Waste Not, Want Not - Limiting Waste in Woodturning

Wood shavings

In the world of woodturning, there is no such thing as a useless piece of wood. One of our goals at 623 Woodworks is to make the most of every piece of wood we that come across. Through careful planning and some good old fashioned ingenuity we avoid being wasteful. 

A perfect example of limiting waste would be in the creation of large bowls. Wooden bowls, 14 inches or larger in diameter are a popular item. In order to turn a 14 inch bowl, the tree we start with has to be at least 15 inches in diameter. This size bowl will generally end up being between 5 - 8 inches deep with a wall thickness of roughly 1-1/4 inches. Normally, all of this wood would be removed from the center of the bowl using a bowl gouge, leaving a pile of useless shavings. With trees of this size becoming harder and harder to find, 623 Woodworks set out to find a better way.

We have adopted a practice known as "coring". With the use of a special set of knives that we attach to our lathe, we are able to cut smaller bowl blanks out of the center of the larger bowl. This translates to 4 bowls, each a little bit smaller than the first, coming from the same 15 inch piece of wood that normally would only yield one large bowl. The benefit is most apparent when we are working with figured pieces of wood and burls, which can be very difficult to find.

What does this mean for our customers? It means consistency in appearance and in story. Last week we spoke about the story behind some of our pieces. Maybe the story intrigued you? By limiting our waste and coring our bowls it's possible for you to purchase a set of bowls all made from the same tree. Lending themselves to similar grain patterns, look, feel and history. They are no longer just a set of bowls. They become much, much more.

If we were only turning bowls, it would be impossible to eliminate all waste. Thankfully, 623 Woodworks does not only turn bowls. We turn a large variety of items from pepper mills to hollowforms. Did you know that hollowforms can be turned from trees as small as 2 or 3 inches in diameter? Pens and pencils can be turned from 1 inch square pieces! When we put on demonstrations for our community we really enjoy turning spinning tops to give away to the children.

But wait...you may be thinking, "It's impossible to use EVERY last piece of wood!". You would be correct. Any small scraps of wood that we are not able to use is set aside until winter. It is tossed into our pellet stove and keeps the shop toasty warm!

Through carefully selecting great pieces of wood and being mindful of waste, 623 Woodworks is able to consistently provide beautiful, handcrafted pieces full of character to our customers. 

See all of our offerings and purchase directly through our online store today!

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