My parents recently had some large trees chopped down at the lake. The roots were interfering with the house so they had to go. And the tree removal crew cut the trunks into a bunch of lovely stumps. I swooned when I saw them. And then I tried to figure out how many I could get home in the back of the car and just what I could do with them.
In the end we only brought home half a stump.
Caleb already knew what he was going to make with the block so he and my Dad used a chainsaw to remove the bark and get it down to the smallest size possible for the trip home. It was basically just a blank slab of wood.
Still REALLY heavy so Dad showed up with a wheelbarrow to help get it to the car. Caleb’s back is thankful. Caleb’s wife is also thankful.
After we got the piece home, Caleb made a few more guide line cuts with the chainsaw. Then the real work started.
In case you are wondering how long it takes to chisel a bowl by hand, the answer is I lost count after 20 hours.
Caleb hollowed out the middle of the bowl in layers. He used the chainsaw to make shallow guide line cuts, then the chisel to knock out the wood. Sweep up the sawdust and repeat. Many times.
During this phase we made a small mountain of oak chunks and curls in the garage. It smelled amazing out there.
This bowl was a labor of love. That’s all I can say. A LOT of work. When we had the inside sufficiently chiseled out, Caleb spent another few hours sanding the bowl inside and out. Then we soaked the whole thing in denatured alcohol to dry out the wood and prevent it from cracking. I don’t have pictures of that part because, well it just looked like a bowl in a trash bag full of liquid. The garage smelled pretty bad during that phase. Yuck.
After the wood was dried out and sealed with a few coats of oil…
It’s smooth and round, and perfectly imperfect the way only a handmade object can be. I’d like to say this is the first of many bowls, but I sort of doubt he’ll ever do something like this again without the help of additional power tools.
I’ll just have to hang on to this one forever.