This Built America: The Great Alaskan Bowl Company
This Built America is a new multimedia platform by AOL and sponsored by Ford Motor Company, that explores the individuals and businesses that are redefining and driving American manufacturing. The most recent episode in the series focused on The Great Alaskan Bowl Company and its founder, Lewis Bratcher.
Growing up, Bratcher dreamed of exploring the wild state of Alaska. After graduating from college, he bought a one-way ticket to Anchorage and never looked back. Bratcher spent more than 20 years bouncing from career to career, dealing with financial hardships, before founding The Great Alaskan Bowl Company, located in Fairbanks, Alaska.
To set up his bowl mill, Bratcher had to source custom made bowl turning machinery from machine maker Ed McCormick in Vermont and build a custom bowl drying kiln with the help of kiln expert Lee Fisk to keep checking and moisture controlled.
All of Bratcher’s bowls are made of Alaskan birch that is taken from land slated to be used as farmland or for roadways. Any wood not suitable for use as a bowl is sold as firewood, the shavings and sawdust are used in shipping and as mulch, and the imperfect bowls become bird feeders. In the end, every part of the birch log are put to use.
Here’s the video portion of the This Built America: Alaska episode. To view the full story on Lewis Bratcher and The Great Alaskan Bowl Company, visit www.thisbuiltamerica.com.
The man behind the Great Alaskan Bowl Company, Lewis Bratcher.
The Matching Family Tree bowl sets are all carved from a single log, giving each bowl the same coloring and grain patterns.