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Yew and apple bowl blanks

Today I sawed the two logs I found yesterday to make some bowl blanks. Here are the two logs, the “yew” on top.

yew and apple logs


I am fairly sure that the bottom one is apple. Its bark looks right, and it has the odd little mushroom shapes in the wood that seem to be almost characteristic of applewood in my experience. At least, it had them when fresh cut but by the time I got the camera to them they had faded. I will take a shot when I cut into the surface again – see below.

The other, which I was initially sure was yew, now gives me doubt. Its leaves look like yew,

yew leaves

and the exposed end grain has a definite red colour that I would expect (you can see that in the top picture). But when cut, the colour is wrong. Yew typically has a bright orange/red colour when freshly cut but this has pale brown heartwood. I cut the logs in half using my Startrite 352 bandsaw. The cut was about 11 1/2 inches deep, with approximately no clearance under the guides. It only just fit and I had to take it slow. It was hard to keep the cut straight and the pieces don’t have very flat surfaces for the faceplate. I should use a sharper blade next time. Here is the yew:

yew log cut for bowl blanks


and below is the apple

I cut these halves into bowl blanks. Here they are, with the apple on the left:

applewood and yew bowl blanks

I started roughing out one of the ‘yew’ bowl blanks and found it had the small dark knots common in yew, so I think that is what it is. There are many varieties of yew out there. It looks good anyway.

Here is a photo of one of the odd little mushroom/arrow markings that are found in apple and related species. (This one is perhaps too tall to be a mushroom, more a sort of Xmas tree shape). I don’t know what causes these marks in the wood, but I haven’t seen them in other species. The sap in the green wood darkens quickly, just as cut apples do, and these marks soon fade. They do show in the finished bowl though, as the wood is stable then.

odd mark in applewood

Here are photos of one each of the yew (upper) and apple wood bowl roughouts, ready for drying:

yew bowl roughed out

applewood bowl part turned

All four of the bowls are promising, with good colour and figure, though the yew has some heart shakes (cracks) that if turned away will make the bowl much shallower. Yew is very prone to cracks like this in the wet wood. Fruit wood often cracks on drying, so I shall seal these to slow the process and hope for the best.