Christmas Bowls

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Project by Scott R. Turner posted 01-04-2020 12:44 AM 1132 views 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

These are three bowls I carved out of zebrawood as Christmas presents. Two were carved in a lobed petal design with smooth interior and back; the third is a simple oval with a textured bowl and a fluted back.

I wanted to use a wood with a distinctive grain, so after some research in my wood book I settled on zebrawood. I couldn’t source what I needed locally, so I ordered from Woodworker's Source. They delivered an 8/4 board about 9” wide and 90” long:

I am planning on doing 7 bowls total, so I cut this down into blanks and then hollowed the blanks. I would have liked to have done this by hand but (1) the wood was kiln-dried and (2) I didn’t have the time. So this was done with an angle grinder and a couple of Kutzall Shaping Discs.

This created a tremendous amount of fine dust and despite working halfway out of the garage made a huge mess inside the garage. It was also a lot more strenuous than I expected.

I then took the blanks to a bandsaw and cut the bowls to rough shape and then shaped the backs the same way:

The two layer bowl shown here was a practice bowl made from gluing up two 4/4 pieces of zebrawood.

From that point everything was carved by hand. One of the petal bowls roughly carved:

and nearly finished:

Here is the fluted bowl in progress:

Laying out the flutes took a surprising amount of time and care.

Zebrawood is fairly hard but not very difficult to carve, although the wood can have stringy interlocking fibers and (as can be seen in the bowls) the grain changed directions frequently in some spots. The fluting was the most difficult part of the carving, requiring a lot of strength on the end grain and a lot of care in the cross grain. The only major mistakes I made were carving through a petal on the first petal bowl (twice!) which necessitated patching and adding a kind of decorative stitching effect on the backs of the petals, as you can see in the gallery above. The petal bowls took about 20-30 hours to carve; the fluted bowl much longer.

The bowls are finished with flax oil and Howard's Butcher Block Conditioner. The fluted bowl in particular was inspired by one of David Fisher bowls.

11 comments so far

View pottz's profile


11708 posts in 1866 days

#1 posted 01-04-2020 02:14 AM

very nice !

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View mel52's profile


1701 posts in 1147 days

#2 posted 01-04-2020 02:29 AM

It is hard to believe something that beautiful came out of a piece of wood, you definitly have a talent to be envious of. Excellent job !!! Mel

-- MEL, Kansas

View swirt's profile


5564 posts in 3854 days

#3 posted 01-04-2020 02:58 AM

I like the textures you achieved. Well done.

-- Galootish log blog,

View 55woodbutcher's profile


63 posts in 708 days

#4 posted 01-04-2020 04:50 AM

I really like the fluted one!

View Peteybadboy's profile


2326 posts in 2832 days

#5 posted 01-04-2020 10:49 AM

Thanks for all the process pic. You do some really fine work.

-- Petey

View MrWolfe's profile


1146 posts in 1005 days

#6 posted 01-04-2020 02:22 PM

Great bowls and the zebrawood has a beautiful grain. Cool process and thanks for sharing so many pics. Nice carving and the designs are great.

View Brit's profile


8180 posts in 3725 days

#7 posted 01-04-2020 06:34 PM

Nice work Scott.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Scott R. Turner's profile

Scott R. Turner

273 posts in 4070 days

#8 posted 01-04-2020 10:07 PM

Thanks, everyone, I appreciate the kind words!

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3584 posts in 4594 days

#9 posted 01-04-2020 11:51 PM


That’s really impressive! First thought was that you have a Legacy lathe. It’s even more impressive that you carved those all by hand. There are some really blessed recipients of those gifts.


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View AJ1104's profile


1125 posts in 2541 days

#10 posted 01-05-2020 01:23 AM

These are all beautiful pieces. I love the fluted best and I know how tough Zebrawood is to tool through. Overall a fantastic group of carvings, great job!

-- AJ

View Joe Weaver's profile

Joe Weaver

539 posts in 4568 days

#11 posted 04-13-2020 12:15 PM

beautiful work

-- Joe, Ga

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