Spalted Black Walnut Bowl/Platter

  • Advertise with us
Project by WoodArtbyJR posted 02-18-2014 03:23 PM 1603 views 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been working on this for over a year. I received 2 slabs of spalted black walnut over a year ago from John at Tacoma Tree Salvage and Wood Works and the deal was, make him a platter and I could have the 2 slabs. When I got the slabs they were like old, dirty soaked sponges. They were so wet that they have been air drying in my shop for the past year. Part of that time this piece was soaking in polycryl. At times I wasn’t even sure I would be able to turn it as it was so soft. Polycryl soaking and 2 bottles of CA glue later and here are the results. I used the recess method to hold it on the lathe. If you look close you can see the VERY soft areas. These areas show up as wavy because they sand deeper then the hard areas. Kinda gives it character and uniqueness. I’ve sanded it to 400, applied a coat of walnut oil, 2 coats of Arm-R-Seal and now I’ll finish it off with several coats of walnut oil & bees wax.
Working with this on the lathe I learned real quick, PUT YOUR RESPORATOR ON DUMMY. The dust was NASTY. I’ve worked with natural edged bowls a lot in the past and this was a lot like that. The difference in weight distribution because of the different densities in the wood was just like an uneven piece like a natural edged piece. I was also worried that it would fly apart because of the rottenness and softness but it stayed together. CA glues is great stuff (another respirator moment).
Thank you for looking and as always, comments and questions are always welcome.

-- Jim Roberts, Port Orchard Washington

12 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30629 posts in 3496 days

#1 posted 02-18-2014 03:24 PM

Very beautiful work, awesome wood.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View waho6o9's profile


9037 posts in 3735 days

#2 posted 02-18-2014 04:23 PM

Love me some grain patterns, what a beaut.

View LesB's profile


3029 posts in 4601 days

#3 posted 02-18-2014 06:22 PM

Well done.
I have worked on wood in that condition in the past with mixed success. Now I have concluded it is not worth it and my time is better spend on wood in better condition. It is a challenge however.

-- Les B, Oregon

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 4263 days

#4 posted 02-19-2014 12:49 AM

Beautiful piece. A lot of effort, but sometimes that is what it takes. I was given a couple of slabs of local spalted maple a few years ago. It too was soaking wet. I made some beautiful boxes from it. The tree guy was amazed that it could be used. You were brave to put it on the lathe.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View Vince's profile


1291 posts in 4587 days

#5 posted 02-19-2014 10:21 AM

Very nice looking platter

-- Vince

View NaptownWood's profile


293 posts in 3031 days

#6 posted 02-19-2014 02:37 PM

looks like a well crafted piece of art.

-- Witty signature line still pending

View SugarbeatCo's profile


142 posts in 3426 days

#7 posted 02-19-2014 11:00 PM


-- Always one more tool away from being an excellent woodworker...

View Josh Carte's profile

Josh Carte

590 posts in 2838 days

#8 posted 02-20-2014 02:23 PM

That is some beautiful wood…. And the workmanship is wonderful as well :)


View WoodArtbyJR's profile


428 posts in 4123 days

#9 posted 02-20-2014 04:27 PM

LesB, I thought about scrapping it but decided not to. Happy now I didn’t I still have a 4’X4’X4” slab to do something with. Thank you all for the kind comments. It was quite a challenge with the softness. Some products worked, & some didn’t. Polycryl is a LOT of work and the jury’s still out on that one. CA is great, just expensive.

-- Jim Roberts, Port Orchard Washington

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4025 days

#10 posted 02-20-2014 04:29 PM

That sure is a pretty one. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3334 days

#11 posted 02-25-2014 05:08 PM

Excellent turning, it came out really gorgeous. Like the shape and those grains and figures look stunning.

View WoodArtbyJR's profile


428 posts in 4123 days

#12 posted 02-25-2014 05:16 PM

At the end, it was till soaking up the oil in the soft areas and you could see it clearly. The fix, I went with a pen turners finish to seal those areas. I used CA glue on a rag and wiped it down. It came out with a little gloss finish but the soft areas are sealed up and it has a nice smooth finish. I wiped the entire inside and outside down with the CA. Think I may use that method again in the future if the need arises.

-- Jim Roberts, Port Orchard Washington

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