Back in the 1800s, the demand for large, wooden bowls for making bread and mixing and serving food kept many bowl mills in operation. However, since then the wide-scale demand for these types of bowls has diminished, leaving The Great Alaskan Bowl Company as one of only a few mills in the country that still manufactures these unique bowls, using equipment designed from the machinery that was developed over 100 years ago.
By cutting only two to five 13" or larger trees per acre, The Great Alaskan Bowl Company is a responsible steward of the forest. This process promotes a healthier forest by allowing sunlight to reach the smaller, developing trees. The freshly cut green logs (40% - 60% moisture content) are cut into lengths the width of the tree and split for turning. This process allows us to create up to eight one-piece, solid birch, hardwood bowls, ranging from 22" to 7" in diameter—all from a single split length.
Creating the Perfect Bowl
After the bowls have been cut, they are sorted and stacked on carts for drying. The kiln-drying process takes four to six days to complete and is the most critical step in the production process. Our progressive kiln monitors both the heat and moisture content and the bowls are removed when the moisture content reaches 6% - 10%. Because of our unique drying process, we have less than 3% loss.
Each bowl is then individually sanded and branded. The bowls are then dipped and coated with a food-safe block oil blend of seed oil, carotene, vitamin E, and lemon oil that penetrates, conditions, and seals the wood. This produces an all-natural finish ready for popcorn, salad, fruit, and many other foods. If you are coming to Fairbanks, visit our showroom and see our bowl-making process in person! (Call ahead if you want to make sure we are actively cutting that day!)