Pinecone and Resin Bowl - OR - The MRI

  • Advertise with us
Project by Mark Wilson posted 04-03-2020 04:00 AM 587 views 1 time favorited 37 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I began this about the 15th of March.

First, I placed these little pine cones in a bowl.

I hot-glued them to the bottom of the bowl. (I’ll return to that concept momentarily.)

I placed a turned piece of wood in the middle, also hot-glued, for two reasons: 1) All the middle is going to go away, anyhow, and to have no space taker-upper would be a waste of very expensive resin, and; B) I will be needing something for the chuck to get hold of.

I then mixed and poured an appropriate amount of Total Boat Resin (5:1 Slow Hardener), adding some Violet, Sky Blue, and Pearl Mica, and put in the pressure pot.

On the 19th, I removed the victim from the pot, and began trying to get it out of the plastic bowl. This is where the hot-glue issue presented itsownbadself. I beat on it with a rubber mallet; I slammed it against my workbench. No joy. That puppy’s going nowhere. (The people I watch on YT who do a lot of work with resin ALWAYS make it look so doggone easy.) I scratched myownbadhead. I scratched again. And again. I don’t want to cut the bowl away – they’re fairly costly. What to do? What to do? It looks nice as is. But it’s not quite what I set out for, as a finished piece.

Take it in the house.

Oh. great. Advice from the peanut gallery.

I took it in the house, and consulted with VOD.

First, he said, “That’s pretty.”

After I explained the predicament in which I had found myownbadself, he said, “Heat it up.”

I scratched myownbadhead, again. Then, I went to the kitchen sink. I turned on the hot water, and waited til it was untouchably hot. Holding the Thing under the steaming stream, I wriggled and I squeezed. I mangled and I manipulated. After a few minutes, the puppy came out. And, I have a bowl I can reuse.

It did cross my mind (not a long trip, to be sure) that it might be cool to, somehow, turn this such that the top of the cones could remain sticking up from the lip of the bowl. That wasn’t to be – they’re far too brittle.

I mounted it, thusly.

This is where I found that the “center” of the mounting block and the center of my tailstock live-center bore little relation to one another. That’s okay. I merely have to get it rolling, and keep it rolling long enough to create a foot.

But, wait a minute. You’ll recall that the “spacer/chuck mount” is a waste block, all of which will be turned away. I can’t make a foot there. Change of plans. I need to attach something to the bottom into which I can turn a foot.

I rounded the wobbling outside, so to speak, and flattened the bottom, so I could affix some piece of wood, as yet undetermined.

Now, for that piece of wood, and, how to go about attaching it firmly. I have a few pieces of flat stock lying around. You know those cut-off bins at Rockler? I had a small bowl-blank-size bit of Bubinga. I mixed up a small batch of resin, added a little bluish Mica to blend with the color (I’m shooting in the dark, in this regard – I’m color-challenged), and pressed the Bubinga to the bottom of the victim with the tailstock. There it sat, for about a week. Now (of course, you know this) this Bubinga is not a waste block. It is to become a base for the bowl. (Again, the spacer in the middle will be gone shortly, and a big hole in the bottom of a bowl is not the look I’m looking for, at this time.)

Last weekend, I turned a foot in the Bubinga and shaped the outside of the bowl. All the rest of the turning will be done with no further chuck-flipping. Once I got the shape I was pleased with, it became apparent

Became a parent? In only a week or so?

Shut up. Shut up. Will you shut up?

Where was I? It became obvious (ugh) that these pine cones are really rather tender objects. You’d think that all that resin, under all that pressure, would have made them good and solid. No. (For this reason, I think that, henceforth, I shall shy away from pine cones.) The tool is making nice ribbons of the resin, while chunks of pine cone are being ripped out. I did lots of soaking thereof with thin CA, as I proceeded. I was also concerned that the adhesion between the cones and the resin may fail. So I made a concentrated effort to squirt plenty of CA around the edges of the cones. It held up. However, in the finished piece, what you have is shiny, smooth resin, interrupted by the roughness of the cones. I did have a way around this in mind, though I lack the material to bring the solution to fruition. To wit: In the finishing process, I’d have brushed on Thick-Set, Fast-Hardener, which I don’t possess at present.

I still don’t know, at this point, quite frankly, whether this Thing is going to survive the journey to this page. So, after I finished the outside, I took some pictures.

Then, I went a-hogging. Along the way, I found that the cones definitely had some air pockets inside.

I also was cognizant of the need to do plenty of CA soaking – still scared of adhesion failure.

That’s the last of the process shots.

In the end, it worked okay, I guess. The finish kinda disappoints me, especially on the inside. I really wore out my hands, trying, I promise. It’s a thing I need to get better at. For what it is, however, I think it looks good. It’s unquestionably unlike anything I’ve ever attempted.

I have another bit of organic material that calls to me for a similar treatment. I think I’ll wait awhile. This was an incredible amount of work.

My YT heroes make it all look so easy. I hate that. And, you know what else? Even when they let it be known that, at this or that point in the making of a piece, it isn’t so easy, they laugh, cajole, chortle and guffaw. I can’t seem to do that. It’s altogether too serious a matter, in my mind. I’m making ART, for the love of doG. On so many levels, I must succeed.

So many words. I need a nap.

- I told myownbadself I should stop drinking. Yeah. I’m gonna take life advice from a drunkard who talks to himownbadself. -

Thank you. And, I humbly apologize.

-- Mark

37 comments so far

View lew's profile


13088 posts in 4495 days

#1 posted 04-03-2020 04:09 AM

Love the colors. I go to the dollar store and buy plastic bowls. 3 for a buck. After the pour hardens, drill a small hole in the bottom of the bowl and squirt compressed air into the hole. The blank just pops right out.

