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Lou Pignolet Bowls

Artistic and useful lathe-turned wooden bowls.

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A burl is a growth on a tree that usually has wild swirling grain and unusual grain figuring.  They are caused by an irritation in the growing tree from an insect, stress, fungus, virus, etc. The tree tries to isolate the irritation by surrounding it with rapid wild growth, similar to a pearl growing in an oyster.  Burls are highly prized by wood workers due to the wild amazing grain figuring often present.  Burls are also prone to flying apart on a lathe due to decay, voids, and strange growth patterns.  I generally buy my burls from local loggers, and many have major problems deep inside.  Thus, bowls made from burls are priced a higher than bowls made from normal wood.  You will note a lot of amazing grain figuring, color, texture, spalting, flame, and insect marks in most of the following burl bowls.  These burl bowls are very special and prized by collectors of wood bowls. They will stimulate a lot of conversation and reward its owner with years of visual beauty and unusual texture.

Burl bowls are not for everyone. They are for people who love wood and trees and appreciate having a very special piece of hand made art. These burl bowls are primarily for artistic display, both visually and for the feel of the wood texture. They are not intended for frequent practical use, although their finish is food safe and some customers have purchased them for serving or displaying food.


All of the burls I use are obtained from people I know and are legally harvested from private land or by permit from State or Federal land. I will not accept any burls of questionable origin. I often pay $100 for one large burl and generally make only one bowl from this burl!

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Please use email (pignolet@umn.edu) and not my phone number to inquire about a bowl.

Images of bowls are displayed in slide shows. You can pause and scroll one image at a time with the control panel at lower left, otherwise the images change at a 10 second interval


Unusual Aspen Burl Bowl  (16SF46=SC290)    See images of bowl below in slide show
dimensions: 14 x 9 x 3", 1/4" wall thickness        
  Currently on display at the New Scenic Cafe
price: $350


This bowl was turned from a small aspen burl that grew out of a large log (see image of the burl in slide show below). The burl came from the south shore of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I incorporated part of the log into the bowl since the burl was just a small bump on a large log, and I wanted to show some of the thick bark. The result is unusual and clearly shows the transition from straight grain aspen wood into the nicely figured burl. The burl wood shows amazing figuring that includes interesting colored patterns and shimmering flame (chatoyance). The chatoyance continues from the horizon of the hollowed burl into the flat areas of the log. The bark along the edges of the log is golden brown and jagged and nicely contrasts the light aspen wood. The bowl was turned from green wood and allowed to move as it dried. This adds a natural warping that I really like. The bowl was turned using handheld tools on a lathe, dried for several months, and sanded to 600 grit. The bowl was sealed with two coats of tung oil, hand sanded after each coat, and finished with a buffed thin coat of beeswax and walnut oil. This finish is considered food safe, although this bowl is best suited for artistic display. This bowl should last for hundreds of years and improve gracefully with age. This is a very unusual bowl that will certainly stimulate conversation.


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Aspen Burl Bowl (17SF8=SC309)   See images of bowl below in slide show
dimensions: 5.5" diam x 5" ht,  3/8
" wall thickness                 On display at my Hovland shop
price: $205

This Stunning bowl was turned from a small aspen burl that came from the south shore of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The photo below shows the burl with thick knobby bark. The wood has amazing figuring that includes wavy circular grain, tight swirls typical of aspen burl, shimmering flame (chatoyance), and dark wavy lines and patterns from spalting. The combination of the golden colors, grain figuring, and rising dark bark that surrounds the top edge of the bowl is breathtaking. The shape of the bowl evolved from the shape of the burl, and my desire to bring out the beauty of the wood and maintain a complete bark edge. The bark is really special and its jagged shape comes from those knobby bumps on the burl. It took a lot of patience to turn this bowl and keep the bark in tact. The bowl was turned from green wood and allowed to move as it dried. This adds a natural warping that I really like. The bowl was turned using handheld tools on a lathe from, dried for several months, and sanded to 600 grit. The bowl was sealed with two coats of tung oil, hand sanded after each coat, and finished with a buffed thin coat of beeswax and walnut oil. This finish is considered food safe, although this bowl is best suited for artistic display. This bowl should last for hundreds of years and improve gracefully with age.
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Stunning Aspen Burl Bowl (16SF28)             See images of bowl in slide show
dimensions: 17 x 15 x 3", 7/16" wall thickness 
price: $695    
                                                                       Currently on display at my Hovland shop

