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After years of avoiding lathe work, I finally bit the bullet and turned my first bowl.  A few years ago, I picked up cut up tree stumps my neighbor was throwing away.  I sealed it with some wax and fast forward a few years and it became this little bowl.  I didn't really know what I was doing, but youtube videos really helped a lot.  I'm not sure what kind of wood this is, but it's definitely some sort of spalted hardwood.  That was a fun first project and I think I'm hooked.

With my new found pseudo-"skills" at the lathe, I turned out this two bowls.  I'd like to say I seasoned these bowls from stumps myself, but that'd be a lie.  I bought some dried bowl blanks from my local woodworking store.  These were some really nice curly maple bowl blanks.  Look at the amazing grain of this stuff.  I even got lucky and found a blank (bowl to the right) that had both curly and spalted figure!  

Here's the underside of the bowls.  These were special bowls I made for two hospice nurses that really took extra good care of my Dad before he passed away.  It was so incredibly difficult to see him in such discomfort and pain.  I just thank the heavens above that these nurses came and helped make my Dad's last few days a little more comfortable.  For that, I will always owe them a gratitude that cannot be expressed in words.  Even though I can't thank them enough for their kindness, these bowls were my way of memorializing my gratitude for everything they did for my family. 

uying bowl blanks can cost some serious $$$ in a hurry.  After a serious windstorm here in Southern California, there were a lot of downed trees headed to the either the dump or for firewood.  I picked some stumps (I practically gave my self a hernia trying to load some of these heavy suckers onto my truck).  Then it was time to chainsaw them and rough them out.

Here you can see a rough, very rough blank I chainsawed and mounted to my lathe.  This process generates a lot of wet shavings everywhere.  I'd highly recommend waxing all your iron surfaces to protect from rust during this process.  On the floor you can see all the blanks waiting to be rough turned.  It's a lot of work, but hopefully, I'll have a lot of useable blanks to play around with in 6 months to a year!

These are the "finished" roughed out blanks I have sitting in storage.  After rough turning them, I coated them with an emulsified wax that I bought from Rockler.  Now it's just up to Father time and evaporation to get my bowl blanks ready for final turning.

My mother-in-law came to visit and I turned this bowl out of curly maple for her to bring home.  She's a fan of koa wood bowls.  I didn't have any koa bowl blanks, but I had her pick out a blank from my stash--she has good taste as she went for the super curly grain.  This stuff really is beautiful!  

I played around with different shapes for the foot of the bowl and decided on have this blended curve.  I wound up using my curved bowl scraper to do the job.  I think this form looks a bit more organic.  I'm still experimenting with shapes so this is still a learning process for me.  I used a soldering iron/burning pen to burn the lettering on the bottom of the bowl.  I made s stupid mistake and burned "2-21-21" instead of "2-21-12".  I'm not dyslexic, I just had a brain fart.  After finishing the bowl, I just couldn't stand it and had to turn the goof-up off and re-burn the correct date.