The dreaded lacewood bowl!


“That’s beautiful!” I said as I greedily grabbed the block of wood off the store shelf.

“That’s lacewood,” my husband proudly explained, having spotted the label before I did.

I stood in the middle of the aisle turning the block over and over in my hands for several minutes. I had to examine every inch of the block from every angle. I just knew it would make something so magnificent even in my inexperienced hands.

“Did you decide what to make out of that block?” my husband asked as he helped me mount it to the chuck on the lathe the next day.

“A plate,” I said, nodding my head as if confirming the decision.

“A plate. Not a bowl?”

“A plate. A nice wide, shallow plate.”

My husband shook his head disapprovingly but he didn’t say anything. The block was a six by two inch chunk. To make a plate I would be throwing away a lot of wood. A waste, he thought.

I put my turning jacket on and selected my chisel while my husband made the final adjustments to the chuck. I then stood behind him, chisel in hand, biting my lip nervously, waiting for him to move out of the way.

The rounding process didn’t seem to go as smoothly as we expected (pardon the pun fellow wood turners). I started with my recently honed roughing gouge and had to move to my husband’s. This wood was was winning, beating even the best chisel in the garage!

It finally became round, but it took three chisels, about 2 hours, and all my strength, not to mention stamina and patience.

“I think we need to call it a night,” I told my husband as I turned off the lathe one last time to check my minute progress.

“Perhaps you’re right, dear,” he conceded. “I think lacewood needs to be added to the evil wood list.”

I nodded my head heartily in agreement and we went inside for the night.

The block, still attached to the chuck plate sat on top of the shelf for the whole week. It glared a dare at each of us when we got home each night. Each of us glared back, knowing the block was winning.

Finally the weekend came around again. Once again the cars were moved around from the garage and driveway in an automobile sized game of chess, each car needing to be carefully placed so as to make room in the garage for wood turning and not obstruct the flow of traffic in the street. A task my husband so expertly performs each weekend that I leave the job to him.

The garage was now set up, but I was preoccupied with another more pressing project to complete and declined the offer of turning.

No matter. My husband wanted a crack at that lacewood! He would not let a piece of wood win!

My husband is quite a few inches taller than I am and we bought me my own lathe set ideally for my petite stature. Still this was the lathe my husband wanted to use. “I can attack it from all angles on yours, unlike mine,” he said and set about to tame the mocking piece of dead tree.

I sat down in the garage with my iPad to work on my writing project. This was so I could be supportive of either victor in this new battle of wills.

Once again my husband used a variety of chisels, some he had to sharpen and hone right before using, to complete his task.

It was all worth it in the end. Rubbed generously with tung oil, the bowl sits happily belying it’s strong will and the hard work it took to bring out the object we knew lay within.

Notice it’s a bowl, not a plate. There would have been way too much wood wasted to make it into a plate I rightly reasoned.



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. legoyamato
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 20:57:07

    Oh come on, the bowl turned out pretty good.


  2. makergoddess
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 21:25:16

    I didn’t say it turned out bad, just commented on the trials and tribulations it took to get to that beautiful outcome.


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