Wood grain is unique for each tree species, it's the longitudinal arrangement of wood fibers or the pattern resulting from such an arrangement.


Spalting is any form of wood coloration caused by fungi. These unique patterns are sought after in woodturning. Beech is a tree that often exhibits extraordinary spalting colours.

Green Wood

We refer to freshly cut, wet wood as green wood. In connection to green wood turning, a technique where a vessel is made with fresh wood and then takes a unique shape as it dries.

The Trunk

The trunk is the main wooden axis of a tree. It has layers with different functions. The bark is the outermost, protecting inner layers that transfer nutrients up the tree -

Growth Rings

A rings marks the passage of one year in the life of the tree. The dark, thin line is winter's growth and the wide pale one is spring and summer growth.


A burl is an irregular and deformed tree growth. Often has the form of a rounded outgrowth on a trunk. It's grain patterns are impressive and complex.

Parts of a Tree

Roots, trunk, buds and leaves, fruit and seed. In turning we mainly use deciduous trees, those shedding their leaves at the end of the growing season. Evergreens with few exemptions turn poorly.

Tree Crotch

This is the Y shaped point of connection between two or more tree limbs or tree trunks. Beautiful strong and dense grain at this spot to counteract the forces created by the weight of the limbs.

Bowl Blank

Simply a rounded slice of wood ready to be turned to a vessel.

Yunomi - Obon

A Yunomi is a tall form of a Japanese teacup, without a handle. A Chawan is a bowl used for preparing and drinking tea. Obon is a traditional round Japanese tea tray.

Nested Bowls

These are bowls made from the same piece of wood, essentially "scooping" two or more from the same bowl blank (see "coring" on the lathe glossary). These vessels share the same grain patterns!

Open Form

This category includes plates, platters, trays and bowls with a rim wider that the base of the bowl.


Spindle turning is the method used for items such as chair and table legs, lamps, cues, bats, pens, candlesticks etc. i.e. long and thin objects.

Closed Form

Any vessel that has straight walls or closes again towards the rim - bowls, boxes, vases or cups.

Live Edge

A live edge vessel is one that uses the bark of the log as a rim edge. As the top part of this bowl is the outer part of the tree it can be highly irregular in shape and very decorative.

Hollow Form

This is a term referring to hollow vessels with a small opening on the top. They are hollowed with special tools and a lot of patience!


The art of giving form to spinning wood. Although it's spinned by a machine all the work on it is done by hand tools and dance moves. That's in contrast to most bowls sold today made by CNC machines entirely.


A spectacular technique where subsequent bowls of increasing size are scooped out of the same bowl blank. This way we don't waste the interior wood of a bowl making a mountain of woodchips but rather a family of similarly grained bowls.


The woodworking machine that spins the wood for us. Interestingly it has evolved from an ancient device where the wood was turned using the feet. These makers could brag their vessels were 50% foot-made and 50% handmade.

Face Turning

Wood is held from one side on the lathe - that's how bowls and all other vessels are made.


A magical part of the lathe, the four - jaw chuck holds the wood securely (or mostly so, sometimes wood will still fly across the workshop so any observers need stay out of the line of fire).

Spindle Turning

For spindle turning, the wood is held on the lathe by both ends (between the headstock and tailstock) to create longer cylindrical objects.


These come in many forms and functions. Gouges carve out the inside and shape the outside of bowls. Scrapers scrape a fine layer of wood. Parting tools cut through sections and Skews used to make V cuts, beads, tapers and to smooth cylindrical stock.


Second nature to a turner - tools are sharpened constantly during the workday. A sharp tool is a safer tool. Some tools hold an edge only for 30 seconds, the sharpening station needs to be right next to the turner