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Manzanita Bowl

My Favorite Wood

Manzanita root burl is one of the most beautiful woods I work with. I love the organic nature of this material. It is the most difficult wood I fabricate as it contains rocks, sand, dirt, voids and sometimes bugs which quickly dulls cutting tools. It is a battle to tame a Manzanita Bowl, but the final results are well worth it. Wood doesn’t get much prettier than this. Each piece is a struggle and I swear I will not work with this wood again. But, when complete I can see the beauty of the wood. There is no question that I will do more with this wood.

I am able to purchase this exotic wood from a licensed logger in California who harvests after a fire has destroyed the tree. It is a protected species as it should be. Approximate size is 7 inches in diameter.

Hollow Form Turning

The Manzanita Bowl piece shown here in known as a Hollow Form style. The opening is smaller than the body. It takes days of practice to develop the skill set to produce a successful hollow form. The artist cannot see the wood he is peeling away from inside the form to produce an even wall thickness. Calipers and the sound of the cutting are the best clues if things are going well. This concept was developed by David Ellsworth in the early 1970’s. It had a profound effect on wood turning community which at the time was making utilitarian items. This method created the art movement in wood turning.

Here is another example of a Hollow Form


I produce all of my items in Montvale, New Jersey, USA. My primary machine is the wood lathe that I use to form the shape. Once complete I finish the item at the workbench.


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