Ficus Bowl #10

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Project by Mark Wilson posted 08-13-2018 04:21 AM 831 views 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I began this piece, oh, about a week ago. It’s another bit of that Ficus. I think I’m done with the Ficus, at least until I’ve had time to forget. As I mentioned in the last one, it’s extrEEEEmly dry. No shavings; no pleasing viiip, viiip from the tools. Just dust and chips. It was awful. It’s a shame, really. I dig this wood. That streaky character, the branch inclusion. However, as nice as this was looking, it lost something in the process. I think the Danish oil I used on it may have ruined it for me. Speaking of the Danish oil:
When I began applying the Danish to the outside of this bowl, here’s what happened: (In the way-back machine, for a moment.) Once upon a time, I had a can of Danish oil. I found that, after a while, I couldn’t get the cap off because Danish Oil has a tendency to get gummy. Ergo, (Again, at least three, four years ago) I wrenched the cap off and transferred the stuff to a glass salsa jar I had. Well, sir, when recently I decided to start using the Danish again, I found that the cap on the salsa jar, too, was stuck. Okay. I poked two holes in the lid – one as a vent – and began using it. So, here I am going to town on this piece, dribbling a little on the rag and wiping it on the wood. Between dribbles, I, of course, need to set the jar down. On top of the Nova’s headstock did I set it. Down from the headstock did it eventually do a belly flop on the concrete floor. I’m all out of Danish Oil, now. That’s okay. I don’t like the stuff. Be that as it may. The bowl was looking fairly pretty on the outside. That branch inclusion required some epoxy, into which I mixed a little blue Easter Egg Dye. And there were a number of cracks that I filled with CA.

The Danish Oil seems to have made it speckled and splotchy. Now, I sanded and polished the ever-loving snot out of the thing before applying the oil. In fact, I sealed it with shellac, and sanded it again before I did. It’s the dryness of the wood that’s to blame, I think. In any case, I topped it with WOP, and, several days later, I flipped it for the hollowing portion of the program.

During the wallerin’ out, the dustiness required that I get creative with my Shop Vac hose. Said hose, at some point, got too close, and I had to do some more work on the outside.

0000 steel wool took off the melted rubberized plastic fairly well, and I moved on.

The inside was looking good. Really. It was.

I applied Shine Juice to the inside yesterday. Then, this morning, I decided it looked good enough, for what it is. I created a jam chuck by simply cutting a groove for the bowl’s lip into a short 2×4, and secured the bottom with the live center on the tailstock. I knew I couldn’t tighten it too much – just to where it started flexing. I managed to turn away the foot. I could hear how thin was, by then. (You can see, in the sixth photo, that it got to about 3/16”.) That was okay. Really. It was. I was finally getting a bowl made that didn’t get a lot fatter in the bottom than it was in the lip. This is what i wanted.
Well, sir. The tool I was using to make a finishing cut on the bottom that, really, was gonna be just about finish-ready touched that little nib at the tailstock, and the bowl said, “I will put up no longer with the pressure you’re putting on my bottom, sir. I didn’t sign up for this,” and jumped from between the jam chuck and the live center and landed, gently cradled, in the crook of my left elbow. I haven’t even tried to locate the 2×4, yet. I just closed up the Dungeon, and went out wandering.
As I wandered along West Adams, in L.A.’s lower west side, I found something I’d never noticed before. It’s a firehouse, built in 1904, and, since, converted for use as an art center. I want one of these.

Can you think of a cooler place for a guy whose machines and stuff could use a really big garage?

And, dig the corbels.

Not long ago, losing a piece like this would’ve bothered me a whole lot more. But the ickiness of the Ficus tempered my vexation level. I was done with it. Now, I’m thinking about mounting up a store-bought bowl blank. I don’t know. We’ll see.

Thank you. And, I apologize.

-- Mark

12 comments so far

View John's profile


1626 posts in 1908 days

#1 posted 08-13-2018 05:47 AM

Too bad Mark, that bowl was looking good.

-- John, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada.

View Ivan's profile


15600 posts in 3505 days

#2 posted 08-13-2018 06:31 AM

It is realy big. Beautiful wood and simple shape make it more atractive

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23853 posts in 3743 days

#3 posted 08-13-2018 11:51 AM

Nice bowl, Mark. Quite a journey!!!!!!!!!! I have never used ficus but it does have a nice swirly grain to it.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View GR8HUNTER's profile


6961 posts in 1350 days

#4 posted 08-13-2018 01:53 PM

beautiful grain in ficus ….GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View pottz's profile


7950 posts in 1622 days

#5 posted 08-13-2018 02:17 PM

well i guess ya win some and lose some,this one wasnt meant to be.i think your right,give the ficus a rest and move on,youve got a good rhythm going these days dont want to upset sure was a pretty bowl though.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View lew's profile


12957 posts in 4393 days

#6 posted 08-13-2018 02:43 PM

Well Crap!

Can you imagine carpenters, today, creating such ornate work??

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

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3504 days

#7 posted 08-13-2018 06:51 PM

This bowl is a beautiful piece and so nicely done.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View peteg's profile


4435 posts in 3461 days

#8 posted 08-13-2018 08:03 PM

Damn shame there Mark it was looking a real nice piece, plus all the work had been all but done :(
Yep close the doors, & go for a “cool down” stroll.
Always tomorrow Bud ;)

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

View luv2learn's profile


3016 posts in 2940 days

#9 posted 08-13-2018 08:43 PM

Stuff happens Mark. It is still a nice piece.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View leafherder's profile


1899 posts in 2590 days

#10 posted 08-13-2018 09:08 PM

Hi Mark,

About the bowl – It CAN be saved. How are your carving skills? As a kid I had ceramic mug with a little frog in the bottom – drink your milk and the frog appears. The idea was adapted from the old Memento Mori mugs – beer mugs with a skull painted at the bottom as a reminder to spill the last few drops to honor the dead. Your bowl just needs a little surprise like that to plug the hole in the bottom – doesn’t have to be a frog or a skull.

About the Fire Station/Art Center -my Masters Thesis was about a famous portrait photographer from Dayton, Ohio (Jane Reece) who turned an old fire station into a studio/art center (living quarters upstairs, large studio on the ground floor). Her neighbors were two sisters who founded the Dayton Ballet Company and they would hold dance recitals there. It attracted many famous artists, celebrities, and wealthy patrons who came to have their portraits made. Of course the Dayton fire house (still in use as a private home for a couple of artists – music teacher and ballet dancer) is not nearly as architecturally interesting as the one in your town. Jane Reece started life as a poor country girl, and achieved fame as an artistic photographer. Dream BIG Mark – those dreams can come true.


-- Leafherder

View bushmaster's profile


3794 posts in 2920 days

#11 posted 08-14-2018 03:34 AM

That wood certainly has its challenges, but you are the man to conquer it.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View Grumpy's profile


26002 posts in 4489 days

#12 posted 08-14-2018 11:57 PM

Good job Mark & well done on the repair work.

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

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