Turning Archive 2007

Buckeye Dilemma

Bill Clark
>After years of flat wood woodworking Iíve started seriously turning. Up to this point Iíve been working on bowls from small logs and making segmented bowls. This last week I was able to purchase a buckeye root ball/burl cluster. The person I bought it from advised me to not cut the root ball into small bowl size pieces. He advised me to only cut what I needed for each bowl at the time I was ready to turn. He also gave me some other advice that seems to be conflicting. He stated the blue color that is usually found in buckeye will migrate from the surface down into the wood with age and to let the wood ďseasonĒ to obtain the color. But he also stated the wood inside would rot 3 or 4 years after being harvested and would become worthless.

This is my first exposure to burl wood in such a large piece and I donít want to loose it. Since I donít know how long ago the wood was harvested my dilemma is how to proceed. The wood appears to be fairly sound now. Do I go ahead and cut it up, seal it to prevent cracking or cut only what I need over the next year or two? Another option is to cut off a fairly large chunk that will make a couple of bowls and look at the condition inside and assume the rest of the root ball is the same? I could also cut up the wood, rough turn it into bowls and then soak them in DNA and wrap them up. I donít know how buckeye responds to DNA and what affect it will have on the color.

As you can see I have a lot of options and little experience to make a decision. From following the posts on the forum itís obvious many of you have a great deal of experience working root balls and burls. Any advice you can give me would be very helpful.

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