Cutting up the ash tree...

17 January 2016, Woodturning in practice, Would you like to leave a comment?

Back in October, I cut down a large ash tree as part of some local thinning work. Since then, I’ve been gradually processing the timber and now have a good selection of bowl blanks…

The tree measured about 2’ 6” diameter at the base, which enabled me to get some fairly decent sized chunks. I then worked along with my chainsaw, making sure to get a good variety of blanks – I try to avoid discarding the smaller pieces, which could be useful later on.

The top image shows the first few slabs I cut from the tree. These were then chainsawed into round blanks on site – the more mess I make outside, the less I need to sweep up!  In the photo below, most of the main trunk has gone. The piece marked up in the foreground, should make two large platters with rippled grain...


One of the larger chunks marked up, ready for cutting into slabs. The key is to avoid the heart, which is often full of cracks...


The first batch of blanks, ready for mounting on the lathe...


Here's some of the larger ones roughed out and drying. They should be ready in about eight months time...


Jonathan Leech

Written by Jonathan Leech

Jonathan Leech is a woodturner working and living in Cumbria. He specialises in making bowls, dishes and platters from local sustainably sourced timber. Read more or about Jonathan or see a selection of his work.

Your comments

  1. Gravatar of Chris
    Chris27 January 2016 19:50

    I enjoy reading your posts, seeing the progress and being inspired by your work.
    I wondered, do you rough the bowls out using a coring system?
    Also, do you seal the wood in any way before drying?

  2. Gravatar of Jonathan Leech
    Jonathan Leech28 January 2016 21:18

    Hi Chris,
    I'm so pleased you enjoy reading my blog. I have the McNaughton hollowing system, but have only used it a handful of times. It's a great system, but more suited to mass hollowing of salad bowls (in my opinion, only!). The majority of the pieces I turn have quite dramatic natural edges and seem to require the gouge for the whole turning process.
    I don't seal my wood, but have a very cool place for drying. I do most of my roughing out between November and February, so the the wood is almost dry before the summer heat arrives.
    All the best with the turning!

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