Bowlmaking from Greenwood
The bowls which I make are mainly based on the time honoured Scandinavian styles which lend themselves perfectly to green woodcraft and results in a pleasant shape to my mind, with good proportions and great scope for variations which gives every one an individual character.
Sharp hand axes and a hollow carving adze are used to initially shape the raw log into the basic form of the bowl. This is where most of the wood is removed in a cloud of chips and shavings to release the basic shape of what will become the finished article. In the case of making the cherry bowl which I thought to record in the photos to the right, I was working towards the Scandinavian style.
Once the form has been achieved, I put this to dry out thoroughly in a shaded corner of the drying shed. Depending on the season, this can be from four to twelve weeks and it must dry slowly and have been worked to as thin a profile as possible to lessen the chances of cracks developing. Always a tenuous time!
At this point the workpiece is probably in a usable but "rough around the edges" state and so the finishing begins with finely sharpened knives, shaves and gouges.
Sometimes I aim to leave bold facets and traces of the tooling. At other times a finer finish is called for and perhaps decoration with simple chip carving or a kohlrosed design like the finished bowl below.
When all's done-the finished bowl gets a deep soak of hot, culinary grade flaxseed oil to bring out the grain and give it water resistance and long lasting protection and perhaps a beeswax polish to seal it and add a shine.
The finished bowl with a gothy-brambly design kohlrosed around the rim.
A billet of fresh cherrywood, the bark removed and ready to begin the carve.
The bowl is adzed out and the profile hewn to the basic shape
Following a few weeks of drying, finishing begins using hook knives, gouges and a small axe.