Another maple bowl.

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Project by dspahn posted 01-25-2012 09:39 PM 1018 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This another bowl from the same block of maple as the last one. But there was some pretty massive checking in the blank that I was concerned about. So, with very little plan in mind, I went ahead and started roughing out the blank.

At this point I thought to myself, “Self, this crack is too big and you’re not a good enough turner to not have this piece destroy itself if you don’t do something about it.” So, I mixed up some epoxy, added a drop of blue food coloring, and smeared the epoxy into the crack. I had to do several applications, because the epoxy would drain down into the crack, leaving the top exposed again.

After I was happier with the way the crack was filled, I started hollowing out the bowl. And then I saw that the epoxy had not completely filled all the cracks. So, I mixed up some more and filled them in as best I could. And then I did some more hollowing. Which, of course, exposed new cracks, and parts of the original cracks that weren’t filled. But I was sick of messing with it, so finished it up as it was, and this was the end result.

The flame on one half of the bowl is amazing. It’s like a lenticular picture, where the view changes as you tilt the bowl back and forth. Light parts get dark and vice versa. There’s a bit of spalting on the bottom side, right where the crack runs through it. In pic 3 you can see that the original crack runs almost the entire width of the bowl. I’m pleased that actually ended up as a bowl, and not a piece of kindling for the fire pit. ;)

It’s about 4.5 inches wide at the widest, and 2 inches tall. One difficult part of this particular bowl was sanding because of the epoxy. I found that it was difficult to sand out the imperfections from the turning, especially immediately after the epoxy parts (as the bowl rotates on a lathe). I’m assuming the epoxy made the sand paper “jump” off the piece just a bit. Much hand sanding was done to get it to where it is now, and even then, it’s not perfect. Finish is a mixture of mineral oil and beeswax.

As always, your comments, suggestions, critiques, and anything else you might have to say are welcomed and encouraged. Thanks for reading!

3 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3776 days

#1 posted 01-25-2012 09:58 PM

Very cool bowl ,The crack ads character.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View LesB's profile


1860 posts in 3642 days

#2 posted 01-26-2012 02:04 AM

The bowl looks good and epoxy is a good way to deal with large cracks and voids.

Some people add fine sawdust and shavings to the epoxy to make the filling blend in. Contrasting materials can also be used to make it decorative. Possibly using a piece of masking tape on the back side would have held the expoy in the crack while it cured.
For smaller cracks I like to use the thick form of super glue. It sets up slower than regular super glue so it seeps into the crack before it sets up. If the crack is deep it may take the glue a while to set up so don’t be in a rush to start turning it. Sawdust works with super glue too.

-- Les B, Oregon

View dspahn's profile


85 posts in 2580 days

#3 posted 01-26-2012 02:34 AM

LesB: I was going for a contrasting look, but it turns out that one drop of blue food coloring added to the small amounts of epoxy i was mixing up turns into a very, very dark blue. Next time, I’ll either use more epoxy, a half-drop of food coloring, or something else entirely. This was mostly an experiment to see if I could do something with the piece of wood other than burn it, or shave it down to a much smaller blank. I’m happy with the results, and learned a bit in the process.

I did try the masking tape thing, but even then, I had to do the epoxy in several stages because the crack spanned the transition from bottom to edge. Which wasn’t a big deal, except for how long it took because of all the waiting for the epoxy to cure.

The reason I used epoxy instead of thick CA is because I was concerned that the CA would just seep into the pores of the wood, even though it’s the thick blend. At least, that’s the experience I had when trying to fill some voids on some pens I’d turned in the past.

I’ve seen turnings where people use ground up turquoise, or other such similar particulate to add decoration. Anyone know where to acquire something like that? either pre-ground up or not? (And hopefully not too pricey, because I’m such a cheap b&st&rd.) ;)

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