Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to make a wooden bowl?




  • Working with green wood, you’re working against the clock. As as soon as you start removing wood the piece will start drying out and warping. So, I typically I do all the shaping of a bowl in a single day. 
  • With that said, the process of collecting the wood from around the island, shaping, hand carving and sanding of a bowl. Then oiling, drying and engraving … means the whole process can take up to a month from start to finish.
  • For a more detailed description and images.  Check out The process of making a wooden bowl




Is all my work signed?


Each piece I make has the following engraved on the bottom of it: Gavin Brunton, Kawau Island, {Tree type}, {the Year}, and {the Bowl Number}.

You can see an example here.

Are the bowls and platters food safe?


I use food-safe oil, occasionally with a little beeswax, as the finish on all of my work.

You can safely store, prepare and eat food out of any of my bowls and platters.

How's the best way to look after my wooden bowl at home?

  • Keep the bowl well oiled!
    They will love you for it, developing in depth and lustre, and they’ll also be a lot easier to clean: when kept well-oiled a wooden bowl has a wonderful non-stick surface.
  • If the bowl is only a little oily after a salad, just wipe it clean with a kitchen cloth. Or give it just a quick rinse. 
  • But when used for serving other food, washing your bowl in the sink is perfectly fine. Just remember to rinse any soapy water off and then leave to air dry.
  • Wooden bowls love to be handled and giving them a quick buff with a dry cloth every now and again will keep your bowl looking its best.
  • When you’re not using your bowl very often – a display piece – it will only need an oil and/or rub down very occasionally.

What should I NOT do with my bowl / platter?

  • Please do not soak in water.
  • Putting your wooden bowl in the dishwasher is also not a good idea.
  • Nor would I recommend using your wooden bowl in a microwave.
  • Lastly don’t allow fruit to decay in the bowl.

What does the Functional Rating mean?

The Functional Rating runs from 1 – 5 and is my way of giving you an idea of how functional a bowl or platter is.

It depends on the type of wood, whether it has a smooth surface on the inside or is a more artistic piece with voids and inclusions. 

Some bowls are made to be very functional and some are not.  The functionality scale gives you a quick indication. 

Functional Rating

1 = Solely suitable as a display piece or art piece. 

2 = Suitable to hold large items such as fruit or bread.       May have large voids. 

3 = Suitable as a fruit bowl or for leafy salads. May have voids, but is robust. 

4 = Quite suitable for daily salads and the like.  Water-tight but may be finely turned or have a natural edge.

 5 = Suitable for almost everything including hot foods, even soup.  These items are robust and can be treated as real work-horses.

If I visit Kawau Island can I pick up my purchase in person?


Simply select the ‘Local pickup’ option when your in the check out.

This also removes any shipping costs from your order

Shipping costs?


Free shipping for all orders over $200.

A flat rate shipping fee of $40 applies to all orders under $200.


If you would like items shipped to an International Destination please email, telling us the delivery address and what items you require shipped. We will email you back with a quote on delivery costs and payment options.

How long will it take for me to get my order?

Items couriered within New Zealand will be delivered to the address given within 4 – 6 working days. This is in part due to the time required to get items packed up ready for sending but also because sending packages off the island needs to be timed for the mail ferry.

For more information see DELIVERY + SHIPPING.

What happens if I don’t like the bowl when it arrives?

My work comes with a happiness guarantee!

If, in the unlikely event, you are not happy with your piece you can return it for a full refund or credit. This is because it’s important that you are happy and each piece deserves a home where it is loved.

See RETURNS POLICY for more information.


If you have a different question you would like answered:

Gavin’s bowls combine delicacy with organic design that honors the fallen tree; they bring the warmth and tactile pleasure of “real wood” to enhance any dish or table setting.  His approach is pure professional and his results are satisfyingly earthy treasures!

Tom and Louise

Kitchen Artefacts

I love the way Gavin Brunton transforms imperfections in a fallen native tree into utilitarian works of art.

I have two of his earliest works – a  pohutukawa piece I use as a fruit bowl and a kanuka calabash (# 28) that is in almost daily use as salad bowl.

Since those 2013 bowls his technique and skill as a craftsman has been refined producing the extraordinary platters and bowls seen at his studio and website. Gifted to me is a large wattle bowl (#171) I use when feeding a crowd and a beautiful matipo one (#187 shown on the website) that so far, I just admire for its delicacy and craftmanship.

His bowls make superb presents for expat New Zealanders – I’ve given two as wedding presents – they are unique and give the recipient a taste of home.

Ruth H

Images and text copyrighted 2020

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I'm always happy to hear your comments and thoughts about my work.   Along with your questions and requests.