Bowls made from small Crotches

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Project by Brian Havens posted 11-12-2012 06:27 AM 2080 views 5 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Crotch wood, that is logs where a branch or trunk diverge into two branches, contains a chunk of highly figured wood known as “feather figure”, so named because it often resembles a feather. On small crotch logs, there is little feather figure to be had, and turning such chunks of wood in the usual ways (either as a conventional bowl or a typical natural edge bowl) ends up cutting away most or all of what little feather figure there is.

I have found two ways to retain and show off what little feather figure there is in a small crotch: One is to make a winged bowl, thereby retaining at least some of the feather figure on the wing. The other is to make a natural edge bowl with a flat or relatively flat bottom. Since the feather figure is in the center of the crotch, the figure will show up on the bottom of a natural edge bowl. As a bonus, a natural edge bowl made from a crotch will have three peaks and valleys along the rim, as opposed to the usual two.

Photo #1

This is a crotch-winged bowl made from some heavily spalted Apple. The spalting has resulted in some spectacular grain pattern.

Photo #2

A closeup of the feather figure. One of the tradeoffs when making a winged bowl from a crotch is between the size of the bowl section and the amount of feather figure retained. A larger bowl section will cut away some of the feather figure, and a smaller bowl section will retain more feather figure. In this case, the bowl section was maximize, and some of the feather figure was cut away.

Photo #3

Another crotch-winged bowl, this one made from Albizia

Photo #4

A closeup of the feather figure. Since the bowl section is less than maximized, more of the feather figure is retained.

Photo #5

A natural edge bowl made from the other half of the log that the bowl in Photos #3 is from. The feather figure seems to radiate out from the center more than other species.

Photo #6

A natural edge bowl made from a crotch of Cherry. There was very little feather figure in this piece, such that the outside/bottom of the bowl has more figure that the bottom inside.

-- Brian Havens, Woodworker

8 comments so far

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

617 posts in 4464 days

#1 posted 11-12-2012 02:10 PM

Beautiful bowls!

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!"

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2373 days

#2 posted 11-12-2012 02:42 PM

Impressive! An au naturel look always appeal to my senses.



View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4283 days

#3 posted 11-12-2012 03:39 PM

Very nice work, Brian. You got the best out of those pieces of wood!


View atchison32's profile


153 posts in 3110 days

#4 posted 11-12-2012 04:34 PM


View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3775 days

#5 posted 11-12-2012 09:18 PM

Great looking bowls and fantastic figure .

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 3038 days

#6 posted 11-12-2012 11:32 PM

Brian you have become so skillful in your turning.
You work shows how good you are.
Well done!

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View murch's profile


1380 posts in 2822 days

#7 posted 11-13-2012 06:49 AM

Well aren’t they fab looking bowls.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View Brian Havens's profile

Brian Havens

196 posts in 3304 days

#8 posted 11-13-2012 05:15 PM

Thanks folks. I am glad you like the bowls.

-- Brian Havens, Woodworker

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