If you're looking for a minimalist type of finish, a microcrystalline wax like Renaissance wax would be an excellent choice. Microwaxes are highly resistant to water, food acids, alcohols and moderate heat. In addition they are pH neutral and are highly resistant to fingerprints. The down side for you is that since you don't have any currently, you will have to buy some and they are on the high side at $25.00 - $30.00 per tin. But, they are well worth it...
Having said that, if you want to use something you have from your list, I would consider a 1/2 lb. blonde shellac wash coat, followed by your bowling alley wax when the shellac has fully dried. The shellac will help to prevent the nut oils from soaking into the wood, darkening it over time. Of course, the lovely colour of Purpleheart will darken over time anyway, turning a brownish purple colour. There are ways to forestall this degradation, but the products are really expensive.
If your shellac is not freshly diluted from the flake form and is more than six months old, do not use it. Diluted shellac has a very short shelf life. If you purchased the shellac in a can at a hardware store, look on the bottom of the can for an expiration date. Always check for this on future purchases as well because it is common for expired shellac to be on the shelf for sale. Note: For the wash coat, Platina or Super Blonde shellac would be my first choice, followed by blonde shellac.
As for what you do with thousands of bowls, you sell them. I'm a professional woodturner (have been for almost 12 years) and bowls are my primary output. I also turn lots of hollow forms (primarily as cremation urns for human and animal remains) and platters. In addition, I do quite a few sculptural pieces for the wall between 3' and 4' in diameter and a bunch of smaller items like pens, stoppers, peppermills, etc. Most of my artistic efforts these days are focused on Grecian water and wine vessels from the fifth century, with authentic scenes on the outside.
I sell virtually 100% of my output, so around my home you would be hard to find more than three or four pieces that I have done. These are there because my wife snatches one from time to time, before I can get in into a FedEx box... When you're just getting started, you will no doubt give many of your pieces away. This is one of the best things about being a woodturner. For me, woodturning is a business and one that has paid me very well over the years. My studio is very successful, but it took a lot of hard work to get there -- not to mention thinking outside the box when it came to marketing my products.
Lucky for me, I was in sales for twenty years, so marketing to me is as easy as breathing. The key to sales is getting your product in front of the right buyer, with lots of discretionary income and a desire to collect art or functional pieces. I seem to be getting too far off your primary topic. Please accept my apologies for the long reply. Take care and all the best to you and yours!
Last edited by Steve Russell; 04-18-2007 at 10:35 PM.
Better Woodturning and Finishing Through Chemistry...
Eurowood Werks Studio
Professional Studio Woodturner