turned cherry wood bowl

Turned Cherry Bowl

On one of my early morning walks one summer morning in 2002 I spied a cherry tree which had fallen in a summer storm. It was not more than the equivalent of three blocks from where I was living in the Peace Palace in Lexington, Kentucky, which housed the Transcendental Meditation activities for the city.

The land had formerly been a horse farm in the bluegrass region. On it had been some of the largest and finest cherry trees it had been my privilege to see.

There was rot in the stump and that is why it fell but the rest of the tree was completely sound. I inquired of the office that oversaw the research park if I could have the tree and was delighted when I was given written authority to exclusive rights to the entire tree if I hauled it away. They rejected my offer to be paid for my efforts but said the wood was mine.

I think it was Woody Allen who said that eighty percent of winning is just showing up. Since no one else showed up for the wood, I won. That meant that I had to go and purchase a chain saw as I had been without one for over a decade. I ended up with the second to largest saw that Sthil makes. It is a real bear to start but once going, look out. It chewed that cherry into bite sized chunks in short order.

This bowl came from one of those bite sized chunks. First the ends were painted with wax sealer to retard checking or cracking of the ends due to unequal drying. Then it was stacked in a warehouse to cure for several years.

Next it was moved with me when I left Kentucky and came to the Baltimore area. There it sat in a storage facility for a year until I located another shop which was generously provided by a man to whom I taught the TM technique. He has a construction business and had some room in his warehouse which he has let me use. I am so fortunate to have this because I can see in a single glance all my wood and this piece caught my eye and evolved into the bowl you see above.

So seeing it reminds me of that hot day in July when I cut up this wood and with a wonderful friend, hauled it to the warehouse to begin the drying process. They say wood dries about an inch a year so the delay in getting to it was just about right to ensure that it was completely dry when I worked it. So, in all, the process took about six years.