"Lathe-Turned Bowls & Forms"
Designed and Created by
J. Kelly Dunn
As "Departures Magazine" (the American Express Platinum Card Member's
publication) in its Holiday Issue wrote . . "It is dificult to imagine wood turnings
more bewitching than the translucent treasures (Kelly) Dunn patiently crafts
in Hawii, on the Big island of Hawaii."
The process begins with Norfolk pine slabs that have been allowed to "spalt"
(the initial stage of decomposition that turns the wood black). The spalting lends
color and character to the wood without weakening it.
Kelly Dunn then turns the aged timber on the lathe to a wall thickness
of about an inch, then he kiln dries it. The "blanks" are coated on one
side with a wax emulsion to discourage cracking, re-worked on the lathe
until they are almost eggshell-thin, and finally submerged for up to two
weeks in a bath of oil and resin that Dunn himself developed. It is this
final touch that yields bowls that seem to incadesce with their own inner
Kelly turns on a custom-built lathe. He turns to a thickness of approximately
3/16ths on an inch. His lathe will turn up to a 36" in diameter piece of
Prices of these wooden objets d'art range from the low hundreds up to
several thousand dollars. Private collectors of Kelly Dunn's bowls
include: Tom Hanks, Mick Jagger, Shelly Fabres, Lauren bacall and Robert Redford.