Functional and Decorative Turned Wooden Bowls

Mankind has been making wooden bowls on lathes for thousands of years. The practice originated with the use of simple tools to make utility bowls for food storage and preparation. Since then the equipment available for woodturning may have improved but the basic principles are still the same.

Simple wooden bowls

A simple turned wooden bowl shows off the beauty of the wood. Making bowls always seems a natural use for a natural material. The flowing curves give a simple elegance that echoes the characteristics of the wood and makes good use of what nature gave us.
Paul turns and finishes each bowl by hand and each one is unique. He turns some bowls to be thin and delicate and others are thicker and more robust. Paul uses the characteristics of the wood define the form of the turned bowl.

Spalted wood

Spalted timber is used to make some of the decorative bowls. The term “spalted” is a term which describes wood affected by the natural process of fungal attack. If caught at the right stage, the fungal attack leaves striking colours and lines without degrading the structure of the wood. Once the moisture content in the wood reduces to levels found in a normal indoor household environment, the fungus is unable to survive and the spalting process ceases. Spalted timber is often sought after for woodturning because the spalting enhances the appearance of the wood.
A fungus also causes the colouration in Brown oak. In this case, the beefsteak fungus (fistulina hepatica) is the culprit. The fungus lives on the outside of the oak tree and feeds from the sapwood. The fungus passes its waste products back into the tree and this reacts with the tannin in the wood to produce the rich brown colour sought after by many woodturners.

Decorative bowls

Some of the turned wooden bowls here are purely decorative but some are suitable for use as fruit bowls or salad bowls. Please check before you buy if you are intending to use the bowl for food.
Woodturning finishes used are either wax or oil based. A wax finish is suitable for either decorative use or as a fruit bowl but will not withstand washing. A food safe oil based finish (made from natural plant extracts) is suitable for use as a salad bowl, fruit bowl or purely decorative and will withstand washing but it is not advisable to leave a wooden bowl immersed in water for any length of time.

The natural edge turned wooden bowls are made by leaving the edge of the trunk, either with or without bark, as the edge of the bowl. Turning wooden bowls like these is a little more difficult but the finished result makes the extra effort worthwhile.

If you would like to order a bowl made in a wood of your choice. Please enquire for prices and availability.
Alternatively, check the woodturning gallery page or woodturning shop for turned wood bowls in stock.