Birch burl adventures

Brandon Sloan

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One of the local loggers said he had a burl for me to come look at. I couldn’t get there fast enough. I gladly paid him his asking price of $50 bucks. I haven’t decided what to do with it yet. I cut the log in half so I could move it out of the driveway.

I’ll update this thread with my adventures with this burl starting tomorrow.

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Brandon Sloan

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I woke up this morning and the first thought on my mind was “I wonder if it’s okay to run my chainsaw this early” I resisted.

Birch trees this big are hard to come by up here. They grow very slow. The non burl side is going to give me two blanks that should finish at close to 17”

The plan is to get the non burl blanks roughed out first. While I’m doing that, I’ll make a decision on the burl. I’m not sure if I’m going to just use as much as my lathe will hold, or cut it up into smaller blanks. Leaning towards going big. I’ll post some pics.
 

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Now the fun begins, I left this blank pretty large. It’s easier for me to remove material on the lathe. Just sucks when the bark comes flying off. That’s what the face shield is for.

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Brandon Sloan

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I only roughed out one blank today, life got in the way. I can’t do any more wood turning until I clean up the shavings. Since this adventure isn’t about me roughing out a boring bowl or cleaning up shavings, I decided to cut into the burl and save the cleaning for the morning.

I went through the typical worry of where to start cutting and how to maximize usable burl. If you are cutting into a burl for the first time, don’t fret over these details. Just start cutting, it’s really hard to mess it up and whatever size or shape you end up with will still get turned into something awesome. Now for some pictures. Looks like she’s going to be a beauty!! I ended up with 4 nice size pieces. One 5”x4” one 5”x6” and a piece that is 8”x6” those three are 16” long. The bowl blank is 18” x 16” and 6”at its thickest. Tomorrow we start turning burl!

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Brandon Sloan

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Didn’t get much done today. Roughed one of the spindles and started to give it some shape. It’s 16” right now. I’m going to loose about 5” because I’m attaching a face plate and I can’t really hollow past 12”. I have a shape in mind that will go good with the void on the headstock side, plus taking 5” out of the tail stock end will remove the void that is on that end. I forgot to get pictures of the blank before turned.

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Brandon Sloan

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I parted off enough material to get to the point at which the diameter was 3 1/2” so that my smallest faceplate would fit. I got it remounted and started to drill out some of the inside. The old forstner bit was not very successful. Went and bought a new bit. 2 1/8” is the sweet spot for me. It gives the chuck 1/16” clearance and allows me to drill deeper without any extensions. I drilled 10” deep leaving 1/2” of material on the bottom. I like to leave at least 1/2” on the bottom to give me a little flexibility in case I need to alter the base or my hollowing tools take off a little on the bottom. I’m using the simple hollowing system with the 5/8” adapter. The cutters are Trent Bosch. My straight cutter ran out of cutting surface and needs to be replaced. I ended up doing all of the hollowing with the bent tool. I left it a little thick so I can refine it when the new cutter arrives. I kept the design simple, no need to take away from the woods natural beauty. I’ll do a little CA on a few knots that showed up and wait for the new cutter to arrive.

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tmar

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I was looking and looking at your pics wondering how that one post that the hollower is mounted on could support the arm deep in that burl... then I saw the last pic with the tool rest and I figgered it out. :cool: Can't wait to see the finished product...
 

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@Brandon Sloan , Brandon, remind me, weren't you cleaning our getting ready to move?????????????????????????????????????????

Gorgeous work; don't worry, I'm just a jerk...….I would have done exactly what you did....under the cover of darkness so the Mrs didn't catch me!!
 

Brandon Sloan

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@Brandon Sloan , Brandon, remind me, weren't you cleaning our getting ready to move?????????????????????????????????????????

Gorgeous work; don't worry, I'm just a jerk...….I would have done exactly what you did....under the cover of darkness so the Mrs didn't catch me!!
I’m guilty of getting sidetracked. The wife wasn’t happy, I have a laundry list of things to do for our move. But seriously, how could I resist.
 

Brandon Sloan

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I found the 1/2” adapter for my hollowing system and was able to use the round carbide cutter that came with the system to thin and smooth the inside. Since I was set up to hollow, I worked on some other pieces that were in various stages of finish. The burl needs a few days to dry, the other pieces are ready for a finish. Productive day on the lathe.

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Brandon Sloan

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The big piece of burl I had is finished on the lathe. I’ll still do a little sanding and finish it when it’s dry. The biggest take away from this project is that I shouldn’t get attached to a piece of wood. I did a lot of second guessing and worrying, but at the end of the day, it’s just a piece of wood. Happy with the results though. Here’s some pictures.

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