Texas Madrone and Turquoise "Bullet Hole" Bowl

Fellow Craftisian Duckmilk gave me a chunk of Texas madrone from his cousin's place in New Mexico. It had been sitting in the desert sun for a while and looked a little rough, including a hole that runs through the center.

I decided to try to turn something and it seems like I spent a couple of hours trying to visualize a way to find a section big enough to turn a small bowl.  Rather than cut it down to avoid the holes and checks, I decided to use the wood's flaws as features.  I cut a flat side on my band saw and mounted a face plate and started turning.


After initial shapping I was getting pretty excited about how beautiful this wood was turning out to be.  While hollowing, the black area around the hollow core sounded like I was cutting glass.  I kept stopping to make sure that there were not any rocks or something embedded in the wood.  Might have just been some sap but could have had some find sand or something stuck to it too.  I took lots of pictures for Duckmilk, just in case it came apart on me in the process.  

I left it a little thicker than I normally would because it was looking too good to risk getting a catch and having it explode because of all of the cracks and flaws.  I also decided to leave a little of the patina on the rim partially for the same reason but also to preserve some of its original condition.  Final shape after a little sanding before adding the inlay.  

After getting mostly the shape I wanted, I filled the cracks that were large enough with turquoise using CA.   I usually use a Dremel with a carbide burr to level and smooth the turquoise inlay.  I cannot bring myself to use my bowl gouge for that.  It is then remounted to do the final sanding to smooth the turquoise and remove CA dribbles.   

After doing a little more sanding I mounted it backwards to remove the tenon for the chuck.  That was a scary 5 minutes because I had to just use a jam chuck for that.  I normally would have used a friction finish but the holes make that difficult to apply so it is finished with shellac which turned out a little too shiny so I buffed it with some paste wax using an abrasive pad to give it more of a satin finish.

Thanks for looking.  

--Nathan, TX. Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.


That little bowl is amazing, some great flaws with just the right color.

Main Street to the Mountains

Nice way to work around the flaws.  Turquoise looks real good.
wow thats beautiful nathan.

working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

It's defects like these that make the object special, I feel your fear!
Great use of the natural contours and flaws of the wood. The turquoise is a great touch. Very nice. 

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Yeah, I’m pretty sure I would’ve sprayed that all over my shop along the way. You’re a better man than I, Gunga Nathan!

May you have the day you deserve!

Cool looking defect in the bowl. It looks like it has a eye looking at you. Nice work.
 It looks like it has a eye looking at you. 
I guess I should have inset one of these glass dragon eyes we made just for fun a few years ago. 

--Nathan, TX. Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

i bet that was not to fun to turn you have done a GR8 JOB 😍😎👍


I had almost forgotten about that one Nathan. When I gave it to you, I didn't have much faith in it turning into anything. Beautiful work.

"Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

Great job although hazardous.  Ha..

daveg, SW Washington & AZ

Thanks Daveg.

--Nathan, TX. Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

Spectacular! Great job! 
Thanks Buck.  

--Nathan, TX. Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.