Ron referred to Empty Bowls in his monthly letter. I’ve been making a few (actually) several bowls recently for Empty Bowls and thought I would share a bit. The following is my opinion and process and is not intended to be the only way to do things.
First, as far as size is concerned, the directions are to “make a bowl the size of a standard soup bowl.” That isn’t particularly helpful. We usually eat soup from one of two very different bowls in our house. One looks like this:
As you can see, it is 6 inches in diameter and 3 inches high.
The other bowl looks like this:
The second bowl is almost 11 inches in diameter, with a wide rim and only 2 inches deep. With out the rim, the bowl portion is 7 1/2 inches or so. All this to say there really isn’t such a thing as a standard soup bowl, so when it comes to making a bowl for Empty Bowls, suit yourself!
Here is what I do – not that what I do is right or that I expect everyone to do it this way. I make my bowls between 5 and 7 inches (as a rule). The bowls below are about the smallest and largest I make for empty bowls. The larger one is from wood that I got from the wood raffle table, otherwise it is a bit larger than I prefer. The smal bowl is actually a bit smaller than I prefer. It’s funny how much difference just an inch or two diameter makes in a bowl.
And, I try to make a nicely shaped and proportioned bowl.
Not every bowl qualifies to be an Empty Bowl (there’s a joke there somewhere….). Here is an example (below) of a nice little elm bowl that I won’t submit for Empty Bowls, as it has a knot or bark inclusion in the bottom that would leak. Empty bowls does request that the bowl not be cracked and that it is able to “hold soup.” I don’t know how many are actually used to eat from, but it is their request and I try to honor it.
For what it’s worth, I do sign my Empty Bowls. The following pic isn’t the best signature, but it shows what I do. Again, you may want to leave yours unsigned or use a different method, and that is Okay.
All the bowls shown in this post are finished with Doctor’s Woodshop Walnut Finishing Oil. Milwaukee Woodcraft stocks this. I wipe on a fairly heavy coat and let it sit for a couple days, until I can handle it without the oil transferring onto my fingers. I have also used Mahoney’s Utility Finish (Walnut Oil) in the same manner. I find this a quick and easy finishing method and of course, it is food safe. Again, Empty Bowls does request that we provide bowls with a food safe finish.
As always, I welcome any response to this article with your thoughts, ideas and processes – you can respond below the article or send a reply email and I will make sure your response gets posted.