Wanting to make another big cherry shrink pot like the one in this post, I put my big folding saw in my pack and walked to a nearby woodlot where a cherry tree had fallen a few months ago. The saw revealed heartwood just wide enough for the size of pot I wanted (about 6″ diameter at the base). I toted a chunk back to the workshop and dug in. Here a few photos showing the beginning of a shrink pot.
I secured the log on my low bench with some giant holdfasts and, standing on the bench myself, started in with the 2″ T-handle auger. Something so simple can be such a sensory delight; the body twisting and exerting itself, the crunching sound of the edge slicing through end grain, the sight of fresh chips flowing from the top, the perfume filling the shop. Even Tom Sawyer wouldn’t trade away this bit of work.
For a shrink pot this big, there’s still a lot of material to be removed. I expand the original hole by working around and around with a mallet and gouge. I flip the log back and forth a few times to work from both ends.
I want this pot to be all darker heartwood, so I split off the bulk of the sapwood with a froe.
The froe leaves some wood still to be shaved away with the drawknife. I do that at the bowl horse, but forgot to take a photo. Pretty easy to imagine though.
Then I clean up the inside a bit by paring with a gouge. Although the perspective in the photo distorts it a bit, the pot is tapered, an inch narrower at the top than at the bottom, so working the gouge from top to bottom on the inside works with the grain to achieve the cleanest cuts.
A view from above.
Now the bottom is in place and the walls can quietly close in on this first stage.