Catalpa Hen Bowl

I got a barrel of flour, Lord, I got a bucket of lard.

I ain’t got no blues, got chickens in my back yard.

Jimmie Rodgers, “No Hard Times” 1932

Maybe I should have the blues; I’ve only got a little flour, no lard, and one chicken — a wooden one at that.

I shared the early stages of this catalpa bowl in a post back in September. I took a few photos the rest of the way and put them in the slide show below. You’ll have to view the actual post, out of your email program, to see the slide show.

On the exterior, I applied a wash of titanium white artist oil paint thinned with citrus solvent, then wiped it back revealing more of the wood along the ridges between flutes. Then linseed oil and beeswax over the whole thing. There’s something about the combination of the character of the catalpa grain and the variations in the color that give it a bit of an aged-but-cared-for appearance.

The camera picks up the reflections off of the white a little too strongly. The shot above is probably a more true representation, with the color of the wood coming through.

The hollow of the bowl is full and deep and it’s a pretty big bird. 21″ long, 8 3/4″ wide, and 6 3/4″ high.

This one is available. $850 includes shipping. Email me at if you are interested. SOLD

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17 Responses to Catalpa Hen Bowl

  1. francedozois says:

    still like mine–

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you refine the flutes with a round card scraper or the gouges keeps you satisfied. Merci/thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Terry Chapman says:

    I love your work, Dave. You have an eye that I much envy and I am working to develop mine. BTW, I really think Jimmy has got a “barrel” of flour. Didn’t flour come in barrels way back then?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave Fisher says:

      Thank you, Terry. And I’m sure you’re right with the “barrel” suggestion. Makes a lot more sense than a “bale” of flour! There are a lot of sites that list it as bale, but I think they must all be repeating the error. I’ve fixed it now in my reference above.


  4. restorersart says:

    Love the workholding creativity, as always. I had not thought of putting a hole in a doe’s foot before. It certainly looks after the single-pivot-point issues of using one holdfast, and means you don’t have to kludge up the workspace with a second one to stabilize things. Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Joel Paul says:

    Holy smokes! Looks fantastic Dave!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bob Easton says:

    That ole hen’s settin’ mighty nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Barry Gordon says:

    Aside from the wonderful carving, I didn’t know you are a Jimmie Rodgers fan. I, too, since purchasing my first LP of his at Rich’s Department Store in Atlanta ca.1960. It was MY ROUGH AND ROWDY WAYS. I suspect it was the image that was the attraction as I had no idea who he was (but certainly do now) and still have the LP, now much-worn!


    • Dave Fisher says:

      To be honest, Barry, until last year, I knew nothing about Jimmie Rodgers. I was introduced to him and his huge impact through Ken Burns’ 2019 documentary on Country Music. His personal story of singing while fighting tuberculosis is also poignant and inspiring. I like the clear uncluttered nature of his songs. This one really sticks in my head, although I’m sure it would sound even richer on your LP!


  8. Henry Mizrahi says:

    David hi, Hope you and your family are fine. I don’t know if you will remember me. Maybe yes, because of Turkish delights in Greenwood fest 2016.

    I had this piece of wood from the camp in Plymouth. I am not sure but it may be a birchwood. Somehow it turned out to be this spoon when I just worked with free hand, without any prior plan or design. I remember you saying that it is all about light and shadows. The smooth side of spoon can be used only if you hold it with your right hand. I know the angle of the handle is not ideal but that is how it is. Just a nostalgia. Regards Henry

    29 Eki 2020 Per 23:01 tarihinde David Fisher, Carving Explorations şunu yazdı:

    > Dave Fisher posted: ” I got a bale of flour, Lord, I got a bucket of > lard.I ain’t got no blues, got chickens in my back yard.Jimmie Rodgers, “No > Hard Times” 1932 Maybe I should have the blues; I’ve only got a little > flour, no lard, and one chicken — a wooden one at th” >


    • Dave Fisher says:

      Hi Henry! Absolutely — wonderful memories! I’m sure everyone the class remembers the Turkish delight you brought all the way from home (rose flavored!). But even better was spending those days with you and carving together.
      We are certainly relying on how our carving captures light and shadow for visual perception, but, as you describe here, we also perceive the piece through interaction with our hands. I’ll bet the spoon you carved was from black birch, with the smell of wintergreen in the bark. But there was also yellow birch and paper birch around I think.
      It sounds like you may have attempted to attach a photograph of the spoon, but, if so, I can’t see it. If you want to try to send it to me through email, I would be happy to make it visible somehow. Regardless, I am happy to be reminded of those days and I hope you are well.


  9. ttrinneer says:

    That’s uncommonly beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: The Beginnings of a Rooftop Hen | David Fisher, Carving Explorations

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