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Lou Pignolet Bowls

Artistic and useful lathe-turned wooden bowls.

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Translucent Bowls
This page was last modified on Monday, May 29, 2017 06:27 AM
I have experimented with bowls that are translucent. The bowls are turned from green (fresh) birch or aspen (must be a light colored wood) and have a natural bark edge and thin walls (1/8 inch).  They are dried for about a month, sanded to 400 grit, and then soaked in a mix of oils for a week to increase their translucence. The bowls are then dried for several weeks and sealed with a coat of tung oil. This process is similar to the one used in Hawaii to make the beautiful translucent Norfolk and Cook pine bowls. I make these for pre-order.

Amazing Spalted Birch Translucent Bowl   13FW4 (dimensions: 10 x 8 x 4.5 inches)

This bowl was commissioned by a customer and not for sale

This bowl was turned from an old birch log I had been saving for about a year. Sometimes the wood spalts (a pre-decay process caused by fungi) giving interesting colorful patterns. This bowl has amazing spalting with lots of island like patterns and unusual colors. The fungi have been busy and I selected the wood at exactly the right time. The wood may have been rotten in another month and impossible to turn. I applied a lot of cyanoacrylate during the turning to stabilize the slightly punky wood. Some light was already coming through the walls of the bowl so I decided to soak it in my special oil mix for several weeks to enhance the translucence. The bowl emerged with amazing translucence and brilliance, really showing off the spalting and colors. The images in the slide show below are of the bowl in different lighting, but the bowl actually glows with any back light.
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I have several more spalted birch logs and can make some more bowls similar to the one above. Contact me if you are interested. Check out the bark edged bowls for sale for translucent bowls also.

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Spalted Translucent Birch Bowl  (13FW10)
This bowl is on display in my shop in Hovland
dimensions:  10.75 x 9 x 5.5 inches (1.8 " thick)          price: $195                   
     Sold 12/2/13

This bowl was turned from an old birch log I had been saving for about a year. I was hoping the wood would be spalted (a pre-decay process caused by fungi) giving interesting colorful patterns. I was not disappointed as this bowl has amazing spalting with lots of island like patterns and unusual colors. The fungi have been busy and I selected the wood at exactly the right time. The wood may have been rotten in another month and impossible to turn. I applied a lot of cyanoacrylate during the turning to stabilize and harden the slightly punky wood. Some light was already coming through the walls. The bowl was turned using hand held tools on a lathe from slightly green punky wood, dried in a microwave oven, and sanded. It was next soaked in my special Hawaiian oil mix for several weeks to enhance the translucence. The bowl emerged from the oil soak with amazing translucence and brilliance, really showing off the spalting and colors. This bowl is intended for artistic display with lighting from the top or behind. It would certainly be a stunning addition to a table or shelf! It should last for hundreds of years and improve gracefully with age.


More images of this bowl are shown under Bark Edged Bowls for sale.





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Glowing Tea Light Bowls for Order

The New Scenic Cafe restaurant has small tea-light bowls on the tables during the dark winter months.  The bowls are translucent and glow from small tea-light candles inside.  They really show off the beauty of the wood.  Many people have asked me about these small glowing bowls which I made for the restaurant. Here are several photos of similar tea-light bowls. 


Three small birch bowls in normal light (6 x 4 x 2.5 ")


Three small birch bowls glowing with tea-lights inside
 
I have sold a few of these on special request and pre-order.  These small bowls are turned from green (fresh) birch and have a natural bark edge and thin walls (1/8 inch).  They are dried for about a month, sanded to 240 grit, and then soaked in a mix of oils for a week to increase their translucence. The bowls are then dried for several weeks and sealed with a coat of tung oil. This process is similar to the one used in Hawaii to make the beautiful translucent Norfolk and Cook pine bowls.

Although these bowls are not difficult to turn, the entire process is time consuming.  The turning is also not very interesting since the bowls are all similar.  Never the less, I do make them several times a year.  Contact me if you would like one or more of these bowls.  They sell for about $100 each and make great gifts for the holidays. If you order one it takes at least two months from start to finish!

Larger Translucent Bowls and Lamp Shades (None currently available but could be made on order)
I have also made a variety of translucent bowls by applying the oil soak method.  The best translucence is achieved with thinly turned bowls made from aspen, birch, and spruce. Such bowls usually sell quickly so I seldom have any in stock.  They can be commissioned and prices will depend on shape and size.  Below are some images of translucent bowls that have been sold in past years.  Contact me if you are interested in commissioning a translucent bowl, but also check under bark edged bowls since I often post translucent bowls with bark on that page.


                           translucent birch bowl                                                                   translucent black spruce bowl


                                  translucent aspen bowl                                                                       translucent aspen bowl

I have made a few translucent lampshades but all have been sold.  Images below show some of these.  I do not expect to make more lampshades since they are difficult to get to come out right and the success rate is low. They must be turned very thin and be nicely translucent.  No problem turning a thin piece, but you never know if it will be translucent.  I could be convinced to make more of these but the price will have to reflect these problems. Contact me if you are interested.


                  translucent birch lamp shade (sold)                                              translucent birch lamp shade (sold 6/8/12, 9.5 x 5 ")


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