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Bowl from a whole log

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I have an 8 inch section of walnut I would like to turn into a bowl. If I mount the whole log I'll have the pith on either wall. Is this doable or is it sure to crack?
 

hockenbery

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Maybe yes maybe no. I occasionally turn natural edge bowls this way. With a nice even wall 3/16-1/8” thick it probably won’t crack if you have a nice curve and slow the drying.
I wash my bowls in the sink to rehydrate the endgrain a little towel dry and put it in a paper bag.
Fold the bag closed the first night. Open the bag the second night. Put the bowl out to dry in the third day.
Then sand and finish.

what you will get when dry is a bump in the sidewall that messes up the nice curve you turned to dry it.
Each growth ring shrinks more than the one inside it. This is why the crack. When it is thin with a curve the inside ring is pushed out- like the collapsible camp cups.

one issue with walnut is the chambered pith. It can look odd when cut.

this one is his on has the pith.
64F1EBB2-3D13-49EA-BA35-B31C7EC0E740.jpeg. Here is a view of the bump 5112ADB1-18EF-4ACD-9D45-D48FA85D8487.jpeg
 
Last edited:
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Thank you for that. BTW do you finish turn a bowl like that or leave the tenon on and finish turn when drier. Also do you think CA over the pith will prevent cracking?
 

hockenbery

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I turn off the tenon. No reason to leave it on. I sand off the lathe. I do a round bottom on most of my NE bowls.

I sand off the lathe using 3” discs and a 90 degree drill. Usually 220:and 320 then finish. The bark will be proud. It gets CA right after turning.
No Ca in the pith.


if I do a foot, I sand the area around the foot while it is in the lather and wet. This area can’t be sanded off the lathe without making an unwanted flat. Then I avoid this area when sanding the dry bowl. I will blend it I. With the power sanded are by hand with 320.

to flatten the foot I clamp a sheet of 220 on the table saw. Then without rocking the bowl I slide the bottom over the paper a few time until it is flat.
 
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Thank you for that. BTW do you finish turn a bowl like that or leave the tenon on and finish turn when drier. Also do you think CA over the pith will prevent cracking?
If you leave a heavy enough wall to 2nd turn, the chances of cracking go way up. CA is not a structural adhesive in my opinion, it won't prevent cracking.
 

hockenbery

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Thank you for that. BTW do you finish turn a bowl like that or leave the tenon on and finish turn when drier. Also do you think CA over the pith will prevent cracking?

If you don’t have a lot of experience with NE bowls, it may help to look at the thread below in tipsandtechniques.
It includes a video of a demo I do on turning a NE bowl from a crotch. All the same turning I do on a half log or whole log.

https://www.aawforum.org/community/index.php?threads/naural-edge-bowl-from-a-crotch.11058/
 

Dave Landers

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I did a few calabash bowls (not natural edge) this weekend from whole walnut crotches.

IMG_6043.jpeg

Wet turned to finished thickness. These have a bit thicker walls than I might normally do, because I'm leaving thickness to experiment with pewa patches for any cracks. They're in paper bags now for a while. After they dry a bit I'll expose them to open air - have had success with that process on other pieces from this log.

I won't be surprised if I get some cracking around the pith, but even if I wasn't planning on the pewas, it would just add to the character of these pieces IMO.

I've got a couple walnut hollow forms I did around the pith (so the pith is in the bottom, but removed by the hole in the top). These are now a couple years old and no issues with the pith in the bottom. I've also done quite a few aspen and beetle-kill ponderosa pine hollow forms around the pith - no issues with those either. The type of wood (and to some degree the individual tree) does matter I think.

I don't have a list of what woods work and what doesn't. I just try it and if it works, it works.
If not, it's just wood, it'll still burn.
 

Emiliano Achaval

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I did a few calabash bowls (not natural edge) this weekend from whole walnut crotches.

View attachment 36216

Wet turned to finished thickness. These have a bit thicker walls than I might normally do, because I'm leaving thickness to experiment with pewa patches for any cracks. They're in paper bags now for a while. After they dry a bit I'll expose them to open air - have had success with that process on other pieces from this log.

I won't be surprised if I get some cracking around the pith, but even if I wasn't planning on the pewas, it would just add to the character of these pieces IMO.

I've got a couple walnut hollow forms I did around the pith (so the pith is in the bottom, but removed by the hole in the top). These are now a couple years old and no issues with the pith in the bottom. I've also done quite a few aspen and beetle-kill ponderosa pine hollow forms around the pith - no issues with those either. The type of wood (and to some degree the individual tree) does matter I think.

I don't have a list of what woods work and what doesn't. I just try it and if it works, it works.
If not, it's just wood, it'll still burn.
That calabash deserves to be on the picture gallery. Nice one!
 
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