The raw material for turning bowls and other turnings. They can be made from any tree species, you will find that UK blanks are often Oak, Ash, Sycamore, Cherry & Elm. Wood blanks from outside the UK or 'exotic blanks' come from all over the World with species such as Iroko, Bubinga, Zebrano & Purpleheart.
You'll find the more popular wood woodturners blanks to be a disc or 'in the round'. Why? Well the job of a lathe is to turn items so they can be shaped. Because disc wood blanks are already circular, this saves the woodturner a great deal of work in getting them into a round shape, before they start to create an object such as bowls, platters, vases or boxes.
Blanks that are not symmetrical (round or square) can be unbalanced and cause you lathe to wobble or vibrate, sometimes even sufficiently to move the lathe.
Circular blanks are often simply called bowl blanks, as the most common use for them is to make wooden bowls.
Bowl Blanks are priced by size (in addition to species) - the larger the blank the more expensive. Often you will see two sizes quoted e.g. 6 x 3 this bowl blank is 6 inches wide (diameter) and 3 inches deep. Although the UK has a metric system, many woodturning shops still display their bowl blanks using inches rather than millimetres.