Carved Osage Orange Bowl

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Project by BobAnderton posted 10-30-2015 03:42 AM 1843 views 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this bowl to give to a friend at work. It’s 11” diameter and 2.5” tall. It’s finished with Danish oil and Beall buffed with carnuba wax.

Down here in Texas this is called bodark, and where I grew up in Missouri we just called it hedge, but I think it also goes by osage orange everywhere. I pulled these osage orange logs (chunks?) out of a city brush pile. It looked like the tree had been cut a long time prior because the ends were pretty dark already and they were checking on the end, but I put some anchorseal on them anyway. Each piece weighed a lot and it was all I could do to heave them into the back of my Explorer. They were milled with my chainsaw mill. There was a lot of iron in this tree. Nails, fencing staples, wire cable. I pulled out what I could find but still found some of it with the chainsaw. The wood was very hard and very dense. This log also had red headed ash borer larvae under the bark and in the sapwood. Mesquite, osage orange, and ash, is where I find those things, so I trimmed the bark off the edges before drying the slabs. They had about 6 months of air drying and another year or so in the attic, so the wood was dry and stable by the time I turned this bowl.

-- Bob Anderton - Austin, TX - Nova 3000 lathe, Alaskan Mark III mill, Husqavarna Saw

14 comments so far

View TravistheNewb's profile


65 posts in 1666 days

#1 posted 10-30-2015 03:54 AM

Looking good! Bois d’arc alone will dull a chainsaw pretty fast. I imagine contending with metal too made this job a bear!

View BobAnderton's profile


308 posts in 3356 days

#2 posted 10-30-2015 04:01 AM

Travis, Yeah, very slow milling and multiple chain changes by the time it was done. Oh, also, the t-shirt and jeans I was wearing when I milled it ended up with lots of this orange sawdust embedded, and when I washed those it turned the entire load of laundry a sickly orange permanently. Osage orange has water extractable pigments that can be used as fabric dyes. Luckily it was just my old work clothes in there.

-- Bob Anderton - Austin, TX - Nova 3000 lathe, Alaskan Mark III mill, Husqavarna Saw

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2677 posts in 1629 days

#3 posted 10-30-2015 07:52 AM

This is fantastic, Bob. The first photo made me think of Canarywood. But then, I’m color-dysfunctional.
I pulled up the Osage Orange in Wikipedia. I was surprised to finf no reference to Kansas in the distribution of the species. (Osage, KS?) And what a funny-looking Orange. Have you ever eaten it? Does it taste like,say, a Navel Orange? Or more like a Valencia (juicing) Orange? I see that it’s commonly used for fence posts, so, the metal should shock no one. I’ve heard that it’s extremely hard. Fruit trees tend to be very dense. (It’s all the inbreeding. Get it? Dense? Inbreeding?) I have a lot of Peach lying around. Some of it is in my Gallery. Lovely, lovely wood. But, a terror on tools.

Unfinished. Sitting on top of the other half of the buck.

-- Mark

View BobAnderton's profile


308 posts in 3356 days

#4 posted 10-30-2015 12:44 PM

Mark, that is an amazing piece of peach and a beautiful bowl. You did a good job getting that turned without cracking.

The fruit of the osage orange isn’t edible (though I hear some folks do eat it for medicinal purposes). It’s not really an orange, but a big mass of latexey fibrous tissue and seeds. The original range is kind of central & northeast Texas but in the 30s it got planted all over the midwest as erosion control hedges, so there’s a bunch in Kansas too. Where I trail run here in Austin these trees are common along the creek bed and the ground is littered with those hedge apples.

-- Bob Anderton - Austin, TX - Nova 3000 lathe, Alaskan Mark III mill, Husqavarna Saw

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3432 days

#5 posted 10-30-2015 01:30 PM

Bob, that bowl really looks nice and the carving adds a lot to it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View RootandBranch's profile


241 posts in 1670 days

#6 posted 10-30-2015 01:33 PM

I recall growing up, we called those gnarly green things Horse Apples. About all they seemed to be good for was targets. Nice work on the bowl.

-- Don, -

View wb8nbs's profile


164 posts in 3258 days

#7 posted 10-30-2015 03:08 PM

Great work Bob. I’ve been drying and fighting a piece of Osage all summer hoping to get enough stock to make a small box. Dragged it out of a forest preserve last winter, It was often planted as hedge row between farm fields. Some of those fields now belong to the county and they are slowly removing the Osage, in Illinois it’s considered a non-native invasive species. The trees have nasty thorns which will totally destroy a bicycle tire. Please Dont Ask Me How I Know This.

-- The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.

View Bigkahunaranch's profile


138 posts in 2074 days

#8 posted 10-30-2015 03:44 PM

Great looking bowl Bob.

Legend has it that the “Apples” of that tree can be used to stop insects when placed
around the house. But I dont think there is any scientific proof.
But the old ranchers swear by it, so who knows.

-- Living the american dream in central Texas !

View leafherder's profile


1871 posts in 2518 days

#9 posted 10-30-2015 07:32 PM

Beautiful bowl, great job on the carving, reminds me of Native American ceramics.
Up here in the Ohio Valley, they are called Hedge Apples – Rootandbranch says the fruit was used for targets, growing up we used them for a homemade cross of softball/baseball game. A bowl of them inside was supposed to keep spiders out of the house.
Thanks for posting.

-- Leafherder

View JollyGreen67's profile


1676 posts in 3328 days

#10 posted 10-31-2015 01:21 AM

bois d’arc: bodark, boodarc, hedge apple, horse apple, etc. Sharp tools!

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

View Levex's profile


45 posts in 1721 days

#11 posted 10-31-2015 02:28 AM

I like the hand carved accents on the rim. Good job on turning a brush pile into a treasure.

View John's profile


1580 posts in 1835 days

#12 posted 10-31-2015 07:37 PM

Good looking project Bob, I’ll bet that is heavy for it’s size.

-- John, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada.

View BobAnderton's profile


308 posts in 3356 days

#13 posted 10-31-2015 07:49 PM

John, yeah, it’s remarkably heavy. Everyone who picks it up comments on its heft.

-- Bob Anderton - Austin, TX - Nova 3000 lathe, Alaskan Mark III mill, Husqavarna Saw

View JarednCols's profile


5 posts in 1450 days

#14 posted 12-24-2015 07:32 AM

great peach bowl!

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