Red Oak Hollow

Woodturning, a joyful hobby making round things out of wood

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Special Turnings

The birth of a very special heirloom

Remember that special tree from your childhood? We all had one. You used to climb it, or swing on it, or your tree house was built in it? Or you have a favorite tree now standing next to your home which the kids climbed and played under when they were little. What do you do when a storm knocks it over or old age or disease means it has to be taken down? The memories do not have to be lost with the tree.

I can help preserve those memories by creating something new from a part of your tree, something which you can use now and which you can pass along to your family in the future.

Ten bowls from a special tree which lost a major branch in a storm. Click on picture for more info.

I will come to your home in Northern Virginia, cut a portion of the fallen tree, and make a keepsake from which it can be remembered, admired, used, and passed along to subsequent generations. This is a great way to preserve the memories of that favorite tree and pass along something special to other members of the family who also enjoyed it so all can share those favorite memories.

Frequently Asked Questions about creating such an heirloom:

Do I call a tree company? Yes. Removal of the tree is still the homeowner's responsibility. I may want to take several pieces of the tree, but will not do actual felling or removal.

How should the tree guys cut up the tree? If you will contact me, I will try to come when the tree people come to take the tree down and remove it. If I am unable to do so, please ask the tree removal company to cut some of the larger branches into lengths which are twice as along as they are wide. If they can cut out two, three, or more forks from branches which are 12" to 14" wide, the grain structure will usually make a very attractive piece.

How does the homeowner preserve the wood until the woodturner comes? It is important to preserve the wood to prevent significant splitting while the wood dries. If you call right away, I will give you information on preservation of the wood if I am unable to come within a few days. Usually, I can come the same day the tree removal specialists take the tree down. If my arrival will be delayed, then I will ask you to paint the cut ends of the pieces of wood with regular latex paint to help control splitting.

How much does this service cost? Bowls and trays made from wood of your favorite tree will generally run about $35 to $125, primarily depending on size. Most bowls of about 12" in diameter will be in the $85 range.

It usually takes about a year or so to make a bowl. Once I get the wood home, I paint the ends with end grain sealer, a waxy substance which helps even out the drying process, hopefully minimizing splitting in the ends of the log. As soon as I can, I will rough-turn a bowl shape to about an inch or so thick, coat it inside and out with that end grain sealer, and set it aside for several months to a year or more to dry out. I then will remount the piece on the lathe and turn it to final shape and thickness, sand it, finish it, and buff it out with a couple of grits of buffing compound and then a final coat of carnauba wax. You are welcome to come to the shop, er, Studio, to watch any or all of that process.

If you think that you may be interested at some future time because of current concerns about a favorite tree, please ask me for a brochure and I will mail one out to you right away. See the page entitled Contact with Red Oak Hollow.