• Roger Waterhouse

Woodlice and laurels

A week ago I had a phone call from a tree surgeon who had been doing some work at Sutton Scarsdale. He'd been pruning a yew of some quite large branches and was phoning to see if I wanted any. Of course I said yes, and went over to Callow to collect them. It was a living tree and the branches were newly felled, so were very heavy. I rough turned a couple of bowls from the more interesting pieces, both of which had rot holes down the centre. It doesn't often happen when turning that when you switch off the lathe a couple of wood lice crawl out looking dazed, but it happened on both these pieces. One was more extensively rotted than the other, so the rough bowl looks like this. We'll see how it dries out, but I'm not very hopeful.

Chris, the tree surgeon, also offered me a piece of 'cherry laurel' which had been felled some time. The only laurel I have turned before was small diameter and cream throughout, so I was interested to see what this would be like. It was stunning, with rich orange heartwood and pale cream sap. I turned two bowls, the first using the centre line as the top of the bowl, the other using the waney edge. Of course, the latter was much more difficult, but if you like that sort of thing (and many people do), much more dramatic.

This is the log.

This is turning with the centre line at the top - the outside appearing.

And this its the inside.

This is turning with the waney edge at the top.

And this is the rough turned inside.

The moisture content of the wood was 23%. We'll see what it looks like when it's down to about 9%.

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