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Breakthrough Hemlock Bowl

Western Hemlock

Handmade, one-of-a-kind
excellent display piece or functional bowl
finished w/ food-grade Tung & citrus oil

made by Zach LaPerriere
Sitka, Alaska 2018
bowl measures 14 1/4 X 2 1/4”



I get a little obsessive with bowls.  Let me explain this one.

Look at the dark growth ring circles in the interior of this bowl.   I love woodturning because I have complete control over how I shape a bowl.

So when I saw dark lines on the outside of the bowl near the base, I thought: maybe I can just barely break through those lines in the finished interior of the bowl.

This isn't rocket science, but it takes a little planning.  As I neared the bottom interior of this bowl, I took light finish cuts then stopped immediately upon first contact with the dark lines—because I knew sanding would lower the interior just a tad.

It turned out perfectly, better than I could have expected.  The center dark lines are thinner than a sheet of paper, and you can see that feathered edge where the wood grain ripples.

So does my obsessiveness mean anything to you?  I don't know.  I just know I enjoyed the challenge.

And what's more: this interior is just gorgeous.  It shows a big, ancient tree where one side grew into a flatter cross section.  I cut the bowl blank parallel to this plane knowing it would be stunning, but the details are never clear until the dust settles.

If you feel like educating yourself: look at side view, where you can see the growth rings straight on.  See how the normally circular growth rings flattened out?  That would have happened when the tree was as a sufficient size to begin resisting the heavy Winter winds that a hundred or so years later eventually blew it over along with several others.  Often we'll see mature hemlocks that are somewhat squareish in cross section near the base.

That sort of adaptation in trees just make my mind spin.  Other species have different strategies, and strangely: hemlocks in the Sitka area show a higher percentage of this shape.

What I can also tell you is that this bowl has a great flat bottom for whatever you choose, display or function.  It would even make a great bowl for mail or papers because they will lay flat.  Whatever you choose, people will want to see the interior of the bowl.  Old growth hemlock is just such a unique wood.

Because it is crafted from a single piece of wood, it will last for generations with basic care.