Airbrushed sunset colors over a wide rimmed spalted maple bowl.2 10366224_1509937495892842_7149866351101265124_n 3 10420100_1509937472559511_312684246368826921_n1 10459072_1509937515892840_4327156844966693867_o

Film Band

I made a brand from a copper nail and used it in my woodburner. After laying out the spacing I went to work. What do you think?

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The bowl is Cherry, with a beautiful shape and an excellent finish of Antique Oil followed by 9 coats of hand rubbed wipe on poly in satin.

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Evolution of a Salt Shaker Pepper Mill

I’ve been making alterations to these salt shaker/pepper mill dolls. This is the latest. Note that one figure does both salt & pepper in one.

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This one has no plate on top for the salt shaking. Instead, I drilled multiple rows of holes through the hair part to pour salt from the head.

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Also, notice how the bow is now seated right at the hair. This is due to the hole through the hair. I also changed the regular nut for adjusting the grind of the pepper. It’s now a simple thin nut hidden within that hole in the hair part.

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The hair on this doll is maple burl, natural color except for the addition of Antique Oil.

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The body was first dyed black to show the wrinkles (the figure in the maple wood). this layer of dye was heavily sanded back to reveal the wood’s natural color. The body was then painted with white by airbrush.

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The flowers and leaves were designed on the computer and printed. Once they were adhered to the wood, the design was burned through with a very sharp wood burning tool.

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Color in the flowers and leaves (including the one on the bow) was done with light fast markers, and blended with a xylene marker.

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The whole figure was coated with Antique Oil to enhance the colors and the figure. The face was also added by wood burning and blended light fast markers.

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Notice the part in the hair?

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Watch for future evolution of these dolls. I’m working on a few new things.


Maple Burl Square Bowl

My customer for this bowl was directed to my website by her interior designer. He had previously seen the square bowl there ( and she liked it but wanted it bigger. She contacted me to make one twice as big and of course I said yes!

My bandsaw could not handle the uncut burl’s dimensions for this project so I handed off the selected piece of burl to a friend to have it cut down to something that I could manage. This side eventually became the top of the bowl.

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This is the bottom of the blank that I used.

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 The blank still needed to be cut to the correct dimensions but my bandsaw was a good match for this task with a 3/4″ blade. I used it to make the sides nearly perfectly flat and square to each other.

The turning process well under way, the inclusion is revealing itself and the warning bells start to ring loudly. Where I needed a fast speed to get the corners smooth and cleanly cut, for this portion and further turning, the speed had to be reduced and I needed to use extreme caution.

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Stopping to measure frequently is the secret to getting the edge of the rim to an even thickness from corner to corner on a square bowl. The diagonal measurement for this piece is 17″ so it required a much larger lathe. Thankfully, I have some very good friends.

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The turning is now finished on both the outside and the inside. The chuck tenon on the bottom has also been removed. I’ve also done some initial sanding while it was still on the lathe.

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The bowl is now at the stage between hand sanding and applying an oil coat to enhance the grain. Notice the hole in the far left corner. Some have suggested this might be a natural opening for hanging it.

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This shows some of the other inclusions hidden by the previous view.

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The previous one on my website was 6″ from side to side and 1.75″ high. This same shape, just a different size. Of course when the size is doubled, the mass of wood needs to be enormous.

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The figure in the original would not be easy to replicate in such a large proportion so I opted for a piece that I knew had rich burl grain and bark inclusions.

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The original has color added to the grain to enhance it and I convinced this client that coloring this bowl would be a really big gamble. Would it improve things or would it get in the way of all that grain?

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The light can be seen shining through the openings in the bark inclusions.

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Rotated to show the other side.

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Which way would this piece be displayed? Would you hang this up on a wall or set it on a table to see the inside? Or maybe place it high to show the outside grain and let the observer guess at what’s inside?

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This square bowl was entered in the annual Richmond Carvers Society Show & competition. I entered the Advanced Skill Level and placed this in the turning category.

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Second Place!

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Sunset in Apple

This bowl has been airbrushed with the colors to represent this sunset. It’s approximately 7.5″ X 3″, turned very thin, oiled and topped with 9 coats of MinWax Wipe-on-poly. Tell me what you think.

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The sunset colors in the sky are a combination of reds, oranges and yellows. The streaks are natural and were not added. Looks a lot like small clouds I think.

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The hillside illusion in the landscape was airbrushed with a simple mask. The water in the foreground has several shades of blue and some highlights from the sky colors.

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The underside shows the original colors of this piece of apple wood from a friend’s firewood pile.

Natural Edge Maple Burl Bowl

This bowl measures 13″ X 5″. Lots of inclusions and small burls sprouting beyond the edge. Zoom in and look closely. Tell me what you think!

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This bowl was cored out and the core was used to make a smaller bowl.

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After the turning and sanding, it was coated several layers of Danish Oil

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The Danish Oil brings out the grain in the wood

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The first 3 coats of Wipe-on-Poly went on quickly, followed by hand sanding with 400 grit

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Each subsequent coat of Wipe-on-Poly was followed with a finer grit of sand paper. 400, 500, 600, 800, 1200, 1500, 2000

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During the application of the Wipe-on-Poly and sanding, the texture becomes smoother and smoother.

