Mystery Wood

While wandering through a yard waste drop-off site recently, I found two log sections that I thought might be made into turning blanks. I am not very good at identifying wood species by bark, so I was at a loss as to what species these two logs were.

The moment I started cutting up the first log, I knew it was basswood — its pungent, swampy smell is a dead giveaway. I formed a bowl blank from the log and started turning. It was so wet that water was flying off the blank and running down my turning tools. Unfortunately, turning that wet basswood was a disaster. I could not get a clean cut. Guess I’ll have to wait for it to dry for a while.

Maple and basswood bowls

Moving on to the next log, I harvested a couple of very nice bowl blanks and mounted one on the lathe. Mystery log #2 was soft maple. The green blank turned like butter, and I was happy with the resulting bowl. Above are my two attempts, with the maple bowl on the left. Mystery solved, and I really enjoyed an afternoon of woodturning! I hope you are spending some time on your lathe these days too.

Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal

P.S. Speaking of woodturning … did you know that Woodworker’s Journal magazine has a regular Woodturning column? Our new Jul/Aug issue features a plan for a wood-turned, kid-sized bowling game. If you’re not already, subscribe now for expert advice from leading woodworkers, shop tips, plans and more!

July/August 2022 What’s in Store Roundup

Kreg large panel carrying device

Take a closer look at the tools featured in the July/August 2022 issue, including offerings from Rockler, ISOtunes and Kreg.

Project: Firewood Table Lamp

Turned firewood table lamp

The American Association of Woodturners’ Rick Rich explains how you can turn a couple of pieces of scrap firewood and pre-packaged hardware into an attractive table lamp.

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