turnings #6: two natural-edge jacaranda bowls

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 08-15-2009 01:02 PM 3433 reads 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: too thin a champagne glass turning Part 6 of turnings series Part 7: ~9" wide face grain Jacaranda bowl rough »

I didn’t take process shots, but I rough-turned these two over the last week or so from the halves of a single jacaranda log resawed in half. Each was bagged immediately in its own shavings to slow drying and resist checking, though one has checked a bit anyway. Once they’ve dried enough to stop moving, I’ll chuck them up again and turn them back to round, and refine their shapes. I still consider myself in early training-mode, and as such, these are just more training pieces.

Jacaranda is a cheap wood, and I have a truckload of it for free, which makes for great practice wood (and it smells great while turning it, like french fries!). I’m working on getting good enough to deserve expensive, beautiful woods, before a tree full of it happens to fall down somewhere around here (crosses fingers)

The first is the standard natural-edge ‘winged’ bowl:

Jacaranda natural edge bowl

Jacaranda natural edge bowl

Jacaranda natural edge bowl

Jacaranda natural edge bowl

Jacaranda bark is pretty weak, and I’m still learning, so it’s hard to keep the bark on, especially on the wings:

Jacaranda natural edge bowl

Jacaranda natural edge bowl

The tenon on the bottom will be removed when I’m done:

Jacaranda natural edge bowl tenon

I’m curious about how this wood will take to dyes, stains, and various clear finishes:

Jacaranda natural edge bowl

I really love the cambium in this wood. I wish the whole wood had such deep coloration:

Jacaranda natural edge bowl

For the second bowl – turned a few days later – I wanted to try a natural edge bowl with a pedestal. I didn’t turn the stem thin yet, because this softer wood wobbles too much if you go thin with so much weight on the other side. That will be nearly the last operation I perform on this. Too, the freshly-cut wood was completely saturated with water, and after it dries a lot more it will be tremendously lighter. This is the first green wood I’ve turned that continuously sprayed me with a fine mist of water as I worked it. It seems to start sprinkling at around 1500RPMs.

natural edge pedestal bowl rough

I’m planning to angle the bowl’s walls in a lot more toward the bottom, and round into a thin stem, then flute back out to a flat base about this wide, or a bit less:

profile of Jacaranda bowl rough

I’ve got some tool marks to get rid of. I think the bowl was wobbling a bit on me, or I was rushing:

side of Jacaranda bowl rough

3/4 view of Jacaranda bowl rough

I mentioned one of the bowls checked a bit. Here it is, sigh…

Jacaranda bowl rough with large check

Closeup of the check (there are actually a few, but the others haven’t opened up):

closeup of Jacaranda bowl rough check

There are lots of little chips in the bark, but I don’t think they could be helped. You can easily flick pieces away with a finger. I’ve heard wood felled in winter holds its bark a lot better. This fell in the dead of summer. I’m not sure Jacaranda really gets much more solid than it is in my inventory, however.

Jacaranda bowl rough bark edge chips

I have at least one gouge inside to get rid of when I refine the shape. Also, note the check that went clean through to the inside. I’m going to try flowing some CA glue into the crack, see what that does.

Jacaranda bowl rough inside with gouge and check

I’ve been turning a lot lately, and learning a lot lately, too. More posts soon!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

13 comments so far

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4682 days

#1 posted 08-15-2009 01:19 PM

gary ,
your posts are inspiring .
thanks for sharing
all the learning with us !

keep on keepin’ on .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View MauBow's profile


55 posts in 4787 days

#2 posted 08-15-2009 04:28 PM

Gary, I know there only practice bowls, but if you pack the checks with coffee grounds and then add CA glue
it may save the bowls…Can add some interesting lines to a plain wood too! Looking Good!

-- If it wasn't for misplacing things, my shop would never get cleaned up.

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 4731 days

#3 posted 08-15-2009 04:46 PM

Sure looks like your gettin it! Good work Gary!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View lew's profile


13488 posts in 5096 days

#4 posted 08-15-2009 05:11 PM


Nice looking test pieces. I must try one of these!


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

View Innovator's profile


3589 posts in 4754 days

#5 posted 08-15-2009 06:09 PM

Gary, nice work, I am a big fan of a natural edge bowl. One thing about the bark staying on is I have found that trees cut down in the winter tend to retain their bark better than ones cut down in warmer weather.

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View mtnwild's profile


4768 posts in 4868 days

#6 posted 08-15-2009 06:47 PM

I was taught years ago that trees cut while dormant will keep their bark after drying, and trees cut while growing will lose their bark after drying. Don’t know if every tree species has the same characteristic, but I’ve always found it to be a good lesson.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23344 posts in 5016 days

#7 posted 08-15-2009 08:05 PM

Good work Gary, looks like you are nearly ready to “good wood”. I’m praying a bunch of it to falls all around you soon!! :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4722 days

#8 posted 08-15-2009 11:06 PM

david, spanky, lew, and Topamax – thanks!

MauBow – Well, I don’t drink coffee, but I think I will use your suggestion a different way. I can chuck some Jacaranda and turn it while sanding it to make a nice big pile of Jacaranda powder. Then I can use that the way you mention using the coffee grounds. I think that would work, as all the fibers would be the same. Thanks!

Innovator * Jack – I’ve heard that about the summer/winter thing, but unfortunately I don’t have any control over it, as I don’t fell trees in the city here. I just pick up the pieces when I find one that’s fallen over by itself. It being mid-August means anything I find will have been felled, or will have fallen in the summer. Something to look forward to this winter, though with the earlier sunsets, it’ll be harder to see it while out cruising around!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4918 days

#9 posted 08-15-2009 11:33 PM

Super job Gary
Thanks for sharing


View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 5108 days

#10 posted 08-16-2009 04:07 AM

Nice blog Gary. A good rule of thumb for rough turning is to leave the wall tickness 10% of the diameter.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4722 days

#11 posted 08-16-2009 09:25 AM

Thanks, Jim!

trifern – That’s a good one I had not heard. Thanks! I’ll have to get a little better at eyeballing 10% now :)

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 4771 days

#12 posted 08-16-2009 03:08 PM

Gary, I really enjoy real “kearning” posts, as I am learning along with you. You are ahead of me so I watch what you have done and the responses from others and try to incorperate that when I work.

Thank you for all of your information that you share.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4722 days

#13 posted 08-17-2009 10:08 AM

Glad I’m able to help out in some small way, Scrappy!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

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