Woodturning the spring green

The tree had to be removed, so Roger kindly suggested I might find some use for the cherry wood!


Tree harvesting for woodturning is normally best when the tree is dormant in autumn or winter and doesn’t hold as much water. Then it’s best to cut it into slabs and leave the wood a good number of months to dry naturally (or if you need to speed things up, dry in a kiln). This allows the moisture in the wood to evaporate and finish warping before the woodturning fun starts.

Then there’s the green woodturning method, which means taking freshly cut wood and quite literally going with the flow.

Cherry trree section

Back in the workshop, I took a section of the 10-inch (25-cm) diameter trunk and marked where I wanted to round it off.

Wood mounted on faceplate

Even after removing the corners, the piece only just fits the lathe; next I securely mounted the faceplate to interface to the lathe.

Wood mounted on lathe

It still looks like a piece of tree here, but that will soon change.

Shavings flying off the lathe

It’s much quicker to turn wet, flexible wood as you can make deeper cuts. The shavings come off in long strips (a bit like grating cheese!) and the moisture is released into the air like a spring shower. The base of the bowl is starting to become visible underneath the bark.


From tree stump to turned bowl in under a day- then leaving the bowl to “set” and warp all in its own time – here’s what it currently looks like, around four hours later. The bowl was still cool and damp to the touch when I finished turning and over the remainder of the afternoon the thin sides around the heart of the tree already started buckling irregularly. Over the next few days the thin bowl walls will continue to dry out and shrink and warp in whichever directions the sap leads it – art taking on a life of its own. I’ll probably post a photo of the final shape next week, all hand sanded and polished for the final touch.


  1. Op de foto’s zie ik een gekloofd stuk stam. Heb je dat weer in 2 stukken gezaagd en tegen elkaar gelijmd zodat het weer een ronde schijf is geworden?. Wat is het doel van het kloven, of heb ik de uitleg niet goed begrepen. Het lijkt me dat het stuk bij de wortel erg warrig is Ik ben benieuwd naar de vervormingen. Wat er ook een de hand is, we zien dat je er mooi weer bij hebt. Groeten.

    1. Kijk, je ziet de cirkel op de halve stam, zo word de schaal rond. Niets te lijmen En het bovenste stuk van de stam, met al die vertakkingen, dat zit op de brandstapel.
      En ja, hier is het zomer. Nu ook weer 25 graden, blauwe lucht.

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