• Roger Waterhouse

Not a mulberry bush

Last year I had the chance to buy a hefty plank of mulberry. This was no bush. It was a piece of a tree 17 inches in diameter, and the plank was 3 1/2 inches thick.The heartwood was a glorious deep brown. the sapwood was whitish grey, and the bark was spectacularly encrusted with burrs and deep crevasses.

I'd never seen mulberry wood before, and certainly never turned it, so I couldn't resist. It sat in my workshop, but I couldn't decide what to do with it. I wanted to make a bowl, but it would have to be a shallow dish. But more importantly, I wanted to show the contrast between heart and sapwood, and the incredible bark. So I actually cut out a blank which incorporated all these features.

Turning it wasn't easy. the heartwood was hard, the sapwood soft, and the bark crumbly. But I managed it reasonably well. The result is below - the plank, and then the bowl.

My disappointment was in the colour of the heartwood. It's much yellower than

the sawn plank was. I'm just assuming that light and the exposure to the air will darken the wood over time. We shall see.

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