Sitka Spruce Burl
excellent display piece, fruit bowl, or other
finished w/ food-grade tung oil
made by Zach LaPerriere
Sitka, Alaska 2018
bowl measures 5 1/2" X 1 1/4
“Look deep into Nature, and you will understand everything better." —attributed to Albert Einstein.
My family teases me—I'm a sucker for a beautiful stump. When I see an intriguing stump on the beach, I can't help but to wonder what it looks like inside.
With a chainsaw, woodlathe, and bowl gouge, I look deeper. Let me tell you what I found in this cute little bowl.
On the outside I saw curly grain, which you can still see on the exterior of this bowl. We would normally call this lump a burl.
But it's isn't a burl, at least not technically. The first thing to understand is that this grew underground. I could tell that in context to the rest of the tree. Then as soon as I carefully cut this "burl" off, I saw a medium sized broken root right in the middle. If you look closely at the small interior recess, you can see where the tree has healed over either side of this broken root.
So this is actually just the tree protecting itself from a wound that could cause rot, and potentially: death. You can also see the tail ends of smaller roots toward the rim of the bowl. Take note that none of the roots extend all the way to surface of this piece.
I wasn't able to determine why the tree was on the beach, no longer in the forest, but my guess is that it grew on a creek or river bank that was eroded until the tree washed downstream. That could also explain how the root was broken in the first place. The stump was separated from the tree, but it was broken, not cut. Sitka spruce is an incredibly strong, lightweight wood, so whatever happened took a lot of force.
The forest keeps many secrets, but not all of them!
This is a stunning bowl, and I love the contrast between curly live edge grain and the interior chatoyance that reflects light and gives a feeling of deep translucence.
It goes without saying that this piece is largely decorative, but I still shaped a small interior recess to hold a wedding ring or other special jewelry. Whether you keep this on a dresser, vanity, coffee table, or mantel—people will want to pick up the bowl and examine it closely. It's small, but I took a lot of time to cut edges crisply and finish smoothly.
Because this is a single piece of wood, it will last for many generations with minimal care.