The Plum Tree Lamp

As a result of some of this year's storm damage, many folks lost their favorite trees.  One of our clients brought in a couple sections of two different trees lost in their yard, one a plum tree and the other a dogwood tree.  She asked if I could make a bowl from each of the tree sections.

Due to the damage, the plum tree came apart in two sections.  There really wasn't enough wood to turn a bowl.  However, after a good sanding to remove all the sharp bark and a coat of epoxy, I was able to drill a hole through the center of one half and create a stunning rustic lamp!


Shown above is half of the plum tree section.  I had to remove the lichens when sanding the roughness off the bark.  The finished lamp base I was looking for was to be less rustic than the photo here.  I felt it would be more suited to a home environment.


Here is the finished lamp!  I did not have a "before" picture of this half of the lamp base.  The first picture shown is of the other half.




Dogwood Bowl

The dogwood was another story.  I turn lots of "green" wood (wet wood) and the first rule isnot to include the pith (tree's center) in the turning.  Although the pith is the trees center, it rarely is in the center of the tree.  Trees in a forest where all the trees are getting the same amount of light, grow round with the pith in the center, while trees that are exposed to sun and wind will grow elliptical.  With this dogwood tree, even though one side of the tree bulged out more than its other half, there still was barely enough wood past the pith to turn a bowl of any size.  It started out as two trees growing so close together they looked like one tree.  They were separated by a thin layer of bark with a dark diamond at its center.  I thought it would be so cool to include a dark triangle on the bowl's edge.  I also promised to finish these pieces for Christmas gifts which limited me in the time I had to dry the bowl.  Maybe if I were able to put the bowl away in an airless box for 3 months, I might have been able to avoid such a large crack.

With the second bowl I was able to avoid the pith.  As I dried the bowl it became elliptical in shape but not enough to hurt the bowl but rather adding a degree of interest.  By placing the bowl in the microwave and lightly heating and cooling it, weighting it after each cooling, the bowl was dry when the weight remained constant.

My client was very happy to receive a beautiful bowl and table lamp just in time for her husband's Christmas gifts!  They will bring lasting, pleasant memories of their favorite trees.  She has commissioned me to make a trencher bowl (long carved bowl) out of the other plum tree half as well as trusting me to do something unusual with the cracked bowl.  It should be interesting . . .stay tuned!