Carved Rustic Yellow Birch Bowlish Thing

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Project by Bagtown posted 12-02-2012 06:31 PM 2169 views 3 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Earlier this year I bought myself an adze. Didn’t know what I was going to do with it, just thought I needed one.

A couple of months ago I got a call from a friend who had a yellow birch cut down at his camp. I’m not sure but I think it must have been cut down at least a year ago. It was laying on the ground and cut into short log sections. He noticed there was some spalting visible on the ends and naturally thought of me. When he called, I said “sure I’m interested”. I didn’t have a use for it at the time but you can never have too much wood.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. We drew names at the cafe for a secret santa gift exchange. I got the name of a great girl who works at the cafe who is from Maine. The only rule for our gift exchange is that you have to make it. No dollar store coffee mugs from china are allowed.

So I went out into the backyard and split one of those big birch logs. A lot of folks might have burnt it on the spot considering the amount of rot there was inside the centre of it. I just kept chopping happily away with my adze. As it turns out, any day you get to use your adze, is a good day. I didn’t really have a plan in mind but I kept going. After awhile I turned it over and roughed out the ends with a large gouge and my big ugly mallet. Then I got to use my big Sorby two inch slick (chisel). This was turning into a lot of fun, and every time I thought I was taking away some of the most amazing grain and spalted beauty, it just got better the deeper I went. I was having a lot of fun. I spent the better part of a couple or three afternoons outside in the very cool weather, looking at the lake and listening to Mozart. This turned into a very zen experience for me. After I got it close to where I wanted, I brought it into the shop to dry out for a week or so. Then I Dug out where a branch that had once grown out of the tree. You can see the hole in the second picture. I used a power sander to smooth out the really rough parts and then began to final sand it by hand. I put a couple of coats of BLO on it letting them soak in for a couple of days each before buffing them out, then 3 or 4 coats of a homemade beeswax/grapeseed oil finishing wax.

So last night we had the staff party (everyone wore their pyjamas) at our house. When I gave this to her she couldn’t believe it. Hugs all around. :) She really loves it and I learned some new skills that I enjoyed so much I will be building on them in the future.

Thanks for looking

Any and all comments are welcome.


-- Mike - In Fort McMurray Alberta

17 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4085 days

#1 posted 12-02-2012 06:33 PM

Wow that’s really hauling “Adze” Very creative.

View DIYaholic's profile


19861 posts in 3183 days

#2 posted 12-02-2012 06:52 PM

What a beautiful Artsy Rustic Bowl. She & others will admire it for many years.

Now then, get off your “adze” and make another!!!

BTW: Pictures of the PJs would have been nice. ;)

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View patron's profile


13654 posts in 3849 days

#3 posted 12-02-2012 07:01 PM

well grasshopper

you have mastered the art of


and in your pajamas too

top of the class

now your secret assignment
(should you care to work for a living)

is to drive a big truck
and spread your joy

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View JL7's profile


8752 posts in 3473 days

#4 posted 12-02-2012 08:06 PM

Very nice Mike….that is one cool log for sure…always impressed how some folks can envision a project like this….

I’m also curious what gift you got in return from the PJ party?

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View IndianJoe's profile


425 posts in 2758 days

#5 posted 12-02-2012 10:00 PM

love it nice keep up the good work nice

-- Nimkee** Joe

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30441 posts in 2846 days

#6 posted 12-02-2012 10:40 PM

She got the best gift. Beautiful work.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Bagtown's profile


1739 posts in 4238 days

#7 posted 12-02-2012 11:26 PM

Thanks for the great comments everyone. Jeff, the person who drew my name made me paper ornament (think paper dolls), with each member of the staffs face on each one. I’ll remember this group for a long time.
Sorry there’s no pictures. I forgot to get film :)

-- Mike - In Fort McMurray Alberta

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 3372 days

#8 posted 12-03-2012 12:09 AM

Nice story there behind that beautiful piece. Great work and story .

View boxcarmarty's profile


17185 posts in 2868 days

#9 posted 12-03-2012 12:47 AM

Pajamas and hugs, I’m gonna have to buy me an adze…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2697 days

#10 posted 12-03-2012 12:56 AM

Nice story. Beautiful piece of spalted birch !

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3122 days

#11 posted 12-03-2012 09:03 AM

Mike it came out beautiful ,Mozart,cold and a adze some serious meditation …....that old chunk of coal turned out a diamond ,mean wood

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View rejo55's profile


190 posts in 2750 days

#12 posted 12-03-2012 01:21 PM

I don’t know… conjuring up the vision in my mind of you chopping and sweating and beating and banging while listening to Mozart? Now I could see Wagner, or even Aaron Copeland. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

No, really, that is awesome!! Have been thinking of getting an adze, or at least a scorp, but you put the kibosh on that idea. Anything I did would only pale in comparison to your work.

Fine piece. Excellent work. Thanks for the post.

Have a good’un


-- rejo55, East Texas

View Dave's profile


11434 posts in 3348 days

#13 posted 12-04-2012 12:44 AM

Mike you are getting good at this stuff. I like this a lot. Impressive.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2583 days

#14 posted 12-04-2012 01:31 AM

And now I know what an adze is. You learn something new everyday.
Fantastic work. Kudos, despite the Mozart :)

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Bagtown's profile


1739 posts in 4238 days

#15 posted 12-04-2012 09:30 AM

Thank you all.
When I’m outside and its cold and the Mozart is blasting away, well, well….. . . . the neighbours look at me funny too. :) But I like it.

-- Mike - In Fort McMurray Alberta

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