Monday, 4 April 2011

Cherry Bowl

I was cycling home from work last week through my local woods, when I noticed a Cherry tree that had been knocked over in the gales and partially logged by the rangers to clear the path. I was taken by the contrast between the heartwood and sapwood; so went back later and collected a few pieces to see how they carved. First job of course is to split them through the pith to prevent radial cracking. Next job after that is to store them out of the way of our biggest enemy- direct sunlight. So here's our sawn out bowl blank. Here I've flattened the bottom with the Carving Axe- it's surprising how accurately you can flatten a surface with an axe, taking down high spots and any wind.
The Bowl adze is excellent for quickly wasting timber to roughly form a depression in the log. I need to get my finger out and make a holding device to secure the blank at this stage- I just used the tops of the chopping block as stops, which isn't very secure to say the least.
Here I'm taking the rough adze marks out and refining the inside with the long handled hook knife I've blogged about before. I'm still not fully in tune with this tool yet as I've made very few bowls, but I'm sure I'll get more comfortable in time.
Now to my favourite stage- wasting wood with the axe to rough shape the outside of the bowl.
For accurate axe-work, it's best to angle your work piece so that the axe falls perpendicular to the chopping block each stroke. This is also much safer as the axe is heading towards the block, should you miss or pick up a chip and deflect.
Here's the rough bowl after axing the outside shape.

Finally for now, whilst the log is still wet, I'm removing the axe marks and refining the outside shape with a Frosts pushknife. I really like this tool- it's really sharp out of the box and cuts nice and cleanly, especially if you can slice with it. My only problem with it is that I wish the blade, or at least distance between handles, was longer to keep the handles out of the way.
Here's as far as I got. The bowl is about 5/8" to 3/4" thick at this stage. I'll put it in a cool dark place for a few days to allow it to dry out before I finish it.

Cheers for now, John.