More fantastic yew

12 January 2012, Woodturning in practice, Would you like to leave a comment?

I’ve struck it lucky and have been offered a really nice tree. This yew had been felled due to building works and was lying in the middle of a lawn. As you can see from the pictures, it has that lovely irregular bark shape that adds so much character to woodturnings.

Felled yew tree

Like most trees that happen to fall down in this vicinity, it was of little match to my chainsaw and within a few hours produced a splendid pile of bowl sized chunks of wood! There will definitely be a few ‘biggies’ in there and some of them will be natural edge ones.

There is very little cracking through the centre of the tree (or heart shake, to those who prefer the jargon) which can reduce the amount of timber which is useable. These cracks have an annoying tendency to radiate outwards and leave only a few inches of decent timber from the outside of an otherwise large tree. There are however, plenty of knots and holes and the timber itself has beautiful purple streaks running through, which are not always present in yew.. I think it's obvious I like this tree!

All of this pile will be rough turned over the next couple of weeks and then dried for a good eight months or so - watch this space for developments. In the meantime, I will soon be finishing some bowls which were sourced from some yew I collected last year. Quite a few of them will have natural edges, some of them being quite big. Keep an eye on the website for details...

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…
    - Jonathan Leech