Jay Scott sent us a story and some pictures of a recent natural edge bowl.
My wife’s 40th birthday was coming up. Besides not having a lot of great ideas, unnecessary outings not being terribly wise choices for me right now, and it falling right after Christmas, I thought I would fall back on making something. She had always said that she admires live edge bowls, ideally with the bark still on. All I had in my stash were two logs of elm and two mystery logs that would not be suitable for a bowl.
So, for the first time ever, I chiseled a flat spot, drilled the hole, twisted in a worm screw and put that propeller-thing on my lathe. I told myself I’ve watched enough of Phil Anderson’s videos on YouTube that I should at least have an idea of what I should be doing.
Unfortunately, the bark did not stay on. Being Elm it slid off like a tube, even before I got the worm screw in. However, I understood the principles, kept sharp tools and the turn went just fine. Now, the 8 hours of hand sanding and the tedious work of trying to get that nice finish without the benefit of a spinning lathe, is where I did spend a lot of time. But, each hour is one hour closer to figuring out the process and getting more efficient at it. I’ve got a rotisserie motor adaptation in the works for my lathe so that I can spin it at about 10 RPM. Then spray lacquer will be an option for me and I won’t have to endure finishing work on irregular shaped projects like this. For this thirsty end grain dense piece, I used three coats of sanding sealer then about eight coats of Wipe on Poly. It is about 200mm wide x 120mm tall.
Bottom line, everything went well and my wife appreciated her gift and the effort I put into it. And, I think I may have developed a taste for working with more raw wood and maybe fewer perfectly prepared blanks.