Birch burl bowl

Birch burl bowl 008 Birch burl bowl 005 Birch burl bowl 006


A couple years ago a fellow woodworker gave me two burls because I mentioned that I enjoy carving them into natural form bowls. This burl was still green when I got it. I would work on it every now and then, being careful not to remove too much material since it was still drying.

At first it looked like an ordinary burl. The bark was so thick you really couldn’t tell how much character it had. I started carving the inside first using a 1” Kutzall carbide sphere in a die grinder. Within the first couple minutes I knew this was something special. It was full of bird’s eyes! I had never seen bird’s eyes in birch before. I then switched to smaller Kutzall bits to remove the rest of the material.

The outside of the bowl was cleaned in a variety of ways. The bark was removed with a carving knife and palm gouges. It was extremely difficult to predict where the high spots would be, so I had to work carefully. The inner bark that remained was removed with the carving knife, gouges, and a Dremel wire wheel.

I spent HOURS sanding both the inside and outside with pieces of belt sander belts. I watched a lot of movies in the evenings with that bowl in my lap. In addition to hand sanding, I used some abrasive Dremel wheels. More sanding…

The finish is Minwax Tung Oil wiping varnish. I can’t remember how many coats I put on. I didn’t want the super thick plastic looking finish. The finish is thin, but it is high gloss and glass smooth.

This is one of those projects I’ll never sell or give away. I just have too many hours invested in it.

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