about 3”!
It does have a cool yellow wood with brown heart but I plan to leave the bark on for a rough look.

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

8438 posts in 3089 days

#4 posted 01-07-2012 08:23 AM


-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

1810 posts in 2721 days

#5 posted 01-07-2012 09:33 AM

Lovely wood, pic 3 real interesting. Just measured our Wisteria, not quite big enough yet.

-- Bob C, Australia. I love sharing as long as it is not my tools

View ncdon's profile


200 posts in 1913 days

#6 posted 01-07-2012 03:39 PM

I would never have considered turning Wisteria, glad you did cause it’s awesome. Thanks for the post.

-- Don, North Carolina, Working full time at retired.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

13995 posts in 2142 days

#7 posted 01-07-2012 06:49 PM

Great bowl. That is some interesting wood. I was given some small diameter rhododendron wood to see what it could become, but it has no character like that wisteria. Thanks for sharing….........Jim

ps. Have you tried turning it the other direction with the pith in the center to see what pattern would develop? The fuzz would them be on the ends…

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View peteg's profile


3404 posts in 1860 days

#8 posted 01-07-2012 10:48 PM

I bet you got excited when you saw that cross section, it hasiven you a beautiful little bowl, man that is nice.

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Transition's profile


339 posts in 1580 days

#9 posted 01-07-2012 10:53 PM

Thanks all!

I was really a nice find as I don’t recall ever seeing a 5” diameter vine of any type – ever. I’ve found some other interesting wood on this farm, and I’m beginning to think that the owner is conducting experiments only seen in ‘50s sci-fi movies.

I love turning any kind of wood, but really have fun with local wood that isn’t the typical Oak, Maple, Walnut, etc. And I love finding “exotics” in my back yard!

@JimJakosh – I haven’t turned an end grain bowl from this, but I’ll consider it a request and get to it soon.

-- Andrew, Orange County, CA -

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 2593 days

#10 posted 01-08-2012 12:08 AM

Really cool bowl, good job

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View EyeOfTheJen's profile


205 posts in 1453 days

#11 posted 01-28-2012 06:20 PM

That is cool, didn’t even know you could turn that or that it even got big enough.

-- Jen ~ Happiness is being covered in sawdust.

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