This is a special piece.  First, it was made from Poplar that I got in Ballard when the Swedish Hospital on Market St eliminated their courtyard and the lovely Poplar's that lined it to build their new, much needed wing.  It was a shame to lose that courtyard but the hospital's needs and the community's needs for their services were far exceeding their current space, and in downtown Ballard there was no where to go.  I was able to grab some of the wood, thanks to the contractor doing the work.


The piece has two wide wings.  It is an end grain piece, meaning that you can see the shape of the tree itself when you look down on the piece from above.  The tree was oblong and had a number of places where there were deep furrows and indents in its shape.  When you turn an endgrain piece like that the narrow portions of the tree end up being low points in the bowl, and the broad wide areas of the tree and up being the highpoints and wings in the bowl.  The piece has all the bark still on the rim so you can clearly see the shape of the tree.


This makes the piece very difficult and time consuming to turn.  Think of trying to spin an aircraft propellor and then trying to cut and shape it with a long metal tool as it spins.  That is the effect you get with a piece like this.   The wings are invisible as they spin, so you need to use lighting to your advantage and approach the spinning wood very carefully so you don't end up with the tool impacting the wood at the wrong angle or time.  When I was first learning how to do this kind of piece I got too aggresive and literally cleaved off about two inches of a 1/2" hardened steel wood gouge.  The wood didnt fare very well either. 


This particular piece of wood was also at the crotch of the trunk where 5 branches emerged, and the bark inclusion where these branches joined the main trunk is part of the gorgeous design in the center of the bowl.  This added to the challenge of turning it since these are weak points in the wood that are under a great deal of stress as it spins on the tree and the cutting gouge is applied to it.


Still, this kind of piece is wonderful to do and I really enjoy it when I find the right piece of wood.  The end result after considerable time spent on it is either firewood or a really unique turning.  


The finish is a hand rubbed french polish made of walnut oil and shellac.  The finish gives the piece some lustre without taking away from its hand, or the feel of the wood itself.  There is a fine microcyrstaline wax on it that will resist fingerprints and make it easier to dust.

17"wide x 6" tall winged Poplar bowl

  • The finish is a french polish made of walnut oil and shellac, hand rubbed to a soft lustre.  A small amount of care will keep the piece looking lovely.  Use a soft cloth to wipe it clean of dust or other dirt.  A bit of furniture wax and a quick hand buffing with a soft cloth will bring back its lustre and help keep fingerprints off it and make it easier to dust.