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Thread: Help recovering a failed design experiment

  1. #1

    Help recovering a failed design experiment

    I found a curly red maple log in my firewood this spring, and while it was unfortunately stained from sitting in a pile for a year, I broke it down into blanks and have turned most of it. I had a piece left over that was a lot shorter (just under 9") than it was wide (about 12"), and it had some punky wood near the center. After stewing about how to cut it, I had this idea that if I just turned it like it was a 12" blank, it might turn out kind of interesting, like a cross between a square bowl and a round one. Turning it that way had the added advantage of cutting out all the punky wood without it appearing in the rim of the bowl.

    Well, it was a pretty serious fail from an aesthetic standpoint. It looks pretty much like what it is, a round bowl with two sides removed. I think part of the problem is that it's too deep, which makes the sides really scallop down in an unattractive way. This is just off the lathe, I was going to let it dry and then sand it without returning it. The wings started to move on me while I was hollowing, and I've got some tool marks to take out. It's a shy 5/16" on the wall.

    Before I throw it in the burn pile, I thought I might continue the experimentation by changing the shape more. One thought I had was to bandsaw the currently straight sides into a shallow arc (as seen in plan view), something more akin to the "rounded side square platters" that John Jordan often shows (and that I've since made many of, thanks for the inspiration John). I made a very crude attempt to draw that in in the second photo. Then profile the edges to look more like the finished edges and blend the curves where the round and not round portions meet.

    Any other ideas? The wood doesn't look like much in the photo, but the curl in the wood is actually pretty nice -- pic of a NE bowl made from the same log attached.




  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Carterville, Illinois
    Instead of trying to copy another bowl, let this one set for a while. It is a unique design, and may grow on you once you are over the "disaster" of it not looking like you thought it would. You might soften the sharp points, but that is me.
    The hurrier I goes, the behinder I gets.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Sometimes people use carving tools to change the shape of the edge, sometimes dramatically. Maybe sketch some variations.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Wayland, MA
    I'd definitely think about making a more scalloped edge, perhaps adding some asymmetry. Also look at some of the techniques Trent Bosch uses to carve away upper and lower surfaces so the scallops don't all appear to be in the same plane, ie making a 3D wave around the edge. It looks like you've got enough wood to do that.

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