SOLD 5/12/17
This bowl was turned from a large aspen burl that came from the south shore of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A photo below shows the burl mounted on the lathe ready for turning. The wood has amazing figuring that includes surprising patterns, tight swirls, and shimmering flame (chatoyance). The glowing flame occurs in all of the ivory colored light areas and gives the appearance of mother of pearl. It is difficult to capture chatoyance in still photos, but it is truly amazing in this bowl. The darker golden patterns have a definite southwestern motif and stimulate a lot of conversation. The combination of the golden spalting patterns, the flame and the thick bark that surrounds the top edge of the bowl is simply breath taking. The shape of the bowl evolved from the shape of the burl, and my desire to bring out the beauty of the wood and maintain a complete bark edge. The bark is golden brown and jagged. The bowl was turned from green wood and allowed to move as it dried. This adds a natural warping in the top edge that I really like. The bowl was turned using handheld tools on a lathe from, dried for several months, and sanded to 600 grit. The bowl was sealed with two coats of tung oil, hand sanded after each coat, and finished with a buffed thin coat of beeswax and walnut oil. This finish is considered food safe, although this bowl is best suited for artistic display. This bowl should last for hundreds of years and improve gracefully with age. This is a very unusual bowl that is destined to be a collector’s piece. I have turned a lot of aspen burl bowls and this one has the best combination of features. This is one of the very few that I have considered keeping in my home, so it could soon be listed as not for sale.

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Spalted Sugar Maple Burl Bowl  (16SF49=SC297)        See images of bowl below in slide show
dimensions: 17.5" x 13 x 3.5 ", 3/8 " wall thickness        
 
Currently on display at The New Scenic Cave
price: $450

This large bowl was turned from a sugar maple burl I purchased from a logger in Felch, MI, near the south shore of Lake Superior. The photo below shows the complete burl. This large burl wrapped about 75% around the log. It was cut into two halves. These are also shown in the slide show below. One of the halves was used for this bowl that was turned end-grain to preserve the interesting spalting pattern and the impressive saw tooth bark which covers 75% of the bowl’s edge. The spalting pattern in this bowl is spectacular, and shows rays extending from the dark pith of the log and wrapping around the entire bowl. I think it looks like an enormous spreading tree. The brown-red colors are vivid, starkly contrasting with the light areas. The dark areas have nice grain figuring while the lighter areas show some curl figuring. The natural bark edge is irregular and follows the outer contours of the burl. The spalting and jagged edge give a great appearance. The bowl was turned end-grain and green and allowed to move as it dried. This adds a natural warping that I really like. In this case the lighter area below the pith is slightly raised from warping. The bowl was turned using handheld tools on a lathe from green wood, dried for several months, and sanded to 600 grit. The bowl was sealed with two coats of tung oil, hand sanded after each coat, and finished with a buffed thin coat of beeswax and walnut oil. This finish is considered food safe, although this bowl is best suited for artistic display. This bowl should last for hundreds of years and improve gracefully with age. The bowl is large and stunning and will be a great conversation piece.

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Very Rare Basswood Burl Bowl (17SF15)    See images of bowl below in slide show
dimensions: 19" diam x 4.5" ht,  1/2
" wall thickness                 On display at my shop in Hovland
price: $685