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The final coat of Wipe-on-Poly is followed with an application of Conservator’s Wax

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The wax repels fingerprints and dust and makes the surface feel oh so good.

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This bowl begs to be picked up.

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Dyed Maple Platter

A maple platter with a small center bowl. 10″ X 1.5″.

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The center bowl was first dyed black, sanded and then dyed red.

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The rim was dyed red, sanded back and then dyed yellow.

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The edge around the rim was dyed black to make it stand out.

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The bead around the center was turned to a peak and left sharp.


Vases for Pat & Denise

The rectangular block was cut in half and one part was rounded, revealing a small knot and inclusion (the bark).


When the second half was rounded, it revealed this amazing figure. The depth of the waves was mesmerizing.


Here are the two forms basically shaped. Hollowing was next.


The inclusion became more pronounced with the shaping of the form1208868_1491654017721190_6588471321538376338_n

On this form, the figure became deeper and even more interesting all the time during the shaping


This is the finial that I designed previously with the addition of the bead near the bottom that replicates the shape of the form. The collar is made from Elm.


The same picture with the form turned a bit to show the other side.



The plug/finial removed. The plug is made from a small piece of dyed maple burl. The grove in the plug separates the dyed section from the bottom button


This is the form with more figure, completed with it’s collar, plug & finial. This plug stands a little higher than the other. They’re interchangeable so either finial can be mounted on either form.


The same form, turned a bit, showing off its figure.


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Lorna & Cathy’s Dolls

These were made as an order for two ladies I know. They run a really good deli that a group of us turners frequent. They gave me their selection of colours and gave me the reigns for design. I delivered them today.

The dolls are salt shakers _and_ pepper mills – one figure does both, no need to buy two. The salt is held in the head; tip her upside down and shake to dispense the salt. The pepper is held in the body; twist the head to grind the pepper and adjust the grind by turning the part on top.

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In her colour selections, Cathy suggested that if I could throw in some gold that’d be ok too so I did. The idea came to create a hat with a gold rim for her doll to wear. The hat needed a band (textured by burning) and a feather but how to make the feather solid so that daily handling wouldn’t affect it? Similar to the way that others have demonstrated, I embedded real feathers in epoxy, only I used a can for the form and molded the feather at an angle to give it some realistic curves. It’s actually two feathers layered together.

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Lorna showed me the colours she wanted in the design glazed in a small dish. The maple burl was fun to colour with my usual technique of adding multiple layers using special magic markers and blending them with alcohol. She said the colours are bang on. She also loves the effect in the flower on the doll’s dress. The way I textured it and painted it, each petal changes colours as you move the doll and view it from a different angle. The bow on top was turned on 4 surfaces and carved on the other two.

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Danny’s Goblets

These pics show the progress of making some goblets but the wood is the real story. It’s from BC’s oldest Tall Ship, Maple Leaf . The ship was originally built in 1904 for a Vancouver millionaire who used it for social functions and racing. Maple Leaf won many races and became very well known. Currently running eco-tour expeditions, Maple Leaf also serves as a training vessel for many of Canada’s young Sea Cadets. This wood came from Maple Leaf’s bow sprit. When the Bow sprit was damaged, I was commissioned to create some goblets. Be sure to read the comments after each of the pictures.

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This is after the first cut on the bandsaw, showing the size and the original finish on the wood as I received it. From this piece, I cut the blank for the goblet.

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No, this is not a loaf of bread. It’s the blank for the second goblet (I didn’t take pictures for the first blank). The two slices at the ends were cut to test for cracks. There were a lot of very tiny cracks in this wood.

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Part way through the process of making the blank round.

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This is the tenon that I cut to hold the blank securely in the chuck. Notice how cleanly the wood cuts. Normally Fir wood is very difficult to turn because it mostly tears apart, but the grain in this wood is so closely packed together that it cuts without any difficulty.

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Now the blank is round and mounted in the chuck. A little more rounding and the tailstock can be removed safely.

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Here you can see that the hollowing of the bowl section of the goblet is completed. Below the goblet is the tool that I mostly used for this process, a Robert Sorby Multi-Tip Hollowing tool with a shop made cutter installed.

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This is the shape of the outside of the goblet. Sanded.

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Here you can see that shaping of the stem has been started. Sanding is completed after each step.

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Here is the finished stem, complete with the base shape. You can also see that the tailstock has been brought back into use to stabilize the bowl section of the goblet. What you cannot see is the custom shop made part that fits inside the goblet to avoid marring the finish inside.

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Having completed the shaping of the goblet, the piece was turned around to finish turning the base. Here the shape is completed. The tiny cone shaped part remains to support the goblet through the sanding process.

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These are the first & second goblets. Two more to go. If you take a look at the grain on the one on the left, you’ll see that the growth rings are so tight that in some areas, there are nearly two growth rings per millimeter.

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These goblets are named according to the number of growth rings present in each.