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

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


19121 posts in 4415 days

#2 posted 04-03-2020 04:19 AM

That is a pretty tricky idea. Turned out awesome. I’d give it Top 3 two day sin a row ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View BurlyBob's profile


7460 posts in 3005 days

#3 posted 04-03-2020 04:20 AM

That is absolutely fantastic. You almost make me want to start turning!

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2813 posts in 1803 days

#4 posted 04-03-2020 04:57 AM

Lew: Hot glue. Yeah. A couple of my heroes blow compressed air down the side of the bowl. Doesn’t work when there’s hot glue holding it in. A few days ago, in point of fact, one of my heroes posted a video wherein he had the same problem. destroyed the bowl, he did. I passed on VOD’s advice. Hero thanked me.

Oh. And there’s another thing I forgot to mention, regarding the presence of “tender organic material” in resin. I haven’t tried in yet. But I may, some day. I had to do with punky wood that simply won’t sand smooth. The method, shared by Kim Tippin (one of my heroes), was to brush on Thin-Set resin, cut half-and-half with Acetone, brushed on. Makes the resin soak into the punky wood. The acetone flashes off, and the wood is hardened. That’s right. Half-ass resin.

BurlyBob: That’s not the first time you’ve said that. Get with it. But, beware. The avocation may well take you down unexpected paths.

-- Mark

View bushmaster's profile


3938 posts in 3022 days

#5 posted 04-03-2020 05:19 AM

A plus for the story. Wonderful bed time story. A project to treasure

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View Joe Weaver's profile

Joe Weaver

537 posts in 4426 days

#6 posted 04-03-2020 12:22 PM

beautiful piece

-- Joe, Ga

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

7450 posts in 4092 days

#7 posted 04-03-2020 12:26 PM

I would pay to get a ticket to this show! This may have not have been the success you were looking for Mark but this project of yours was great to read about. One look at the the cover photo and I was hook and had to keep reading until the end. It was like reading a mystery novel. Your words are as amazing as the work you do!
Oh! And You know you can’t give up!

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

View recycle1943's profile


4307 posts in 2362 days

#8 posted 04-03-2020 12:33 PM

This bowl really makes mine look like I’m stuck in the beginners course – absolutely great turrning

-- 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 swirt's profile


5121 posts in 3711 days

#9 posted 04-03-2020 12:51 PM

Very cool look. Well done.

-- Galootish log blog,

View pottz's profile


9526 posts in 1724 days

#10 posted 04-03-2020 01:36 PM

very cool bowl my friend,the one pic looks like there chillin out in a hot tub-lol.

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

View doubleDD's profile


9383 posts in 2783 days

#11 posted 04-03-2020 01:49 PM

Mark, I enjoyed your journey through the process. I started turning a resin bowl recently and I’m in the same boat. I didn’t use a pressure pot since mine was a project of left over resin projects so I had more problems. Getting to the finished end is what it’s all about. You did a great job and it shows well.
Thanks for some tips as I try to complete mine.

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

View luv2learn's profile


3051 posts in 3042 days

#12 posted 04-03-2020 02:39 PM

I have all the materials I need to do this I just need to start…LOL!! Thanks for the inspiration Mark!

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

View splintergroup's profile


3681 posts in 1962 days

#13 posted 04-03-2020 03:19 PM

I saw the eye-grabbing intro photos and just had to look (even though I’m trying not to be drawn into the dark world of turning). I was lost in thought while reading through your feat before I realized it was because I was in unexplored territory.

Those pine cones really add some zing to those wild colors! Great job thinking on your feet as all those issues arose.

Question from the clueless:

Can you place the bowl under a vacuum to expel the trapped air, then let it sit for an hour to backfill in before hitting the pressure?
It’d be a shame if you gave up on those cones! I just take my cones that fill up the courtyard and chuck them at the squirrels, I’d love another item to be hoarding if they proved worthy of something like you made!

View leafherder's profile


1954 posts in 2692 days

#14 posted 04-03-2020 07:07 PM

OMG! You’ve done it. You didn’t set out to do it, and even now you probably don’t realize what you’ve done, but it’s to late and cannot be undone. Many before you have tried and failed, some have come tantalizingly close but just didn’t quite succeed. And you did it with pine cones! You are among the Greats! No need to apologize ever again.

You have captured the elusive beauty, the scintillating colors, and the raw emotional impact of one of the world’s most beloved and admired works of art in a wood turning.

To what do I refer? Isn’t it obvious? Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night

It’s all there, the swirling skies, the twisted trees the pulsating stars.

This deserves a place in a museum.

-- Leafherder

View robscastle's profile


7092 posts in 2944 days

#15 posted 04-03-2020 08:28 PM

I am not sure what to make of all this Mark.
You certainly ventured into a twilight zone of woodworking, and its a good thing there were pine cones in it that’s all I can say there, (assuming the wooden base does not remain).

I does look good and is well explained documented and photographed as well congratulations well deserved there.

I hope the bowl you used is not from the wife’s kitchen,... rice cooker or something like that, as you may end up feeling like a Bunya Pine cone hit you on the head.

So some technical questions if I may:
1. What possessed you to create such a nice bit of whatever?
2. Was it not completely cost prohibitive finance wise.
3. What do you intend to do with it now.
4. Didn’t it make a absolutely massive mess to clean up with the static effect making bits stick everywhere,
5. Finally are you intending to make any more.

In closing The epoxy process is something I would attempt if I could afford the materials as the river tables and other items presented on this forum certainly inspire creativity with poly products.

BTW I have one of recycle1945’s bowls here with me in Austria

Any of this make sense?

-- Regards Rob

showing 1 through 15 of 37 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics