Kentucky Tourism
McWhorter, Ronnie D.

McWhorter, Ronnie D.

Richmond, KY


carved bowls

Ron McWhorter was born in Owsley County, KY and grew up on a farm in Jackson County. He studied at Sue Bennett College and at University of Kentucky before working for IBM, retiring as an engineer.


Ron has whittled wood since age six, when he acquired his first pocket knife. In 1978 he joined the Lexington Woodcarvers Guild and later joined the Berea Welcome Center Carvers. He regularly demonstrates with this group at Wednesday gatherings in Berea’s L & N Railroad Depot.


In 1990 Ron began making dough bowls with a mallet and gouge. Ron started with a length of log cut in half, chopped out the interior, and then shaped the bowl. It was slow work.


Then Ron remembered the old timers of his grand-father’s generation using an adz to cut out bowls. He searched and found several a few that would  work, but eventually created his own tool, taking a big gouge and welding it together with a claw hammer. The long handle and heft make for more efficient motion and cutting.


Ron likes to use a variety of woods for his bowls, predominantly maple, cherry and walnut. He occasionally makes a bowl from Osage orange or poplar, liking the unusual color and variations they offer.


Works by Ron McWhorter can be found at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY.