When Life Gives You Lemons....

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Project by lew posted 06-26-2013 01:41 PM 2190 views 1 time favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

...a turner makes a fruit bowl.

This project started out as a new salad bowl for Mimi but a nasty catch, with the gouge, instantly transformed the design into a fruit bowl. This was also my first attempt at microwave drying. Although the process works, I think I was too impatient and didn’t continue the drying process long enough as some checking appeared during the final turning phase.

The bowl measures about 11” in diameter and 3” deep. Made from a Sugar Maple tree we had taken down last fall. Finished with several applications of MinWax semi-gloss poly and buffed with furniture wax.

Thanks for looking. Comments and criticisms always welcome.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

21 comments so far

View dean2336's profile


238 posts in 3145 days

#1 posted 06-26-2013 02:06 PM

no mater what it started out to be it ended up a great looking piece .

-- dean2336,nebr.

View Edward E Nock II's profile

Edward E Nock II

108 posts in 4380 days

#2 posted 06-26-2013 02:07 PM

Lew…..It’s a beautiful a bowl. Sorry about the checking. *&$^ happens. I’ve used Instant CVA glue somethmes With some success. Make a shallower bowl out of the last try

Good luck ,


View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3103 days

#3 posted 06-26-2013 02:20 PM

This looks really nice, Lew. From your post it sounds like you learned a lot as well. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 2443 days

#4 posted 06-26-2013 02:22 PM


That is a bummer about the catch, but I am glad you were able to save it!


-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View Druid's profile


1928 posts in 3031 days

#5 posted 06-26-2013 02:37 PM

Looks good, and the grain gives it a nice character. Interesting piece to view as well as being practical. Glad that there was no damage to you when that piece took flight.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View JR_Dog's profile


526 posts in 2556 days

#6 posted 06-26-2013 02:53 PM

Really nice job

View SPalm's profile


5325 posts in 4118 days

#7 posted 06-26-2013 03:18 PM

Nice save Lew.
Wow, I shutter when I look at that piece that flew off. Hope it was not too dramatic.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View doubleDD's profile


8038 posts in 2279 days

#8 posted 06-26-2013 03:21 PM

Still a nice looking bowl Lew. Much better than firewood. Saving a project is a sign of a good turner. The Maple has nice grain and the knots give it a name.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4313 days

#9 posted 06-26-2013 03:44 PM

good save…turned out great!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View deon's profile


2522 posts in 3262 days

#10 posted 06-26-2013 04:48 PM

Looks great to me

-- Dreaming patterns

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21956 posts in 3342 days

#11 posted 06-26-2013 04:53 PM

Great recovery ,but that block looked like trouble with all these cracks in it..especially that one going up to the rim. Did the cracks happen before or after you microwaved it?

I have had that happen before even after I filled the cracks with epoxy. You are flexible enough to make it to completion although it is a little shorter. I think we all have had that happen at one time or another, but that tests your creativity!!

Nice job and thanks for posting!!.................Jim

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

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2425 days

#12 posted 06-26-2013 05:07 PM

Persistence pays off ! A handsome bowl. I think the drying process always has a few surprises – I have had pieces crack that I thought would be fine and vice versa.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 2412 days

#13 posted 06-26-2013 06:09 PM

Nice save. It looks great. On the microwave drying I have found out you can’t rush it and I only use the defrost setting and for two minutes. Take it out of the microwave until it cools down and just keep repeating this process, weighting each time I take it out until I see no more weight change. This works for me but I have tried to keep it in the microwave longer than 2 minutes and higher temp and I always have problems when I do that.
Just expressing my opinion.

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina (

View LesB's profile (online now)


1916 posts in 3679 days

#14 posted 06-26-2013 06:38 PM

Any time you turn a chunk of wood with the center of the tree in the middle like that you are looking for problems. There is just too much shrinkage stress as the wood dries around the center point. I’m surprised the work didn’t go out of round on you….it may still do that as the wood stabilizes.
Next time try filling those cracks with thick super glue and repeat the application as you find more during the turning. Same with the microwave drying process….fill any cracks with super glue early and you can often prevent them from getting worse. Be careful using super glue on warm wood. It can vaporize and you could inhale it. Vaporizing super glue is a hi tech method used by forensic technicians to find finger prints on objects. Not good for your nose or lungs. By the time you smell it there could be some injury to tissue.

Did you put the piece in a brown paper bag during the microwave drying process? That acts like a steam kiln and helps control the balance of moisture from the surface to the inside. Even after drying by microwave it is a good idea to let it rest for 24 to 48 yours.
Regardless, you made a nice save.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1235 posts in 4235 days

#15 posted 06-26-2013 09:28 PM

Nice looking bowl, attractive hunk of wood along with a pleasing design. Well done!

-- Bob A in NJ

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