Half Ton of Weeping Cherry

So in case you didn’t notice, I like to work with wood. Mostly turning wood. Less than 2 weeks ago I ended up with a half ton of Weeping Cherry and a whole Chinese Red Maple tree (base of trunk about 24″ in diameter). This evening I rough cut 23 blanks with the chainsaw, then made a quick pass at turning as many pieces round as I could, then wrapped then in plastic. Note that a lot of these blanks are 12 x 12 x 6. That’s a heavy piece of wood. I made it through 10 pieces.

Why wrap them in plastic? To prevent them from drying unevenly and cracking. I need to keep the moisture in the wood until I can hollow them out on the lathe.

Once hollowed, I can pack them full of wood chips and wrap them in newspaper to dry for 3 – 4 months. This is a slow drying process that reduces the likelihood that they will clack or split. Once they are dry I will put them back on the lathe and finish the turning process, do a little wood burning on a few, apply some oil and wax, then sign them. It is a neat process. Every piece of wood presents a different challenge.

Did I mention that working with wood is a great escape from technology?

My mess is not limited to in the workshop. I make a plenty big mess outside too.

The chainsaw is the fastest method for reducing the raw lumber to workable pieces. I take time to think through how to maximize the number of pieces I can get out of each chunk.

On some piece I will plunge a Forstner bit into it for seating the tail-stock firmly.

This vase is starting to take shape.

Looking more like the final shape.

The challenge will be keeping the bark on the bowl. I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

Another big bowl. This one with a clean top edge.

These are 9 of the 10 I roughed out tonight. I’m anxious to get to the finish-turning step to see how this wood dries. It looks like it should be pretty stable.

Still have a pile to turn. And a pile of wood shavings to clean up.

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