My love affair with wood began in high school shop class. Since then, I’ve been involved in all phases from working in a sawmill to building houses to building furniture and, lately, creating works of art on a wood lathe. Although I was reluctant to take up this new hobby – my son, Isaac, conned me into it – I have fallen in love with an adult version of a fidget spinner.

I enjoy posting photos of my works on social media – my way of trying to make those platforms a place of beauty and positivity rather than rants and raves on politics. Along the way, people asked me if I am selling them. My answer is always, no, thanks for asking, but I’m not interested in selling them. However, I do let people know that I’ll give them one of my projects if they’ll do good with them like a fundraiser for a cancer victim, a silent auction for charity or a donation to The Outreach Program to help feed the hungry.

Recently, a friend in Nebraska contacted me about doing something with the trees they were cutting down on their church property for an expansion. She tossed a load in the back of her truck and brought them a 4-hour drive to me. Here’s how the process works:


Green wood arrives at my shop

First, I take a chainsaw and get the form into a semi-round shape so I can put in on my lathe. This wood is freshly cut so it is green – which means it’s still full of water and sap.


I chainsaw into workable chunks of wood


It gets a bit closer to being “round”

Then, I shape the wood into a rough idea of what I want the finished piece to look like, giving myself about an inch of thickness to work with.


Green bowl turned down to about an inch of thickness

Next, I put that bowl into a brown paper sack and fill it with the shavings that just came off the turning. I tape up the bag, mark it, and put it on a shelf in my shop. I’ll let it set there for at least six months. The wood will slowly dry out so I can do the final turning.


I put the bowl into a papers sack with the shavings that came off during turning then let it sit at least 6 months

After that time, I dig it out, mount it back one the lathe and turn it down to it’s final form. Here are some that I turned for Kathryn.


I dig it out the sack and mount it back on the lathe. Dried bowl ready to turn town to finished size


Finished pine bowl

She’s already donated $600 to The Outreach Program for these and, in turn, will use them in her own church for fundraising projects for their mission works. I’m anxious to see how much good this wood does. Here are some more bowls I turned for her:













Stay tuned: up next I’ll actually be making pieces of The Burly Tree available for a donation/auction with ALL of the money going to help feed hungry children in The Outreach Program’s Children’s Centers in Tanzania, East Africa.

You can follow along on my, Doing Good with Wood Facebook Page, too!