Sap glass

This week we drove past a boulevard where they were cutting down a whole row of Russian Olive trees! I couldn’t just pass up all that beautiful wood, so we asked a friend to come help us and we got two full carloads of wood. I think I’m going to be turning this stuff for the next ten years … there’s so much of it!

While I was working on organizing the wood, I noticed something interesting. The sap was oozing out from under the bark, and drying in the coolest shapes. It looked like glass work! I just had to get Anni to take some pictures of it.

So cool! Have you ever seen that happen before?


Rescuing Wood

A few weeks ago a lady asked me to take down two of her black walnut trees. Her house is by the river, and will be removed because it is in the flood zone. The trees would have been destroyed with the house, and she didn’t want the wood wasted. I was very glad she called me!

Black walnut is prized for its dark heartwood. Historically it was used for gun-stocks, among other things. I’ve never used black walnut before, so I’m excited to see how the dark wood turns out.

After cutting the wood, I painted the ends of the logs with end-grain sealer to keep it from cracking.

I’m looking forward to using this beautiful heap of wood during the winter!


Recently my uncle gave me some Ebony wood!

It’s very rare to have a whole log of Ebony, most of the time you have to buy it in small pieces.

Ebony is a very dense hardwood. It’s so heavy that it sinks in water!

Traditionally, piano keys and the black pieces in chess sets were made out of ebony, while the white pieces were made out of ivory.

Tip: The log had a few small cracks in it, so I used melted candle wax to seal it. I had to use wax because I wasn’t at home, and didn’t have my end-grain sealer that I normally use. This was the only thing I could think of to keep it from cracking more. It seemed to work well.

A few weeks ago, I cut up the log into manageable pieces. I’ll have to plan and use them very carefully! I’m very excited to be able to use such a special kind of wood.


A burl is a round growth that sticks out of a tree. Burls are beautiful and somewhat rare. The grain is crazy, filled with hundreds are dark ‘eyes’.

No one knows exactly what causes burls, but they know it has to do with the tree undergoing some kind of stress. It can be from an injury, bugs, virus, mold etc. Almost all burls are covered in bark. Burls can grow on branches, tree trunks, and even underground. One of the biggest known burls was found around 1984 in the small town of Tamworth, New South Wales. It stands 6.4 ft tall, and has a weird shape almost like a trombone.

I like turning with burls for the simple fact that they are beautiful. I bought this Black Ash burl from “the burl guy”, and turned it into a bowl. “The burl guy” comes to our woodturning club a few times each year with a pick-up load of burls.

This bowl was a challenging shape to turn, because it’s not totally round.

Even though it was challenging, I love the way this bowl turned out. If you set it on its side, you can imagine the tree trunk growing up with the burl sticking out of it. I love the natural look.

Here you can see the ‘eyes’ and amazing wood grain.

This bowl is for sale here:

[Edit: This bowl is now sold]

At the moment I have a lot of burls waiting on my shelf to be turned. I can’t wait to get my hands on them!