Although CA strongly suggested for everyone to make a natural edged bowl, I have never been a fan of this style of vessel. I also assumed that the patrons of Mt Vernon would have splendid homes where a rustic-looking natural edge bowl might not blend well with their décor. I wanted to turn something a bit more elegant (but not necessarily demure) which also was a better match to my own turning style. More importantly to me, I didn’t want to make a blonde vessel that looked like a clone of everyone else’s blonde vessels.
To this end, I selected a 2" thick fletch (a cut-off from the side of a log that I would have normally thrown in the burn pile) because I thought it would make a nice shallow bowl/platter onto which I could carve/texture the rim or add some color to highlight ash's strong, coarse grain. After turning the bowl, I realized that a textured rim along with highlighted grain would be too busy so I elected to highlight the character of the wood. After all, it was the fact that it was George’s ash that made it valuable; I was merely cheap labor. I used "dark" and "mahogany red" grain fillers (not stain) in order to highlight the grain and at the same time, keep the wood blonde. The result is a rather dramatic effect (maybe too much), but without the grain filler, the platter was bland and lifeless.
John Trant May 12th 2004