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Thread: An Ulu and Bowl for Toni

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM

    An Ulu and Bowl for Toni

    This is part flatwork and part turning, but flatwork won the coin toss, so I'm posting it here.

    As I mentioned in this thread, I needed a welcoming gift for Toni when he visited SoCal last weekend on the Tour de Wood. A couple of years ago, he sent me a piece of olive wood that he'd was on the side of the road, if I recall the story correctly. He said he had contemplated making something out of it, but didn't have any bright ideas, so I sent it to me in hopes I could make something nice out of it.

    Like him, I studied it for a long time, and couldn't come up with anything very remarkable to make out of it. Its size and shape would have allowed for a very small hollow form (maybe 3" or so in diameter), but I never felt convinced that's what it should be. So it sat. And sat. For a couple of years. All the while, I wanted to make something for Toni out of it, even though I knew his intent was for me to use it for myself instead.

    Fast forward to a month or so ago, and knowing the Tour was on its way to my house, I had to make up my mind. I finally decided to use the olive for the handle of an ulu knife, and turn a maple chopping bowl to go with it. I already had an ulu knife blank on hand (cryo-treated stainless steel, from Texas Knifemaker's Supply), and some wide 8/4 hard maple, so here's what I came up with...

    The handle of the knife is very simple, mirroring the shape of the blade. The dark stripe along the edge of the handle is three layers of thin sapelle veneer, added to the glue-up to compensate for the thickness of the blade. (It's actually about 2.25 thicknesses...I glued up three and sanded it down to the necessary thickness.) I used some more of my mosaic knife pin material, but the pins are a bit lost in all the nice wood figure.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Used in a kitchen, an ulu knife needs a chopping bowl to go with it. Most of the ones I've seen were simple blocks of wood with a bowl dished out in the middle. I wanted something a bit more curvy, so I made this...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It's intended for use, so it's sanded to 1200 grit and soaked in mineral oil. As it's used, it'll get scratched and gouged, but for now it's nice and smooth. (I didn't really need to sand it to 1200 grit...I got a bit carried away trying to make it smooth.)

    And here's the whole package...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I also had enough of the olive wood to make Toni a bottle stopper, but I failed to get pics of it. He scolded me for not making something for myself out of the olive, but I've still got two pen blanks left over from the little piece he sent, so those will be for me.

    Anyway, this knife and bowl are only small tokens of my appreciation for the fact that Toni and the rest of the Tour boys came to visit. They made for one of the best weekends I've had in a long time.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Fantastic Vaughn!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Oliver Springs, TN
    That's great Vaughn, that olive wood is something else.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Folks, I have held the knife and the bowl in my hands and I must say that Vaughn has done a fantastic job. I could tell by the expressions on Toni's face that he was really proud to receive the gift. Anyone would be.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    That wood is just wonderful. Great craftsmanship and style on those pieces.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    Who Knew Vaughn was a knife maker as well!

    That's a great way to turn an unused knife into something special!
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    DSM, IA
    Great unique gift Vaughn...Well Done!
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Central Illinois
    Nicely done, Vaughn.

    Bruce Shiverdecker - Retired Starving Artist ( No longer a Part timer at Woodcraft, Peoria, Il.)

    "The great thing about turning is that all you have to do is remove what's not needed and you have something beautiful. Nature does the hard part!"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Southeast Pa
    That's beautiful!

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