Tesla Bowls

Tesla Bowl

I use high voltage to burn lightning-like patterns in some of my wood turnings.

I use a neon-sign transformer at about 15,000 volts.  I take multiple safety precautions and approach the process with a bit of caution and respect for the danger involved.

The patterns are technically called Lichtenberg figure, and are actually the same sort of pattern that lightning makes in the sky.

I call these things “Tesla Bowls” after Nicoli Tesla, who did (among a great many other things) some pretty mad-scientist-style experiments making artificial lightning in his Colorado Springs laboratory.

Nikola Tesla, with his equipment

I wrote a bit about safety, in case you’re interested in maybe doing this yourself (TL;DR: I don’t recommend it).

Wood Turning by Dave Landers