Small spalted maple bowl

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Project by dspahn posted 01-18-2012 11:10 AM 1236 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This past weekend, I took a little drive up to Encinitas to take a look at an old, original Nova chuck that was listed on Craigslist for $50. The thing was in perfect shape, so I couldn’t pass it up. The seller and I got to talking about wood working in general, and turning specifically. I told him I was a noob, just getting started, and he had lots of advice to offer. It was a fun conversation.

Then he asked me how I was for wood. I told him I had bits and pieces of stuff from here and there. He then showed me several large pieces of wood that he had laying around that he said he was trying to sell, because he just wasn’t into turning any more. Maple, madrone, ebony, cocobolo, And I don’t remember what else. I ended up buying the block of maple too.

Got home and broke out my Poulan Piece Of Feces electric chainsaw and struggled mightily for about and hour to get the block split into two pieces (pic 4). Then took one of the pieces to the radial arm saw and cut off a small section. I wanted to see what it would turn like. Pic 5 is the very beginnings of getting the piece roughed out.

Pic 6 is what it looked like before I got a catch and it broke out of the chuck. This caused me to do some surgery on it to salvage it, and so it ended up a lot smaller than I was hoping for. I was really excited about where it was going before the break. I think it might have had something to do with the punkiness of the spalting, because I don’t think my catch was a catastrophic one…. But who knows?

Anyway, after the surgery and remounting and turning and sanding, what you see in the first 3 pictures is what I ended up with. It’s about 1.75 inches tall, and about 4.75 inches in diameter. Sanded to 600 grit and finished with a mixture of beeswax and mineral oil. The spalting is really magnificent, but this is the first time where I think the wood looked better before adding the finish. After applying the finish, the contrast between the spalted and non-spalted wood was largely erased, and it just seems less exciting somehow. That’s not to say I’m not happy with the finished bowl, because I am, but the next bowl out of this wood will be finished differently. Anyone have any suggestions on what to use to keep the contrast intact?

Thanks for looking and reading, and as always, your thoughts, critiques and whatever else you might have to say are welcomed and encouraged. :)

4 comments so far

View Cousinwill's profile


131 posts in 3219 days

#1 posted 01-18-2012 03:13 PM

I REALLY like it !!I do understand what you mean about the wood darking some after applying finish. I have the same issue. I use tung oil or salad bowl finish on most all of my bowls.

-- William from the oldest town in Texas

View RolloMartins's profile


6 posts in 2652 days

#2 posted 01-18-2012 03:21 PM

Beautiful bowl.

-- "Bully of the world!--Don Q.

View Dusty56's profile


11838 posts in 4017 days

#3 posted 01-19-2012 01:08 AM

The colors were awesome before the oil as you said , but I still like the finished look as well : )
I thought it was much larger than you say it is though. Keep on turning : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Reaper621's profile


125 posts in 2659 days

#4 posted 01-25-2012 06:16 PM

My turnings darken a little bit, but I’m not quite sure they darken that much after applying walnut oil. But there’s an easy solution.

If you’ve got several finish methods lying around, try them all on pieces of scrap. If you’ve got some cheap blond scrap, or some plywood scrap, laying around, it’s perfect – nice and light, and will let you know exactly how much it will darken. Test several different kinds, and see which fits your fancy finest. You may even try a couple of non-food-safe finishes, and see if the color is preserved better by those.

I personally just like the walnut oil finish – I know it’s food safe, and it looks incredible. It didn’t darken my olive goblet very much at all, but it did quite a bit on the few pieces of maple I’ve turned. Just try it out and see what you think, that’s my two cents.

-- Laywer by day, Carpenter by later in the day.

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