Zuppa di Cippole

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Project by Mark Wilson posted 07-25-2015 06:16 AM 1772 views 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It’s Onion Soup in Italian. But, you knew that. Made of awe the heck with that. I’ll lift the description from my website.

This bit of Peach Wood is end-turned. It was horrifically checked, meaning it had cracks radiating from the center – the pith. Some turners swear by the axiom that any cracked piece of wood should be dispatched to the rubbish heap. I’m not one of those. It’s a stretch, sometimes, to divine a way to stabilize such a piece of what is usually considered too dangerous to lay sharp steel to at hundreds of RPM. There are two, at current count, reasons this is a good thing. 1)It’s a wonderful exercise for the imagination – a thinking-outside-the-box, off-the-charts, methodology, and; B)Look at what one can do with a little bit of teasing-the-fates tomfoolery. I cheated death and injury and learned a new way to shore up a piece of cracked wood. I’ve never seen this attempted by anyone else, so I’m thinking of filing for a patent for the process.

Please be kind. I’m fragile.

Man up. You’re a Woodsmith, doggone ya. There’s no sniveling in Woodsmithery>

(Voices in my head.)

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside a dog, it’s far too dark to read. You may quote me.

-- Mark

18 comments so far

View Ivan's profile


14766 posts in 3316 days

#1 posted 07-25-2015 07:13 AM

This looks incredible with this in the middle. I like this cracked wood look.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View BobWemm's profile


2676 posts in 2375 days

#2 posted 07-25-2015 08:29 AM

Great save on a beautiful piece of wood Mark.
Also an excellent job of thinking outside the square, or Round in this case.
It goes to show that nothing is totally useless.


-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2606 posts in 1512 days

#3 posted 07-25-2015 08:59 AM

Thank you, guys. Bob, nothing so far.

-- Mark

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2688 posts in 4132 days

#4 posted 07-25-2015 09:11 AM

Nice save Mark and a great finished project. Others who have tried this method have either passed away from injury or given up. Like you every piece of wood has a purpose and only becomes firewood when nothing succeeds. Well done, I like the shape and the wood.

-- Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2606 posts in 1512 days

#5 posted 07-25-2015 09:22 AM

Bob Collins, you’ve inspired and lifted me.

-- Mark

View robscastle's profile (online now)


6263 posts in 2653 days

#6 posted 07-25-2015 09:42 AM

Scary stuff!

Looks great though,
To me I would say its the front end of a Jet engine after suffering a compressor failure.
So how did you do it? attach a REP band around the outside ?
Or used a remote control arm and hid under the bench!

I certainly would not spin my grinder up if the stone looked like that!

-- Regards Rob

View CharlieM1958's profile


16283 posts in 4667 days

#7 posted 07-25-2015 12:37 PM

That definitely took some ingenuity and guts. Nice work, Mark!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View doubleDD's profile


8528 posts in 2492 days

#8 posted 07-25-2015 01:43 PM

Giving credit for not giving up. Fine work on keeping it all together.

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

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2456 days

#9 posted 07-25-2015 02:57 PM

Beautiful bowl. Did you just force slices of wood into the cracks? Or did you try to cut the cracks so the splits would be a more uniform width? I have some pecan that has similar cracking and in the past I’ve done the superglue and sawdust trick, but I like the looks of your fix better !

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View leafherder's profile


1828 posts in 2401 days

#10 posted 07-25-2015 06:21 PM

I am not a Turner, but I have heard of the dangers turning cracked wood, and you are thinking of patenting your process so I guess it is safe to assume that it does not involve suits of armor or Kevlar. Whatever it is I admire your results – this is a beautiful bowl. If you need any more cracked wood to test your process, I am ready to stage another commando raid on my sister’s wood pile. :)
Thanks for sharing, good luck in fine tuning your turning process, and take care.

-- Leafherder

View Rockbuster's profile


499 posts in 3057 days

#11 posted 07-25-2015 10:28 PM

Now, look what you have gone and done, you woke up the editor with this beautiful bowl.

-- Rockbuster,Ft. Wayne,In It is far better to remain silent, and appear the fool, than it is to open ones mouth, and remove all doubt.

View peteg's profile


4435 posts in 3272 days

#12 posted 07-25-2015 10:29 PM

Great result Mark :)

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Grumpy's profile


25526 posts in 4300 days

#13 posted 07-26-2015 12:06 AM

Well done Mark. Too bad your pics are a bit dark.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2606 posts in 1512 days

#14 posted 07-26-2015 01:20 AM

Six saw kerfs on the tablesaw, carefully calculated to overlap each other at regular intervals, stopping short of the center of the blank, which was considerably thicker than the finished piece. This was done by clamping the blank, which was already mostly round, into my biggest handscrew clamp. the clamp stood on end, straddling the blank and rode the fence. Move the fence out to the predetermined distance for the next and do it again, after un-clamping and rolling the blank to the next position. This is done six times, making a kerf that goes 1/6 of the way around the blank. I then re-sawed six “shims” of Ambrosia maple to fit the kerfs and glued them in with a couple of clamps, as you see in the last couple of photos. So you see, the cracks, which were all radial, got bridge by the Maple. It wasn’t easy to turn – I mebees should have used two species of a more similar hardness. Because, of course you know that when your tool goes through a softer wood and encounters a harder wood, it has the effect of causing a bounce, so a light touch and a sharp tool are mandatory. It’s about like dealing with a crack that’s been filled with epoxy, or CA and ground stone or shell. As to the hazards of coming apart under the centrifugal force, there was no danger of that. The bouncing was a nuisance, but, that’s all.
Charles: Ingenuity, yes. Guts? Re-read that last sentence.
John, that “firewood pile”. They’re beasts, I say. Monsters.
Don: Who’s the editor whose cage I have rattled?
Pete: Thank you very much.
And GMan: A dark photo hideth a multitude of sins.
And to all: Rule #1: Don’t get blood on the wood.

Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though ‘twere his own. —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

-- Mark

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2606 posts in 1512 days

#15 posted 07-26-2015 01:21 AM

That was a lot of words. I need a nap.

-- Mark

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