"Honey Pot"

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Project by Transition posted 01-02-2012 08:47 PM 1894 views 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

“Honey pot” – Black Walnut with Spalted Maple Rim – a 4 month obsession…

I had a request from a fellow woodworker to make “…a large wooden bowl for those days when I want a nice large bowl of soup or cereal… a nice black walnut bowl, maybe 8 inches wide and about 6 inches deep and would leave any artistic work to you as you’re inspired…”

My self-imposed conditions:
Had to be beautiful, yet functional.
Had to be sturdy enough to take into the shop.
Had to be somewhat masculine in design.

I didn’t much think about the dimensions, but when I chucked the hunk of tree, and started making some measurements, I realized that this was going to hold a lot of soup/cereal!

I decided on a “honey pot” shape for several reasons: It allowed for a sturdy base, it gave a nice big lip for tilting the bowl to get at its contents, and it allowed for a rounded interior so that the bowl would hold its contents when tilted. And a “honey pot” seemed very appropriate for this woodworker!

I turned several bowls but the green Walnut wanted to warped or crack every time!. I decided to experiment with a contrasting ring that I could dry, then fit around the top to tame the warp. I wasn’t successful in taming the warp but I really liked the results.

This piece is 8” diameter x 5” high. The walls are ~1/4” thick gives it some heft, and translates into a bowl that won’t easily tip or move if accidentally bumped as it sits on a workbench. The bowl easily holds 1/2gal (or 2L). The outside is finished with General Finishes Salad Bowl Finish and the inside is finished with General Finishes Woodturners Finish, which has less gloss but was the product General recommended for applications involving high temp liquids.

-- Andrew, Orange County, CA -

11 comments so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11758 posts in 3909 days

#1 posted 01-02-2012 09:03 PM

Now, that’s a really nice “pot”. Well done, Andrew.
Love the rim, too. The spalting doesn’t concern you as far as contact with food? Dunno, just askin.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View naked_wookie's profile


35 posts in 2832 days

#2 posted 01-02-2012 09:06 PM

Now that is a manly cereal bowl. Love the walnut grain such a gorgeous wood.

-- nate.

View Roger's profile


21010 posts in 3285 days

#3 posted 01-02-2012 09:06 PM

that is pure beauty.. the finish and wood combos are very awesome. now, bring on the ice cream

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Transition's profile


340 posts in 3024 days

#4 posted 01-02-2012 11:58 PM

Thanks guys!

@Gene – I would eat out of this bowl. Although I do not claim to be an expert, the spalting does not concern me for several reasons:
  • There’s a pretty heavy “sealing” coat over the piece.
  • I specifically designed the piece such that the spalted rim should only incidentally come into contact with food.
  • Any biologically active material that would come from the spalted wood, would be ingested, which I believe is less likely to cause a problem than breathing it in.
  • Working in the shop, running the chainsaw, and just hiking in the woods, I’ve sucked in, ingested, and touched more wood rot, dust, and associated biologically active material, over a shorter period of time, than would be ingested through food contact with this wood.
  • Any wood product, even if it doesn’t show signs of spalting, is likely to harbor some biologically active material, unless it is somehow pasteurized or chemically treated.
  • Having taken a Microbiology course, and having seen the colorful menagerie that grew from a swipe of the back of my lab partner’s watch, I have come to the realization that we have lots of little nasties around us all the time and probably obsess over the bugs that show themselves.
  • That said – I would always include a warning and the bowl would be used at the owner’s discretion.

-- Andrew, Orange County, CA -

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 3871 days

#5 posted 01-03-2012 12:20 AM


-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 4037 days

#6 posted 01-03-2012 12:24 AM

Nice looking bowl, good finish on it

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View a1Jim's profile


117711 posts in 4058 days

#7 posted 01-03-2012 01:13 AM

Beautiful ,great job.

View TxBudMan's profile


24 posts in 3285 days

#8 posted 01-03-2012 03:17 AM

Beautiful work.

View Woodbridge's profile


3691 posts in 2899 days

#9 posted 01-03-2012 05:04 AM

beautiful bowl and a great combination of woods.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11758 posts in 3909 days

#10 posted 01-04-2012 07:55 PM

Thanks, Andrew.
You answered my concerns.
It really is a beautiful piece of work.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Transition's profile


340 posts in 3024 days

#11 posted 01-04-2012 11:21 PM

@Gene – it was a good question. Safety is an important matter. The first time I turned spalted wood, I was not wearing the proper PPE and ended up with an upper respiritory infection that took a month to shake. While I am not overly concerned about ingestion when dealing with sealed wood, I do passionately advise good dust protection while turning. And warning people about the hazards of using wood products is a good idea as people have different reactions.

Another aspect I was concerned about was nut allergies. I always warn people!

-- Andrew, Orange County, CA -

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