Plenty of bowls in this tree

14 July 2012, Woodturning in practice, Would you like to leave a comment?

I’ve just discovered this huge spalted beech log, lying rather neglected in a field. There is an area of woodland nearby, where thinning works took place some years ago. Apparently, the trees were dragged out to be sold, but were left there and never dealt with.

Spalting is always a tricky one to get right. The fungus which attacks the tree, causing the dramatic colours, will eventually cause decay if left too long. I’m sure there must be a way of spotting the right pieces of wood, but they all look the same when they’re lying on the ground in a field covered in moss! I’ve spent many a day cutting up old beech trees only to find that the majority of the timber is unsalvageable.

spalted-beech-log.jpg

However, this time I think I’ve got it about right. After an initial cut with the chainsaw, I could see the distinctive markings and the timber was quite firm. The small log in the foreground of the photo seemed a bit soft, but I’m sure there will be something useable inside. All these pieces will be dragged out by a contractor and taken straight to my good friends at DF timber. With a bit of luck, the big piece will fit on their sawmill and be cut into slabs and boards. I will most likely chainsaw the odd sized pieces into bowl blanks ready for rough turning.

Lets hope I have struck it lucky this time and chosen some decent timber!

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