Basswood burls are very rare and are known to have beautiful color and figuring. This is the only one I have been lucky enough to get or even see. I purchased this large burl from a logger in the UP of Michigan, not far from the south shore of Lake Superior. An image of the burl on the lathe is shown below. The burl was nicely shaped so I turned it with the base of the bowl positioned on the rounded top of the burl (to the left in the image). The bowl has amazing figuring, spalting patterns, inclusions and colors. There are clusters of bird’s eye figuring, curl (chatoyance) near the bark edge, clusters of round patterns like bunches of grapes with intermixed curl, bark inclusions (sealed and stabilized), and interesting patterns from swirling lines. The bark is thick and jagged and provides a very nice border for the bowl. Basswood is a soft wood making it difficult to turn with smooth cuts. I kept the bowl thick since I was worried about the stability of the piece, but it stayed together well The bowl was turned using handheld tools on a lathe from green wood, dried for several months, and sanded to 600 grit. The bowl was sealed with two coats of tung oil, hand sanded after each coat, and finished with a buffed thin coat of beeswax and walnut oil. This finish is considered food safe, although this bowl may be best suited for artistic display. This bowl should last for hundreds of years and improve gracefully with age. This is an unusual burl bowl and will stimulate great conversation. This bowl would be perfect as the centerpiece of a large table.
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Elegant
Aspen Burl Bowl (17W21=SC304)             See images of bowl in slide show
dimensions: 12" diam x 3" ht, 5/16" wall thickness 
price: $320     
                                                                       Currently on display at my Hovland shop

This bowl was turned from an aspen burl that came from the south shore of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The photos below show several images of  the burl with thick knobby bark. The wood has amazing figuring that includes wavy circular grain, tight swirls typical of aspen burl, shimmering flame (chatoyance), and dark wavy lines and patterns from spalting. The combination of the golden colors, grain figuring, and rising dark bark that surrounds the top edge of the bowl is breathtaking. The shape of the bowl evolved from the shape of the burl, and my desire to bring out the beauty of the wood and maintain a complete bark edge. The base of the bowl was positioned on the top of the nicely shaped burl so the bark edge has a maximum diameter and a nice natural shape. An image is included that shows the burl mounted on the lathe so you can clearly see how it was turned. The bark is really special and the jagged edge comes from those knobby bumps on the burl. It took a lot of patience to turn this bowl and keep the bark in tact. The bowl was turned from green wood and allowed to move as it dried. This adds a natural warping that I really like. The bowl was turned using handheld tools on a lathe from, dried for several months, and sanded to 600 grit. The bowl was sealed with two coats of tung oil, hand sanded after each coat, and finished with a buffed thin coat of beeswax and walnut oil. This finish is considered food safe, although this bowl is best suited for artistic display. This bowl should last for hundreds of years and improve gracefully with age. Aspen burls give spectacular figuring and colors and are among the very best burls to turn. They are also quite rare.
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Spalted Sugar Maple Burl Bowl (17W1)            See images of bowl in slide show
dimensions: 12.5" diam x 3.75", 3/8" wall thickness        Currently on display at my Hovland Shop
price: $405

SOLD 5/15/17
This bowl was turned from a sugar maple burl I purchased from a logger in Felch, MI, near the south shore of Lake Superior. Photos of the complete burl, the burl cut in half, and the half mounted on the lathe are shown below in the slide show.  The spalting patterns in this bowl are very pronounced and include a spooky alien like pattern in the bottom. The light area just below the bark rim has curl figuring in radial rays that extends into the red-brown-green mottled pattern giving a spectacular appearance. I have not observed this unusual play of spalting patterns, colors, and curl in wood before. The natural bark edge is irregular and follows the outer contours of the burl. The bark is dark brown with wavy light lines. The bowl was turned end-grain and green and allowed to move as it dried. This adds a natural warping that I really like. You can see the pith of the log in the lighter side near the bottom (the alien’s head). The bowl was turned using handheld tools on a lathe from green wood, dried for several months, and sanded to 600 grit. The bowl was sealed with two coats of tung oil, hand sanded after each coat, and finished with a buffed thin coat of beeswax and walnut oil. This finish is considered food safe, although this bowl is best suited for artistic display. This bowl should last for hundreds of years and improve gracefully with age. This bowl has unusual colors and patterns from spalting, making this a collector’s piece. The colorful and curly patterns in this bowl are quite special!
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White Cedar Burl Bowl (17W10=SC294)             See images of bowl in slide show
dimensions: 13" diam x 2" ht, 3/16" wall thickness       
       Currently on display at my Hovland shop

