An unnecessary weight

Sometimes, it adds to the whole tactile experience when you pick up a wooden object and feel the weight and substance of the object.  On the other hand when I’m turning these days, I like the idea that the object is no heavier than it needs to be, or to put it another way, that the object has a wall thickness that is as thin as possible without compromising the structural integrity.

I had another go today, this time at a piece of walnut that I found in my wood rack and came up with the following bowl:

Walnut Bowl

It isn’t as dark as I was expecting (for walnut), but it still has a very nice pattern to the grain.

To give you an idea of size/scale, here is the bowl with my hand for reference.


For the underside, I used the expanding jaw to hold the bowl while turning the inside, so then remounted the bowl in Cole jaws and turned the majority of it away to leave a subtle raised-ring foot for the bowl.


Now as to the weight and wall thickness.  I measured the walls to have an average thickness of 3.5mm, and it is surprisingly light when you pick it up.  So I weighed it.

Bowl Weight

A whole 40g. The weight of 8 sheets of A4 80 gsm paper.

Guess there is very little extraneous timber left in that bowl!


This section of an old Rimu tree was 815 years old when it was felled in the 1920s. It is now housed in the Auckland Museum, and although it isn’t the largest, or widest or anything, it is still quite an impressive sample.  I can remember seeing it on many visits over the past 40 years.

Ancient Rimu

At 815 years (from 1920), that makes it germination date (equivalent to its birth date) in 1105.  This tree certainly saw its share of history, including the building of Notre Dame in 1163, the foundation of Oxford University in 1168, the use of windmills in 1185.  There is so much that happened in the lifetime of this tree – it is quite incredible.

Wonder how many pens could be made from this slab?

Make a pretty impressive turned bowl!

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