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View RobertJ's:homeworkshopprojects (15)blog (1)reviews (0)forum topics (0)buddies (3)favorites (0)activity logWatch

26 posts in 3663 days

Location: Torrance, CA

Could not get me out of neighborhood trees as a child in Southern California. Lived in the bush on Vancouver Island for over two years before building a 2-story log cabin in the West Kootenay mountain range. No training in woodworking. Cut and peeled my own logs and pulled them up the mountain with a horse and leather rigging. Notched the logs with ca hainsaw and axe. After 7 years in the forest I came down to California to learn deep saturation diving and underwater testing of welds. 30 years as a testing specialist on seismic construction for hi-rise steel and concrete structures...I needed a new hobby.

I love everything about wood...the smell, the feel, the colors, the texture. Purchased a Nova DVR and started turning at the beginning of 2011 without any training but watched a ton of videos on youtube and read several great books.

I see the trends are thin bowls and articulately crafted polished works. Being a basic woodsman I decided to work firewood, emphasizing the irregularities that make trees so interesing to me.

Being that I do not conform to the norm stylistically or in my turning methods I am most interested to hear what other turners think.

I use large firewood rounds (18" and up). I do not season the wood. Some of the wood has been outdoors for a few months and some for a few weeks by the time I get my hands on it.

I cut a blank using a chainsaw and mount a faceplate to what will become two inches of waste at the bottom of the bowl. The exterior is shaped, the interior hollowed and the bowl sanded to 400/600 grit without ever removing the blank from the lathe. I fill any cracks with CA glue and sawdust and resand as needed. I use a parting tool and finally a handsaw to cut the bottom of the bowl away from the waste and then rag the bowl with walnut oil. After letting the bowl set a couple days I seal any new cracks, sand the raised grain or rim irregularities and rag the bowl with either walnut oil or thinned tung oil.

The bowl sits in a cool room in my house on top of paper bags. Some of the bowls warp, some develop additional cracks and some remain as originally cut. Over the next couple months I watch the bowls for any abnoramalities that might require attention.

To my amazement, many of the bowls have started selling both on-line, at small art shows and have drawn solid bids at charity auctions. The attraction seems to be to rustic appeal as evidenced by demand for warped and cracked bowls cut from woods with interesting grain patterns. The style of the cut is, of course, important as is the finish but many of these bowls seem stable and ready to be shown within 5 weeks of turning the bowl, depending on the type of wood.

I study each bowl and wood species daily to observe its behavior during the drying period. Some woods such as Dutch Elm require monitoring for cracks over a two or three month period while others may stabilize within a couple weeks.

Sometimes I look at other turners work, pieces of perfection and think I should get on board and follow the rules. All I can do is share my experience and show some photos of what I'm doing and let you be the judge, although, ultimately, the person purchasing one of my bowls is the final vote of approval that I really need...isn't it? I don't know, just loving working with a bowl gouge and letting my imagination run wild.

-- RobertJ, Southern California

Latest Activity | view all »

added project Handmade Cigar Box and Washboard Guitars 03-19-2014 06:12 PM
commented on Black Walnut Volcanic Pod Bowl/Sculpture 08-16-2013 04:24 PM
added project Black Walnut Volcanic Pod Bowl/Sculpture 08-15-2013 05:18 PM
added project Green Elm Wood Bowl Project 01-18-2013 05:22 PM
added project Wide Rim Shallow Oak Bowls Cut Green 12-19-2012 08:27 PM
added project 12 1/2 inch Natural Edge Ash Bowl 12-19-2012 07:39 PM
commented on Turning Bowls from Green Wood - Tricks and Techniques 06-21-2012 04:36 PM
added project Painting Wood Bowls 06-20-2012 05:08 PM
added blog entry Turning Bowls from Green Wood - Tricks and Techniques 06-20-2012 04:38 PM
commented on Walnut Bowls - Turning and Finishing Green Wood 05-30-2012 08:59 PM
added project Walnut Bowls - Turning and Finishing Green Wood 05-30-2012 05:16 PM
commented on Black Walnut Bowl with Copper Wire Inlay 03-16-2012 02:53 PM
commented on Camphor Wood Bowl Series 03-16-2012 02:52 PM
added project Camphor Wood Bowl Series 03-12-2012 09:10 PM
added project Black Walnut Bowl with Copper Wire Inlay 03-12-2012 08:13 PM

Latest Projects | view all 15 »

Latest Blog Entries | view all 1 »

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9 comments so far

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 4761 days

#1 posted 11-18-2011 01:29 AM

Welcome aboard. Nice that you could join us on Lumberjocks.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View RobertJ's profile


26 posts in 3663 days

#2 posted 11-18-2011 02:15 AM

Thank you!

-- RobertJ, Southern California

View Max's profile


55999 posts in 5554 days

#3 posted 11-18-2011 02:57 AM

Glad to see that you have made LumberJocks a part of your Woodworking experience… Welcome

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View bch's profile


304 posts in 3970 days

#4 posted 11-18-2011 04:20 AM

Only been here 7 hours and already producing cutting edge art from recovered firewood? Not bad. Love the work. Be sure to keep us up on your experiments and learning experiments.

I used to work at an art studio—your work would have fit in well. Keep it up.

-- --bch

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 4871 days

#5 posted 11-18-2011 06:00 AM

Welcome to Lumberjocks!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 4345 days

#6 posted 11-18-2011 01:10 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View Woodbutcher3's profile


463 posts in 4167 days

#7 posted 11-18-2011 03:41 PM

Great stuff. Keep it comin’ Doing different things with wood and passing it on helps all of us.

-- Rod ~ There's never enough time to finish a project, but there's always time to start another one.

View surfin2's profile


51274 posts in 4417 days

#8 posted 11-18-2011 04:15 PM

Welcome To LumberJocks.
Good Luck…

-- Rick

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 5366 days

#9 posted 11-19-2011 04:07 PM

Welcome to LJs. I look forward to seeing more of your unique work!


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