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Lou Pignolet Bowls

Artistic and useful lathe-turned wooden bowls.

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The following bowls are representative examples of my work.  All of these have been sold or presented as gifts to friends or to non-profits for auctions. If you are interested in my classes on bark edged bowls, click here. All burls used in my turnings have been harvested on local private land or purchased from local loggers or friends. None are from questionable or unknown sources. 

 Aspen Burl (15" diameter)

top view


This wood came from the Gunflint Trail area near Grand Marais, MN, and shows amazing grain and flame. This is one of the best Aspen burls I have turned. This bowl was given to the finder of the burl as a gift.


 Birch Burl (17" diameter)

top view


This wood came from the Hovland, MN area and shows amazing flame and figuring. This bowl was sold at the Scenic Cafe restaurant.


Oak Burl (6" diameter)

This wood came from the Minneapolis area.  The burl was old, grungy, and dry, but gave a beautiful bowl with unusual figuring that had the appearance of stone. The burl was given to me during an art festival by an unknown person and yielded the most unusual grain pattern I have seen.


Black Walnut (9 x 8 ")

This wood came from the Minneapolis area. Black walnut is always a classy wood with great contrast between the dark heart wood and light sap wood. This is a typical bark edged bowl I love to turn.  The bark adds a natural charm to the bowl.


Quaking Aspen (9 x 8 ")

This wood came from the shore of Lake Superior.  The wood is amazingly translucent and has interesting spalting patterns. The old aspen tree was partly rotten and grew next to my sauna in Hovland.


Birch Burl (7" diameter)

This wood came from Hovland, MN, and shows brilliant flame and figuring. Sometimes a simple bowl like this is the best way to show off the wood.


 North Shore Willow (8" diam)

This wood came from Hovland, MN.  Willow trees do not grow large on the North Shore so this one is special.


Birch Burl (14" diameter)

This wood came from the Gunflint Trail near Grand Marais, MN.  The wood shows amazing flame.  It glows and shimmers.  Note the spalting on the inside. This bowl shows the amazing beauty of wood from an old burl.


North Shore Willow (8 x 7 ")

The boat shape of this bowl is the result of the natural bark edge.  Can you visualize how the bowl was positioned in the tree? The bowl has nice colors and patterns, and it has a great feel when held.

Birch Burl (10" diameter)

This burl came from the Hovland, MN, area. There is nothing more satisfying than turning a birch burl into a bowl that comes out well. This bowl looks and feels great.


Birch Burl (6" diameter, 9" high)

Another birch burl bowl from the Hovland area, with a calabash inspired shape. Usually the shape of a bowl evolves from the wood naturally, but sometimes I aim for a pre-decided form. I had been admiring this shape in bowls in Hawaii. It is very difficult to get this shape right. I think the appeal of certain shapes is hard wired into our brains, and getting such shapes right is very subtle.


Small Black Ash Burl (5" diam)

top view

This burl was found on a small tree in a Hovland swamp, only a few inches in diameter.  The tree had fallen due to a larger tree's fall. The flame and grain of this small burl is stunning. It was the first black ash burl I turned.


Old Oak (10" diameter)

This wood came from a 350 year old oak tree that blew down in a wet snow storm in St Paul, MN.  The grain is tight and the bark spectacular. This and several similar bowls were commissioned by the family who lost the tree. I really love to save an old tree with such special significance.

Spalted Aspen Burl (9" diameter)
This wood has amazing color, grain, figuring, and spalting. Aspen burls have provided the most beautiful grain and colors. I am lucky to get these burls from local loggers in Hovland. 


 An unusual maple burl with many nodules.  A bowl that was turned from this burl is also shown below.

 This very gnarly maple burl was given to me by a friend.  The burl was old and dry and hosted a nest of very aggressive ants
. Quite a challenge to turn this burl into a bowl, especially with the ant attacks.

Maple Burl (13" diameter)

This wood came from the Grand Marais area.  The colors and spalting are amazing.  You can see how the shape emerged from the burl.  The bowl retains the natural outer edge of the burl.


North Shore Alder (5" diameter)

This wood came from my yard in Hovland.  We have a lot of alder trees but they seldom grow very large.  They typically break or fall down in wind.  I found one large enough to turn into a bowl.  This bowl was turned end-grain (the axis of the tree goes down the center of the bowl).  The wood is a beautiful orange color with nice grain. 


Crab Apple (9 x 7 ")

My neighbor in Hovland gave me some pieces of an old crab apple tree that came down in his yard.  The wood turned out to be beautiful with stunning contrast between the dark heartwood and light sapwood.


Cherry (7" diameter)

The wood for this bowl came from Minneapolis.  Cherry is a beautiful wood with nice grain and spectacular bark. 


Aspen Burl (12" diameter)

Aspen burls from the north shore of Lake Superior can be beautiful with amazing colors and swirling figuring. These burls are difficult to find and many are decayed inside. This one is very nice.

Aspen Burl (13" diameter)

This bowl was made from a very large aspen burl. I placed the foot in the log below the burl to make a bowl with dramatic bark and shape. This bowl was donated to the North House Folk School for a live auction and brought $700. It is very unusual to get such a large aspen burl that is intact and so nicely shaped.


Box Elder Crotch (13" diameter)

Box elder is considered a junk tree and often brings lots of nasty red beetles in the early Fall. Spalting in some box elder trees gives red colors. This bowl was made from a crotch in a spalted box elder tree and shows beautiful figuring, flame and colors in the intersection of the two main branches.


Box Elder  (9" diameter at top)

Here is another spalted box elder bowl showing nice red colors and interesting grain. I turned this one about 1/8 inch thick in a vase shape. Slight warping during drying improved the shape. I like to let turned bowls warp as it gives a more natural look.


Spalted Birch (10" diameter and translucent)
I stashed some birch logs in a corner of my garage for about 8 months with the hope that the wood would spalt (dark patterns from fungus and bacteria decay). I turned the bowl thin (1/8 ") to get some translucence to really show off the spalting. The bowl was also soaked for several weeks in a mixture of oils which enhances translucence in some wood. The result is stunning.

Click the following link for
More Examples of Burl Bowls

Click on the following links to go directly to the pages showing details of my Bowls for sale:
Burl BowlsBark Edged BowlsMore Bowls for sale,  Glowing Bowls