Photos and Article By Jan Cox

It is my delight to introduce you to John Cox and his artistic creations, segmented wooden bowls. John began working in wood four years ago as he edged toward retirement as a builder.  Growing up he liked woodworking and so decided to try this once again. Our family was excited to get gifts of those first bowls and other wooden objects!

John Cox with Turned Bowls

Unable to get large chunks of hard wood in this area, he chose segmented wooden bowls to work with. These are made of many small pieces of wood glued together rather than one piece of wood. In fact, some bowls can have hundreds of pieces. The wood is glued into rings and the rings glued together before turning on a lathe. This kind of work seems to be a good match for his mathematical mind!

Each bowl takes a couple of weeks to create because of the gluing needed at different stages. He then turns it on the lathe, sands it and applies the finishes.

The finish is food grade and so the bowls can be used to hold food such as fruit or salads, but as someone who owns a bowl or two I am fascinated by the wood grain patterns that can be seen on both the inside and outside of the bowl and like many other owners, use mine as decorative items in the house.

John is able to get the woods from a hardwood shop in Reno and other big cities. He uses maple and walnut along with exotic woods such as bubinga, purple heart, and wenge. He also uses black, white, and red veneers for accents.

His ideas for designs come from reading articles on-line on sites like, looking at other bowls made in similar fashion, and creating his own designs from the world around him. John tells us that his first love is experimenting with different wood combinations to create the designs.

John’s bowls will be found at the Blue Goose Art Gallery in Chester beginning in May of 2016. He has also made and sold cribbage boards and pepper mills. He will take orders. Call him at 530-256-2119.