Antique Treen Bowls Tactile and Useful!

There is nothing quite like a good antique treen bowl carved by hand or turned on a lathe many years ago and think of the tree grown many years previously to the bowl. Spoons and antique bowls were very personal objects, people had their own bowl and spoon which they used, maybe identified by the owner with an initial, symbol or just a knot in the wood.

To me I love to see the shape of aged wooden bowl, it will not be perfectly round, like it was originally made, but in fact more oval where the wood has shrunk over the years.The colour of antique wooden bowls will vary according to the type of wood used to turn or carve this piece of treenware, a large majority of bowls particularly the dairy bowls were made from sycamore wood as it was said not to taint food and believed to have antibacterial properties. Although sycamore wood is often thought of as a light coloured wood if you look at image 1 this antique treen bowl is made from sycamore but it has a fabulous dark colour and patina - you can't fake this wonderful finish years of handling polishing and use has built up this finish. It just glows with proudness and so it should being 200 years plus old.

I also like to see the lathe marks on the inside of the bowl, these were often absent on later bowls where the lines were removed by sandpaper.

Many of the smaller bowls were food bowls and its great to see the many signs of use where knife marks would have scoured the surfaces over the years. Where these antique treen bowls have been scooping out soup/brooth in their past life the colour becomes darker unless the surface has been stripped back.

There are so many different shapes and sizes of antique bowls, many have survived particularly from the 19th century and can still be used today, small treen bowls are great for putting a few nuts etc in and the large dairy bowls make great fruit bowls.

An interesting sawn antique elm log bowl was literally made from sawing across the grain of a log and leaving a foot on it.. Some bowls are called dug out bowls for exactly the reason that these bowls were dug out from a solid piece of wood.

Even bowls with a repair are interesting, someone went to the trouble of mending it- in my view that definitely adds to its interest.

An antique treen bowl, mishapen, darkened with age, knife scour marks and even an old repair is in my view a great piece of treen, left empty on a table or coffer to appreciate its real beauty!

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We first became involved in Antique Treen and furniture some twenty five years ago and since then a passion for Treen, small wooden snuff boxes and decorative wooden items has developed into Opus Antiques.

This web site shows only a  small selection of our current stock for sale, if you are looking for something you don't see, please contact us.


We are also interested in buying Antique Treen items. As well as using our Contact page, you can also email or telephone us on 07941 285532


The word Treen is derived from the word tree and is a term used to describe wooden household objects, all turned from one piece of wood e.g. a bowl, plate, gingerbread mould, and spoons, always having a function.

Nowadays when we talk about Antique Treen it tends to cover all small wooden items including antique snuff boxes, candle stands, spice towers, etc. often made from several pieces of turned wood.


When a piece of wood has been painstakingly turned or carved, handled, polished and loved over a few hundred years old, it can develop a wonderful colour and patina and becomes an irresistible piece of Antique Treen.

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Address: Bath, Somerset       Contact Telephone: 07941 285532       Email: