English Walnut Bowl

I was fortunate enough, some years ago, to be given a several nice pieces of English Walnut. Several of them are spindle size but I also had at least one bowl blank size, in this case, about 8 inch square by 2 inch height. This piece featured wonderful figure and some bark inclusions, making it almost burl-like in appearance. I have been very pleased with the outcome of working with this piece of rather unusual wood. I have previously written in detail about this wood here.2014-10-17 20.28.10 Continue reading

Small Bubinga Bowl

My most recent project was turning a small bowl, or dish, from a nice 6”x6”x3” block of Bubinga wood that I had purchased at some time in the past. While I have worked with Bubinga as pen blanks in the past, this was the first time I experimented with a bowl blank size of this very beautiful and very popular exotic tropical hardwood.2014-10-12 21.46.47

A Bit About Bubinga

Bubinga comes from tropical equatorial Africa. There are several species within the Guibourtia genus of trees that may be sold as Bubinga. There are also other commercially important species within this same genus that are sold under other names, including Amazakoue. Some sources will refer to Bubinga as “African Rosewood,” and while Bubinga does often have a rosy coloration, it is technically absolutely not true rosewood. Only species within the Dalbergia genus are true rosewoods and these come from Central and South America and South Asia as well as Africa. Continue reading

Geographical Distribution

As the name implies, Rhodesian Teak is an African wood found primarily in present-day Zimbabwe (historically known as Rhodesia) as well as in other areas of so-called Gusu woodland ranging through Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia as well as Zimbabwe. While the proper scientific name of the tree which bears this wood is Baikiaea plurijuga, other common names in use, in addition to the most commonly applied moniker of Rhodesian Teak, include, but are probably not limited to: Mukusi, Rhodesian teak, Zambian teak , Zambesi redwood, Rhodesiese kiaat, Gusi, Umkusu, Umgusi, and Mukshi. Luthiers, specialist in musical instrument construction, often refer to the wood as both Mukushi and Zambian Teak.

Rhodesian Teak Stylus Pen
Rhodesian Teak Stylus Pen

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Commercial Segmented Bowl Blank

Some years ago, I had occasion to purchase some segmented bowl blanks from Penn State Industries. While this is not a vendor that I use routinely since I am not enamored of their shipping practices, I have on occasion purchased something from them that was unique. These segmented blanks, no longer available for purchase, were such a unique item.2014-10-10 17.54.52 Continue reading

Ambrosia Maple Bowl

I recently turned a relatively small bowl from a nice piece of Ambrosia Maple, a wood I have worked with before in larger sizes and which I generally enjoy. Working with Ambrosia Maple isn’t without its challenges and I am not certain that many people realize what the wood actually is and why it is so different in appearance from other maple, or Acer, species, of which there are nine.2014-09-30 20.07.08 Continue reading

I have talked about Ambrosia Maple at some length in another post, not published as of October 27, but coming soon, so I won’t go on about the wood here.  2014-10-27 19.09.08

This wood was special because it was purchased in Louisville Kentucky while on a family visit trip.  There is a small local wood turning shop, Choice Woods, that was just setting up when I visited, that had a great deal of local woods for sale at very reasonable prices.  Oddly, they don’t seem to have a web presence at this time.2014-10-27 19.09.18

This bowl proved remarkably easy to make, the maple turned beautifully and the end grain sanded smooth quite easily.  Honestly, it was a joy to make and it is easily one of my favorites.

I hope you enjoy seeing it as much as I enjoyed making it.


Wenge Dish

Wenge is a very hard, very dense, and very colorful streaked hardwood from Africa. It is not often found in sizes adequate for bowl turning, and when it is found, it will come at a rather dear price compared to many other available woods of comparable sizing. I just priced an 8 inch square blank, of 3 inches thickness, at over $62, not including shipping. The piece I used was smaller, but it still retailed at the time I purchased it for about $40. But for its unique appearance, texture, and heft, it might be worth it.2014-09-25 20.37.43 Continue reading