Third cholla bowl #4: Final pair of pours

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Dave Polaschek posted 05-08-2022 03:30 PM 612 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Third batch of pours Part 4 of Third cholla bowl series Part 5: Roughing it out »

I think the blank is about done. Two more pours of 150 ml each this morning, both with aqua tint. 20 drops or so.

Pouring a quart and a half of epoxy over three days has also given me chances to use small amounts of epoxy for other projects. I have a shop stool which also gets used as a table for my corded miter saw (most used for chopping cholla canes to length).

It had a crack in the seat from dropping my post drill on it while I was getting that ready to mount on the wall. So I glued a piece of ash veneer behind the crack, then excavated all the cracked wood, put a piece of veneer on the top of the crack, and then poured four different pours of epoxy to fill the voids. Most were 5ml or so, but now the plywood is rock solid again.

I also needed a new knob for the table on my post drill. I drilled a couple holes in some cherry, stuck a bolt in there, and used epoxy to bind the whole mess together. I’ll finish shaping the knob once it’s had a chance to cure.

Not too shabby for 9:30 on a Sunday morning.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

11 comments so far

View Oldtool's profile


3505 posts in 3645 days

#1 posted 05-08-2022 09:49 PM

Epoxy – the new duct tape for woodworkers.

Regarding the cholla pour picture, aren’t you going to completely cover the cholla tubes with epoxy? Don’t know why I’m asking because I’ve never done anything like this, just assumed. But as my wife says – Wrong again!

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10263 posts in 2037 days

#2 posted 05-08-2022 10:39 PM

I’m not sure one way or the other, Tom. The “top” of the pour will be the bottom of the bowl, and I will want to be taking off some cholla when I turn the bottom flat-ish. The interior of the cholla looks better to my eye than the bare outside, same as I’d rather see heartwood than bark, usually.

But I think I could build a dam at an angle on the bottom and make a smaller area to pour to get another half-inch or so of thickness for the bowl, at the expense of another day of prep time… But maybe I’ll try to glue on a disc of walnut or ash for the bottom of the bowl, in which case I can pour almost another inch of juice.

But it’s Sunday, and we spent all day dealing with the painter painting our fireplace, so I’m currently having a barley wine with my BLT for dinner, and then I’m going to have a Manhattan or two for dessert, at which point playing with epoxy will probably be… unwise. I can defer any decision until tomorrow morning.

The fireplace is looking good, but I think our painter has breathed in too much oil-based paint over the years. My sweetie and I take turns keeping an eye on her to make sure she hasn’t veered off in some new direction (it happens a few times a day), so we can say “whoa!” and try and keep the project from turning too artistic.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View robscastle's profile


8542 posts in 3659 days

#3 posted 05-08-2022 11:08 PM

Very interesting Dave,

I like Pottzy have been watching and then going and educating myself on the wood.

A plant with a facinating and very diversified use.

I remember as a kid they were always featured in Cartoons! your work has raised my curiosity more, so a couple of questions and requests if I may,

How do you get the wood, meaning what is the process?
May I see a mature plant size similar to the wood you have used prior to it expiring?

The more I research on the plant the more uses it seems to have?... the production of lipstick?
Animals actually eat them as well! ... without looking like they have has massive acupuncture treatment on their lips!

Wait there is more!

Fire place is looking good, I bet the plants are getting nervous already!

I am assuming you know about a heat gun or torch to remove bubbles?

That’s enough (for now) excellent work !

-- Regards Rob

View splintergroup's profile


6926 posts in 2677 days

#4 posted 05-09-2022 12:01 AM

Looks like an experimental southwestern stew to entice the easterners to dinner 8^)

I found a cholla with pink and purple flowers, plucked branch with only purple and planted it. Sure ‘nuff, a pure purple cholla in the yard. It has a few dead and bare stems since it has reached about 4’ x 4’, kinda dying off in the center. I’ll have to harvest those for something. Of course I could also just walk across the street for others as well.

Looking forward to the project!

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10263 posts in 2037 days

#5 posted 05-09-2022 12:46 AM

Rob, I get the wood by picking up dead ones that the weather has mostly stripped for me. Most of the ones I harvest have probably been dead for a decade. Things don’t much rot here, and cholla’s already desiccated.

Here’s a live one. More bushy than the usual, but still alive and doing well. This is 2.5-3 feet tall. Something like 75-95 cm.

They’re kinda nasty spines, as there’s a little barb on the end. For the ones that make it through my leather gloves, about 1 in 3 leaves that barb stuck in my finger, and I end up chopping it out later.

We don’t burn wood in the fireplace. Hauling out the ashes is messy. We’ll probably get a gas insert for it one of these days, but we figured getting it painted would cover up the cracks from the house settling. The old finish on it was “diamond plaster,” which is a pain in the tuchus to repair or refinish.

And yeah, I know about the heat gun to remove bubbles, but most of the bubbles I get are next to a piece of the cholla bones. More likely, I’ll set up a pressure pot for dealing with the bubbles.

Splint, you’ve got it! Nice job getting a purple one. The one I took a picture of for Rob used to look pretty ratty, but once I trimmed out the dead wood two springs ago, it has filled in nicely. I gave it about a gallon of water last spring, plus I pick out the tumbleweeds and sometimes the weeds growing next to it.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Eric's profile (online now)


4978 posts in 1328 days

#6 posted 05-09-2022 01:08 AM

That is an interesting plant Dave, and you are making good use of the dried portions of it.

Have to admit it looks like a catus to me, but that must be the name of it.

-- Eric, building the dream

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10263 posts in 2037 days

#7 posted 05-09-2022 01:35 AM

Yeah, Eric. Cholla is a type of cactus, but it’s notable around here for having hard bones (and nasty spines). I’ve been pondering other things I can do with it too, but for now my brain is busy with the bowls.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View doubleDD's profile


11279 posts in 3498 days

#8 posted 05-09-2022 12:31 PM

Can not wait to see that colorful bowl Dave. Get those epoxy chips flying.

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

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10263 posts in 2037 days

#9 posted 05-09-2022 12:38 PM

I would say maybe this morning, Dave, but its reveal day for the swap, so that’ll probably get my “spare time” this morning.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Gene Howe's profile (online now)

Gene Howe

12596 posts in 4883 days

#10 posted 05-09-2022 01:59 PM

Dave, I’m glad you found a use for our most detested cactus. When we moved down here to the Tucson area from the N. AZ mountains, we almost immediately removed 4 stands of them. They are flat out mean! Dead and dry, I can see lots of potential, though. Encasing them in resin and turning it, is a great use.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10263 posts in 2037 days

#11 posted 05-09-2022 02:14 PM

Gene, it doesn’t seem that bad to me when growing, but then I haven’t had all that many adverse encounters. I’m pretty careful about where I’m walking when I’m off in the weeds.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics