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-  The Carving Process  -

'Cherry Burl' Carved Cherry Bowl
by Steve Schmeck

8" x 5-1/2" x 2-1/2"    February 2005

Over the years I've probably thrown away hundreds of those ugly bumpy things that disfigure much of our cherry firewood. You know, cherry burls. I finally decided to try carving one and this is the result.

How was it? Tough to work. Tight weird grain but as the roughing gouge sliced through showed off the wood's beautiful
grain. Every cut revealed another exciting pattern.


 The Carving


This Cherry Burl is typical, I suppose, of burls; tight grain with a lot of tear-out...

Roughing it out

Roughing out with a single-bevel hatchet.

  Sawing the blank to shape

Sawing the blank to rough shape.

Mounted to carve the bottom and rim to shape

I usually use a shop-made carver's screw to secure the piece. Here I've roughed out the basic shape for the bottom of the bowl.

  Using gouge to carve out the inside of the bowl

Now I've flipped the bowl over and secured it to a plywood disk which is in turn bolted to the bench. I used several curved gouges to clean out the inside of the bowl.

Pretty much done shaping but need lots of sanding

Still getting quite a bit of tear-out so I switched from the mallet to fine slicing cuts by hand to thin and smooth the inside of the bowl. Sanding is next... (1/23/2005)


Well, here it is! The bowl sanded up nicely and the color deepened with the application of the oil finish. As usual, I've let this bowl rest in the sun for a couple of weeks to be sure it is stable and won't give me or its future owner any surprises. Over all this was a fun bowl to carve because of the great grain and color. (2/18/2005)

Updated 02/15/2022