The floods in Sheffield last year have lead to the environment agency looking at the management of riverside trees along the river Don. One of the problems was that fallen trees washed downstream and blocked bridges creating dams. Now there is a program of cutting the riverside trees, many of which are alder a timber which has little commercial value today but which was one of the most commonly used timbers for bowls in medieval and saxon/viking times.
I make a lot of replicas of medieval and viking bowls to sell to historical re-enactors as well as museums and the biggest market of the year where they all go to source new kit is in 3 weeks time at Coventry. Any bowls I turn this week I can just about get dried and finished for the market so I collected some of the freshly felled Alder yesterday and started working it today. Here is a trailer load of alder poles, the orange/red colour is caused by the sap oxidising, when freshly cut the wood is white but minutes later it stains this colour.
The most common shape of vessel in the medieval period was a simple deep bowl, 6-8" diameter like this one excavated in London.
And here are some of the replicas I turned today, one of the nice things about having sourced this small diameter wood is that they will warp in a very pleasant way as they dry, they will dip down at the sides and go slightly oval giving them a sort of boat shaped profile, just like the originals.