Birch burl bowl

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Project by Tony Strupulis posted 07-03-2013 06:24 AM 1114 views 6 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A couple years ago a fellow woodworker gave me two burls because I mentioned that I enjoy carving them into natural form bowls. This burl was still green when I got it. I would work on it every now and then, being careful not to remove too much material since it was still drying.

At first it looked like an ordinary burl. The bark was so thick you really couldn’t tell how much character it had. I started carving the inside first using a 1” Kutzall carbide sphere in a die grinder. Within the first couple minutes I knew this was something special. It was full of bird’s eyes! I had never seen bird’s eyes in birch before. I then switched to smaller Kutzall bits to remove the rest of the material.

The outside of the bowl was cleaned in a variety of ways. The bark was removed with a carving knife and palm gouges. It was extremely difficult to predict where the high spots would be, so I had to work carefully. The inner bark that remained was removed with the carving knife, gouges, and a Dremel wire wheel.

I spent HOURS sanding both the inside and outside with pieces of belt sander belts. I watched a lot of movies in the evenings with that bowl in my lap. In addition to hand sanding, I used some abrasive Dremel wheels. More sanding…

The finish is Minwax Tung Oil wiping varnish. I can’t remember how many coats I put on. I didn’t want the super thick plastic looking finish. The finish is thin, but it is high gloss and glass smooth.

This is one of those projects I’ll never sell or give away. I just have too many hours invested in it.

-- Tony -

5 comments so far

View deon's profile


2365 posts in 2062 days

#1 posted 07-03-2013 01:36 PM

Fantastic work, it looks like “nature made”

-- Dreaming patterns

View helluvawreck's profile


18732 posts in 1903 days

#2 posted 07-03-2013 01:39 PM

I love the organic natural look of this. It’s beautiful.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View EPJartisan's profile


1113 posts in 2161 days

#3 posted 07-03-2013 05:27 PM

Great clean up job.. and looks like every moment sanding was worth it.. it shines like the insides of a sea shell.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View Tony Strupulis's profile

Tony Strupulis

249 posts in 2159 days

#4 posted 07-04-2013 02:18 AM

Thanks for the kind words…

-- Tony -

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 1212 days

#5 posted 07-05-2013 06:23 PM

At first glance, I thought it’s a shell. That’s a beauty! The shape and finish is just perfect. Excellent work!

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