Friday, December 18, 2015


A friend of mine owns a very nice lathe and is an excellent turner. Him and I do a lot of chainsawing together, he uses the wood we salvage and turns magnificent bowls and platters and sushi trays and the like.

Sometimes though the wood is not so accommodating and during the turning various flaws are revealed. Previously he would reluctantly throw these bowls into the fireplace, rather than put his name of a piece of work he considered defective.

On a recent shop tour at his place, he gave me a bunch of these flawed bowls and said 'see if you can do anything with these'.  So I have been playing around with various patches to try and repair these flaws.

I quickly decided that there was no way to hide any repairs, so the best thing would be to try and turn them into a highlight, without conflicting with any interesting grain features the original bowl may have. 

This was the first one, a yellow cedar bowl with some sapwood on one edge. Unfortunately the sapwood contained some unsightly wormholes and dark staining. So I cut off the sapwood using my Hammond Glider tablesaw, keeping the cut parallel to the grain lines, and glued on a piece of red cedar with its grain aligned to that of the yellow cedar. Sorry no picture of the glued on red cedar.

Next up were a couple of maple crotch pieces with some interesting figure. The one on the right had a small crack right at the rim, which I was able to cut out with couple passes on the tablesaw. I then fitted a small piece of some kind of tropical red coloured wood into the cut. The other had an unattractive bark inclusion, which I removed by drilling out with a Forstner bit. I made a patch out of koa, which my friend then turned separately and fitted into the opening.

I did the Forstner bit trick on several other bowls. Holding the bowl securely is the key to preventing a misshapen hole, and drill in from the top so any tearout occurs on the back where it can be turned off more easily.

The one on the right I made up a maple burl and a koa patch.  My buddy can use either one, or make his own of course! The one on the left uses a triangular piece of that same red wood mentioned above. The triangular shaped cut out was substantially more challenging to get a tight fit with, as the faces of the two edges were not aligned well.

I cut off a big piece of this maple crotch bowl with wild grain. The patch is a light coloured cherry with  straight grain.
 This was a nice straight grain maple bowl. The grain was not perpendicular though, it was running through the bowl at 48 degrees. I cut the bowl and the cherry patch on the saw first, then trimmed them both on my jointer to 48 degrees.

This one is 'in process' still. My plan is to rip a one inch wide section out of the middle of the bowl. I have a nice piece of rift sawn brown oak that I will fit in. Unfortunately my saw is too small for the task, I will be borrowing a friend's saw in the new year to do this.

Kind of a fun change from my usual activities, and it is nice to have finished half a dozen in just a few days. I think that more than triples my 'projects finished this year' list!

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