price: $350

This bowl was turned from a white cedar burl that came from the south shore of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The photos below show the burl on the log with its stringy bark and the burl trimmed and mounted on a lathe ready for turning. The base of the bowl was positioned on the top of this burl so the outer bark edge will trace the lower perimeter of the burl. The edge of the bowl contains the bark and gives an interesting shape to the bowl. The wood in this bowl has bird’s eye and lace figuring with the appearance of mottled agate. It even contains unusual circular starbursts and worm holes. The colors range from creamy yellow to golden brown. The cream colored area has unusual mother of pearl and curl figuring. The bowl was turned from nearly dry wood but only required a few weeks to dry. The bowl was turned using handheld tools on a lathe, dried, and sanded to 600 grit. The bowl was sealed with two coats of tung oil, hand sanded after each coat, and finished with a buffed thin coat of beeswax and walnut oil. This finish is considered food safe, although this bowl is best suited for artistic display. This bowl should last for hundreds of years and improve gracefully with age. The figuring in this bowl is very unusual for cedar. The bowl is also surprisingly light in weight.
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Spalted Gnarly Red Maple Burl Bowl (17W14)  See images of bowl in slide show below
dimensions: 13" diam x 4.75" ht, 3/4" wall thickness  price: $430     
Currently on display at my Hovland shop

This bowl was turned from an old gnarly red maple burl I purchased from a logger in Felch, MI, near the south shore of Lake Superior. Two photos below show the burl just before turning. Red maple burls are rare and have beautiful wood grain and colors. This burl was old and had some holes (cavities) and undulations. I suspected voids and insect activity on the inside. I love this type of challenge and indeed there were deep cavities and an active ant nest inside. The bowl has a natural edge showing the beautiful patina of the outer skin of the burl. I kept the walls of the bowl quite thick since the cavities come through the side in one area and the ant eaten areas are incorporated into the outer side of the bowl. These ant catacombs give a great rustic look to this bowl. The wood is red-brown to gold in color with lots of wiggly black lines from spalting. There are also zones of sweeping dark and light curl patterns running through the entire bowl. Red maple burl is a very special wood and this bowl shows great rustic beauty. The bowl was turned using handheld tools on a lathe from wet wood, dried for several months, and sanded to 600 grit. The bowl was sealed with two coats of tung oil, hand sanded after each coat, and finished with a buffed thin coat of beeswax and walnut oil. This finish is considered food safe, although this bowl is best suited for artistic display. This bowl should last for hundreds of years and improve gracefully with age. The ant catacombs incorporated into the bowl will stimulate lots of conversation.
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Large Red Cedar Bowl (17W6)               See images of bowl in slide show
dimensions: 23" diam x 3.5" ht, 11/16" wall thickness  price: $750       Currently on display in my Hovland shop

This bowl was turned from a large red cedar log given to me by a student on one of my woodturning classes. The tree was harvested in southwestern Minnesota. I cut a 6” slab from the log shown in an image in the slide show below. There is also an image of the slab on the lathe during the turning process. The log was missing a small piece on one side but that had happened years ago in the growing tree since the patina of the outer edge was similar to the rest of the log. There is a small knot in this area so the tree probably had a branch on one side that had broken off. This end grain turned bowl is spectacular with red and pink colors, interesting circular light patterns, radial dark lines, and a contrasting light cambium layer just below the bark. The stringy cedar bark was missing from this log but there is a nice outer textured patina. The shape of the rim of the bowl shows the actual outer contour of the log. The bowl was turned using handheld tools on a lathe from green wood, dried for several months, and sanded to 600 grit. The bowl was sealed with two coats of tung oil, hand sanded after each coat, and finished with a buffed thin coat of beeswax and walnut oil. This finish is considered food safe so this bowl could be used to display fruit or bread, or just to sit on a large table and amaze people who see it. This bowl should last for hundreds of years and improve gracefully with age. This bowl has unusual colors and patterns and its large size makes it a collector’s piece. I have displayed it on our dining room table and it lights up the entire room.
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Burl BowlsBark Edged and Burl BowlsMore Bowls for Sale, Glowing Bowls and More