Big-leaf Maple Burl Natural-edge Platter

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Project by Ken Waller posted 09-03-2010 02:43 AM 3682 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This platter was turned from a 2 1/2” thick slice of big-leaf maple burl about 24” at it’s widest. I even had to trim off a few ‘points’ so it would fit inboard on my 2436. A customer asked me to turn a flat-top platter so that he could display cheeses (that he imports) at formal tastings and gatherings. Getting such a large and irregular surface completely flat was an interesting endeavour. Sanding was also a challenge. An auxilliary faceplate was glued to the top to allow turning the underside and my chuck, in expansion mode, was used to hold the platter to turn the top. Sanded to 2000 grit, the platter was given 3 coats of tung oil then buffed.

-- Ken in Sharbot Lake, Ontario

10 comments so far

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 3639 days

#1 posted 09-03-2010 03:18 AM

Nice project and a great use of that piece of Burl. I wish my lathe would turn a piece that big. I have a piece 13×17 that would make a nice platter. thanks for posting.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View Karson's profile


35207 posts in 4935 days

#2 posted 09-03-2010 03:36 AM

Ken: A great piece of wood. Nice job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View sedcokid's profile


2736 posts in 4133 days

#3 posted 09-03-2010 03:44 AM

Man Ken, is that a gorgous platter or what!! Thanks for sharing

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2720 posts in 4218 days

#4 posted 09-03-2010 04:06 AM

Great looking platter Ken, what a challenge turning a piece of burl that size.

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

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 3373 days

#5 posted 09-03-2010 01:05 PM

I think this platter is amazing looking. In fact, the grain makes the finished platter appear anything but flat. It looks like the surface of the moon or something?

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View michelletwo's profile


2783 posts in 3550 days

#6 posted 09-03-2010 02:56 PM

the wood spectacular of course. I like the bottom, more than the top.. I understand why it’s flat for display Quite a challenge at that size. The wood cost more than my lathe!!!

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 3585 days

#7 posted 09-03-2010 04:05 PM

Umm, wow!

That is stunning. I bet if you stare at it, it looks like a shimmering pool of water.

Ken, absolutely beautiful… absolutely!

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 3448 days

#8 posted 09-03-2010 04:23 PM

Wow! That is a masterpiece!
Very Very Beautiful!
I only see one problem with it! Or maybe it is not a problem! I don`t care what cheese it is… this will take center stage, not the cheese!
Thanks for sharing.

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View GabrielX's profile


231 posts in 3366 days

#9 posted 09-03-2010 05:15 PM

Just one question, what is the purpose of cutting the centerpiece out of the platter; Is it to attatch to the lather? What did you use to re-glue that piece back into place?

-- GX

View Ken Waller's profile

Ken Waller

91 posts in 3705 days

#10 posted 09-03-2010 11:56 PM

Thanks for the kind words everyone. The customer came by today, loved it and bought it. A great start to my Labour Day weekend studio tour. For Gabriel and others who wondered, because I couldn’t screw my faceplate directly to the burl (screw holes would show on the flat top) I glued an auxilliary faceplate to the top surface and screwed the faceplate to the aux faceplate. I then turned the underside of the platter including a recessed portion into which I stuck the jaws of my chuck and held the platter in expansion mode. This way I could turn off the aux faceplate and finish the top. I then held the platter with the top face against my jumbo jaws using my tail centre to keep it in place and cleaned up the base except for a 3/8” spigot which I cut off by hand and sanded the base using a sanding pad in my drill press. To calm myself during the final phase on the lathe I kept repeating my mantra: “hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…don’t screw this up…hummmmmmmm”.

-- Ken in Sharbot Lake, Ontario

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