Dyed Box Elder Footed Bowl

Dyed Box Elder Bowl with Carved Feet

I have often been asked how long it took me to make a certain piece and this is by far the one that has taken the most of my time. The wood came from a friend’s back yard not far from me.

When it was first turned from a wet block of Box Elder, the grain was muted giving it the appearance of being extremely plain. After a few months of further drying, I returned it to my lathe and turned it again to the resulting form. I initially carved three feet on the bottom but their shape wasn’t impressive. The piece sat unfinished for months while the shape of the feet was re-thought.

The bowl returned to my fascination after a few inspiring classes and I realized that there was a lot of figure hidden in the nearly invisible grain. I resolved to refine the shape of the 3 feet and when I finished that, I knew that the next step was to dye the piece.

The work I had done with dyes to date always begins with dark colours first, so I began with a coat of black. I then sanded it by hand for 4 hours to reveal the wood where the dye did not soak in as much. I had to be very careful not to sand off the black dye from the rim area. The sanding was followed by a generous coat of red dye which only coloured the areas where the previous sanding revealed the wood completely.

Finishing the bowl included the usual liberal coat of oil and 9 coats of wipe on poly.