Huge burr elm bowl blank...

30 May 2017, Woodturning in practice, Would you like to leave a comment?

Over the past few months I’ve been mainly sorting through elm, cutting it down to size and rough turning the useable sections. Although I’ve discovered some really nice pieces of burr amongst my stack of timber, this one is certainly special…

Having pulled out yet another huge lump from the pile, I was taken aback by such a large area of burr covering one side – at over two feet across, it was unlike anything I’d seen before! After much consideration, I decided (or hoped!) this would make a stunning natural edge piece, since the edge was completely free from defects. The delicate spikes, which are so indicative of burr, can easily be broken off after being handled by heavy machinery.

After some careful chain sawing and grinding, I cut the blank down to size. Here’s the faceplate being fitted…


Lifting and mounting it on the lathe needed two people – it almost fills the workshop!...



Turning it was a challenge and required a lot of caution. Due to the irregular shape, the lathe had to be running very slow. This was a little frustrating at times, but I got there in the end…


The top image shows the finished blank, roughed out ready for drying. At 25 inches across, it’s a truly remarkable piece. There’s some gorgeous colours visible and loads of swirly grain. However, the true highlight is the spiky outer edge…


I’ll be posting some more photo’s when it’s dry and about to be finished…

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.

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  • Hi Chris,
    It's great you've got some yew coming in - as you can probably…
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