Manzanita Burl (Root Ball) Bowl #5

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Project by Eric M. Saperstein posted 04-12-2013 12:14 AM 3213 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Manzanita Burl (Root Ball) Bowl #5 … we posted #1 and #2 first … more are pending soon the numbering scheme is helping us track all these turnings through their progress.

This particular bowl is stabilized with West System Epoxy mixed with bronze powder and blue pigment. It ended up turning black, but its supposed to be like a navy blue.

We cleaned out the voids as best as possible turned the basic initial shape of the vessel then cast in the epoxy. We’re not going to reveal everything about this process just yet, it’s not super secrete but we have a few unique tricks up our sleeves.

Manzanita burl (root balls) are a California scrub tree – unique in all sorts of aspects. If you flip through my previously posted projects there is more information about them and if you look back through my newsletters posted in my blog entries you’ll find more about the tree.

This combination of natural red, orange, yellow, and browns/blacks with stark inclusions of nearly white wood develops into an amazing contrast. Adding the epoxy and properly (we are still learning!) mixing the ratios creates a depth and grain or vein effect.

This bowl was sealed completely in West System then finished in Waterlox marine sealer.

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

8 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3504 days

#1 posted 04-12-2013 12:25 AM

these are so beautiful.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View BobWemm's profile


2555 posts in 2126 days

#2 posted 04-12-2013 12:41 AM

AWESOME, I just love those colors, I have been watching on ebay but we would never get that timber into Australia, unless all the bark and inclusions were totally removed. So I just sit and drool.

Well done.


-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3448 days

#3 posted 04-12-2013 12:51 AM

Thanks guys.

Bob – you’re sitting in Australia!? You’ve got Afzia and tons of variants of Eucalyptus and other such materials to play with. There is something called “Cooliblah” I think it is that I wanna play with. It’s a yellowish ring looking grain. There’s all kinds of neat woods around the outback.

There has to be manzanita that was cleaned up – seriously have someone put it in the microwave and certify that it was fumigated or whatever it takes it is fun to play with. I can ask around and see if anyone has the paperwork to ship it international.

We should make a trade!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2275 days

#4 posted 04-12-2013 01:23 AM


-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Ken90712's profile


17594 posts in 3389 days

#5 posted 04-12-2013 07:53 AM

At a loss for words! With over 12k post hard to believe…... Love it…..

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

View mds2's profile


310 posts in 2145 days

#6 posted 04-12-2013 12:59 PM

These bowls are just amazing. The color-WOW. I’d love to own one of these.

View LesB's profile


1863 posts in 3643 days

#7 posted 04-12-2013 04:40 PM

Your idea for filling in the voids looks great. I have been hanging on to some crag filled Manzanita for several years trying to decide how to work around those pockets. Obviously I haven’t worked to hard on the problem and I didn’t get the epiphanies I was hoping for but I think you may have given me a solution.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3448 days

#8 posted 04-13-2013 02:44 AM

Go for it Les – post the project take pics along the way!

Just sharpen tools, then sharpen them again, and again and again and again and again … this stuff eats edges.

As far as casting it’s experimental – we’re using West System. Pickup a boat repair kit and some random mica powders or turquoise powders or whatever you want. I got samples of crushed stone and coral – course I gotta figure out what I did with it before I went on vacation so I can fill some blanks.

Now the art of getting the epoxy just cured enough to stay in place but not flash curing is a PIA. Don’t ask me how, it’s by feel and I don’t get it right every time. I have several cups cured with random epoxy pools that went smokey on me and flash cured. You gotta keep it moving and keep it from getting to critical mass. It’s like cement! Let it sit still in a cup and it suddenly goes solid on you.

Be creative about how you keep it in place. I am experimenting with this – we may post more on that later. The duct tape “sorta” worked … layer it like a cast BEFORE you start putting epoxy on and pour in. You will waste a lot of expensive epoxy it just is what it is.

I just started another one today but my dad and Mike took the lathe away from me. We’re working on cleaning the shop, and we have some overdue projects we have to get done ASAP. Been playing w/ too many distractions but a lot of stress factors have me a bit tightly wrapped.

Somehow this is therapeutic. I should also venture up to the hunting club and play lumber jack. I need some things that force me to concentrate – otherwise I’m stressed. If you run a chainsaw, you can’t think of anything else. Especially given I have a big angry overkill 71cc one. Same w/ turnings like this you can kinda get lost in them and you have to focus or you get hurt.

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

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