Mallette Wood Turning

Wooden Bowls



Dr. Leo Mallette worked in the aerospace industry until he retired in 2017. He is an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University. He expresses his artistic side in writing books and articles, photography, gardening, and his current passion: woodturning; making bowls from locally sourced wood. He and his wife Kathy live in Rancho Mirage California. They have one daughter and two granddaughters. Leo enjoys his granddaughters, gardening projects, traveling, and woodturning.


Leo turns bowls, boxes, ring bowls, candle sticks, and an occasional magic wand. He enjoys making bowls with a live edge (where the bark is left on the bowl). He highlights the flaws (cracks) in the wood by leaving them in the bowl or fills them with either powdered gemstones (lapis, malachite, selenite, or turquoise) or metals (aluminum shavings, brass shavings or copper powder) or sawdust!

Care and Feeding

Your new bowl may need some upkeep throughout the next 100 years of use; especially here in the desert. To return the shine, Lightly wipe it down (occasionally, like once a year) with food grade mineral oil – Leo uses Howard Cutting Board Oil. Apply the oil with a clean cloth; like an old t-shirt. If you choose to refinish the bowl, you should: 

  • 1.  Wipe it down with a slightly damp cloth to remove dust.
  • 2.  Use 400 or 600 grit sandpaper and gently rub it over all smooth surfaces.
  • 3.  Wipe the surface down with the finish that was originally used. The original finish is listed on the business card that came with the bowl. This may be a glossy lacquer, polyurethane, wax, Tung oil, or food grade mineral oil.
  • 4.  Apply the finish per the instructions on the can and wipe it down to remove any excess finish.

He also recommends that you not place the wood in direct sunlight – that may cause the wood to bleach.