This is the story of the making of a bowl or any wood turned object that is not completed because of cracks, splits or a deficiency in the wood.
When we look at a bowl or piece of Wood Art, what we generally do not give any thought to is how long it took to make the piece.
The following process takes us from the standing tree to an almost finished product and the time it takes to get there. That time is anywhere from a minimum of six months to over a year.
Approximately 10% of all wood piece’s over 6 inches in size have to be thrown in the trash because they have developed splits or cracks because the moisture has left the piece too quickly from being dried improperly.
• It all begins with a tree. The tree is either dying, dead or is specifically chosen for the process. Once the tree is chosen, it is then cut down.
• The tree is that cut into lengths that will make bowls. Those sections are at least 3 inches longer than what the diameter of the bowl will be. This is to provide extra wood on the ends when cutting the shape of the bowl in later steps.
• These sections are then cut lengthwise in half making sure that the pith (center of tree) is removed from the piece. If the pith is left in it will be sure to warp and or split and ruin the piece.
• Each section is then laid bark side down and a circle is drawn on the piece so all the corners and edges can be cut off with a chainsaw.
• We now have a piece of wood that can be mounted on the lathe. We first check to make sure that there are no cracks or splits in the piece, and if there are it has to be thrown away.
• Once mounted on the lathe the piece is then turned into it’s rough shape. It now has to be taken off of the lathe quickly and placed in a paper bag or large leaf bag so that the ends are not exposed to the air. If the ends are exposed they will dry quicker than the main part of the body which causes stress on the wood and will develop splits or cracks in it.
• The drying process takes anywhere from three months to a year depending on the size of bowl, platter or Art piece. The piece has to be checked weekly for a month and the bag has to be changed weekly because of the moisture that it gathers.
If a split or a crack is noticed when checking the piece he has to be discarded. In the pictures that accompany’s this writing, that is what has happened to those pieces in the wheel barrow. I was cleaning my shop of the bowls in the wheelbarrow and thought it might make an interesting story. As you can see there has been a tremendous amount of work that has been done and still these pieces have to be thrown away.