Half Rotten Birch Bowl


I’ve had this half rotten birch log sitting in the shed for years, found it in a pile in the church yard next door. Though I’d have a go at making something of it for a change from the usual perfect bowls. After a few false starts trying different ways of mounting it eventually settled for screwing it to a piece of board which seemed to work pretty well.

Huge amount of off centre vibration to deal with, made me wish (again) that I had a concrete floor for the lathe to stand on, one day I will get round to upgrading the wood shed. Had to start off at 100rpm while slowly taking off one shaving per turn. Added a counter balance weight to try and reduce vibrations. Gradually upping the speed as it became more round until it could take ~1000rpm without shaking the shed down.

Eventually after a couple of hours managed to turn down to a round and fairly solid core, then a final skim with a freshly sharpened gouge, then shear scrape, then sand through all 4 grits 80, 120, 240, 400, then diluted sanding sealer soaking into the rotten wood to stabilise it, then a few more coats to fill the pores with wire wool between to flatten it off. Alternating the turning direction between each stage. Repeat all of the above for the inside and after ~4 hours total, a final wax buff et voilà finished.

Very happy with the result, more arty and less practical than my usual projects but nice balanced looking piece.

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