Fractal Burned Bowl

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Project by Jim Jakosh posted 09-26-2018 02:23 AM 1513 views 1 time favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I burned this bowl about a week ago and just put the final coats of lacquer on it today. It is made from Box Elder and is 6” diameter x 2 7/8” high. I used the vinegar and baking soda mixture to wet it and burned it from top to bottom but it was so saturated that when I was burning on one side, the back side was also burning some more.

I learned a few things about fractal burning from You Tube tonight that might be of value to other LJ’s.

Some guys use a Variac to control the input voltage to the microwave transformer. I saw one guy using a 1500 Watt dimmer switch which is a whole lot cheaper than a Variac . So I tried it out tonight with a 600Watt dimmer and it worked super. The patterns were so much easier to control.

Also, after burning the part, the wood gets discolored even after washing it off. Sanding makes it worse by spreading the black ash around. Many of the guys use wood bleach or Oxalic acid and water to bring back the color of the wood. I’ll be buying that tomorrow. My parts should be looking better in the future.

cheers, Jim

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

28 comments so far

View MJR's profile


382 posts in 1577 days

#1 posted 09-26-2018 02:30 AM

Thanks for the tips, I’ve been doing some research and am going to build a setup soon

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8087 posts in 4516 days

#2 posted 09-26-2018 02:37 AM

I love the look of fractal burning. Your bowl look Awesome Jim!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View recycle1943's profile


5622 posts in 2785 days

#3 posted 09-26-2018 02:39 AM

I think it looks pretty cool so if there’s something wrong with it – - -

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5215 days

#4 posted 09-26-2018 03:48 AM

Jim, You are Fired up! :)

That bowl is really Fired Up!!

That’s taking Fire to a new dimension!

Great JOB!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View bushmaster's profile


4130 posts in 3446 days

#5 posted 09-26-2018 04:19 AM

Thanks for the tips, will look into doing that. Great burn.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View jlb's profile


190 posts in 4730 days

#6 posted 09-26-2018 05:46 AM


-- Jim, Ca, [email protected]

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2946 posts in 2226 days

#7 posted 09-26-2018 05:47 AM

Let me see if I got this straight (This is me, trying to be helpful).
The vinegar and baking soda directs the charge to roughly where you want it to go; You don’t want the whole thing to light up and get charred, right? So, is there way you can prevent the unwanted charring to take place, by, oh, treating the whole piece with some flame-resistant substance, then, putting the vinegar and baking soda where you do want it to burn? What flame-resistant substance, I don’t know. Foschek? I don’t know where you’d get that. You couldn’t soak it in water – water’s highly conductive. So is oil, and, I assume, Vaseline. There must be something. The stuff they drop from aircraft to fight wildfires. I drove my big truck through a cloud of the stuff up in Santa Clarita, years ago, when one of the tankers crossed the highway right in front of me. He’d just cut his valves, but there’s was just enough of the trailing mist of the nasty stuff to destroy my windscreen. (It’s very gooey.)

I’ll shut up now, and let the grownups work it out. All that electricity scares the bejeebers out of me.

-- Mark

View BobWemm's profile


3000 posts in 3089 days

#8 posted 09-26-2018 05:53 AM

Looking good Jim.


-- 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 ZAGREB's profile


1276 posts in 2813 days

#9 posted 09-26-2018 08:53 AM

this bowl looking great,mate

-- bambi

View Peteybadboy's profile


3670 posts in 3113 days

#10 posted 09-26-2018 10:27 AM

Wow, another thing I know nothing about. (Fractal burning?) I will have to look that up. Cool bowl.

-- Petey

View KimAccurso's profile


511 posts in 1303 days

#11 posted 09-26-2018 11:10 AM

Looks awesome, Jim!

-- Kim - imperfection is the pursuit of perfection

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26463 posts in 4269 days

#12 posted 09-26-2018 12:31 PM

Thank you all for the nice comments. I think I got some of you interested. I’m going to build a new set up with a toggle switch, dimmer switch and safer electrodes..kinda like the 4” rule for the table saw blade.

Hi Mark. there is no flame retardant involved and it would not be practical. You control the area burned by moving the electrodes. That is why I don’t drive nails in but make the electrodes moveable.


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

View lew's profile


13386 posts in 4919 days

#13 posted 09-26-2018 01:08 PM

Another beauty, Jim! You are rally perfecting this technique!!

One thing I’d add to the new rig is a “deadman switch”.

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

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)


8252 posts in 1737 days

#14 posted 09-26-2018 02:32 PM

Very interesting bowl. I like the look, but like some have said the process scares the beejeebers out of me. Anything WET and ELECTRIC is on my no fly zone list. I couldn’t find a live link about the guy who died trying to do this, but I wonder if it didn’t have something to do with wet, electric mixology.

Anyhow Congrats on your 3, please be careful.

-- Think safe, be safe

View luv2learn's profile


3130 posts in 3466 days

#15 posted 09-26-2018 03:23 PM

These fractal patterns are so unique, each is one of a kind.

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

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