Siek Wassenaar

Thanks to Studio Tour artist Siek Wassenaar for sharing ..........

The making of a wooden bowl
The neighbour's tree at the cottage had to be cut down. I had my eye on this tree for some time because it had a number of small burls on it. A burl is a wart like growth on a tree. Some times they just grow on the side of the tree and some times they surround a tree, all different species can grow burls. It is not known why they form but they are highly priced by wood turners because of their colour and grain pattern. Often they contain bark twisted through out the wood.

I was given the section of the tree with the burls on it which then had to be cut down into manageable bowl blanks.

Four small burls were cut from the out side of the tree. The wood should be turned as soon as possible after it has been cut to prevent it from drying out too fast which leads to splitting. The pieces that can not be turned right away, must be painted with a water/oil emulsion and stored in a paper bag.

The bowl blank is mounted between centres and shaped.

A foot is turned on one end so that it can be held in a chuck to removed the inside.

The wall thickness is left at approximately 10 % of the bowl diameter. The rough bowl is now painted inside and out with the water/oil emulsion weighed and returned to the paper bag. The drying process takes about one year for each inch of thickness of the wood so for a bowl of 1 inch wall thickness it requires about 6 months before it can be finished. During the drying process the bowl and the foot distorts and they are no longer round. When the bowl no longer loses weight i.e. water, it is remounted between centres and the foot is turned round . With the foot round the bowl can now be put back in the chuck first the outside is turned to its final shape and then the inside.

The turning complete, the bowl is now sanded inside and out starting width 180 grit sand paper and finishing with 400 grit.
A shellac finish is applied and when dry it is rubbed down with very fine steel wool.

The bowl is reversed in the chuck to remove the foot, decorate, sign and finish the bottom.

The finished 7”x4” maple burl bowl.