Nature's twisted sense of humor has put a smile on the face of members of the Friends of Schiller Park organization.

Nature's twisted sense of humor has put a smile on the face of members of the Friends of Schiller Park organization.

The German Village group has turned a burl, and part of the tree trunk to which it was attached, into 39 wooden bowls on sale now for $150 to $420.

"Some of these are works of art and displayed as works of art and others would be quite functional," said Katharine Moore, Friends of Schiller Park chairwoman.

The transformation of the burl, which some said looked like a lion's head, started in February, when a more than 200-year-old chinkapin oak was cut down in the parking lot of the Schiller Recreation Center.

Columbus city officials said the tree couldn't be saved because it was too badly damaged from a storm two years earlier.

Because it was such a landmark, along with several other heritage trees in the park, Friends of Schiller wanted to preserve its memory.

But technically, the group didn't own it -- the chinkapin and its burl belonged to the city.

So, the City Recreation and Parks Department dedicated the burl, valued at anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000, and the portion of the salvageable oak, to Friends of Schiller Park.

The goal from sales of the bowls is $3,500, Moore said. The money will go toward the arboretum fund, which supports fertilization, pruning, mulching and the addition of trees as needed, she said.

"This particular old tree bore witness to over 200 years of history, Moore said. "Imagine: It stood tall as young men headed off to fight in the Civil War.

"Owning a bowl from its burl enables devotees of Schiller Park to bring a bit of that rich heritage into their homes, while contributing to the care of the magnificent trees we are still lucky enough to have," Moore said.

A burl is an irregular growth that forms on trees. The Schiller burl was estimated to weigh anywhere between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds.

Wood turner Mike Trucco, a retired Columbus Division of Fire lieutenant, was paid $2,400 to create the bowls.

The hope was to have them available June 28 at the Haus und Garten Tour. But they weren't ready. Instead, Trucco held a wood-turning demonstration that afternoon in Schiller Park.

Trucco said the chinkapin burl was a firm, solid piece of wood with grains that went in many directions.

"It's hard on your tools," he said. "You've got to keep sharpening them."

Moore said about half of the bowls were sold to members of the Friends of Schiller Park, who got dibs on them.

One bowl will be donated to the City Recreation and Parks Department and another will be available for auction at TEA 43206 slated for Aug. 22 at the German Village Guest House.

To order a bowl, send email to Moore at kmoore@thejeffersoncenter. org; or call 614-228-7441.