Monday, January 14, 2013

Bowl from a board

Hello all of you who appreciate bowl art!

During the rainy days this time of year I find myself in the workshop doing stuff. This episode is called a 'Bowl from a board' because that's just what I made. It's a neat technique to make beautiful bowlware out of simple 3/4" boards of your choosing. The first one I made I made from aromatic cedar because that's what I had on hand (some of you recognize this from the snowflakes you received over Christmas.) Here's an example:

And then this 7 1/2" board has concentric circles drawn on it approximately 3/4" apart (this matches the thickness of the board) and then it is cut down the middle making two halves of the circles. Then these circles are cut out with a saw. For me on this first one I chose to use the scroll saw because I thought it would be easier making these cuts. It wasn't really. I need to do something else for future bowls. In any event the scroll saw table is set to 45 degrees and the circles are cut. This allows them to all be stacked upon one another and glued up. Then the rough bowl is mounted to the lathe by way of a waste block and hot glue and turned down to a smooth finished look. Then after all sanding is complete I finished this bowl with a paste wax. I did that because aromatic cedar has a bunch of oils in the wood and it destroys polyurethane finishes, and shrugs off other oil type finishes, so wax became the choice. Then it is 'parted' off of the waste block (removed by way of a hack saw) and the bottom is finished by way of a 'jam chuck' which means I turn the bowl around and I put a small towel on the turning end of the lathe inside the bowl so I can get at the bottom to smooth it down. It worked pretty well for finishing the bottom outside of the bowl, and was my first attempt at that technique too.

Here is the final product:
See the scrape on this one? I think I need better lighting in the shop as I didn't even see it until I had finished finishing it and brought it out into the sunshine. It does shine pretty well with the wax which is nice.

Not bad for a first try though, there will be more. I do like how the grain jumps out, and the shape is pretty decent as well. They can only get better as my skills progress. All in all I learned quite a few things and hopefully will be learning more as I do more of these. Sooner or later they will be sold, at least that's the plan. Gotta pay for that lathe somehow!

Anyway, to that better end I have made a jig for my band saw that will allow for smoother cuts on the circles thus speeding up that process, and making the turning of the final bowl faster as well with less waste. Stay tuned as I will experiment next with regular cedar which is more tan than red, and then combinations of aromatic cedar, regular cedar, and then I will step into the hardwood world using oak, maple, and walnut.

Well that's what I have today, I'm headed up to see if the ground is still soggy and might begin work on the house again, although it is 30 degrees at the moment and that alone may drive me back inside the shop to continue with my bowl work practice.

Thanks for stopping by, take care!

PS You readers really need to start leaving comments and let me know what you think! Pretty please? And a shout out to all the new readers coming from all over the world! Welcome!


  1. What's your price?! That looks professional!

  2. Hee hee well gee thanks Amanda, but this bowl is already spoken for by my Mom. She didn't care about the scratch and still just loves anything my little hands make.

    Stay tuned as these can only get better and I already have my eye on some techniques I think are great and will blow this bowl away. Thanks again for the compliment! Take care!

  3. oh i will! Love reading your blog and see all teh cook projects you have going on!

  4. I am almost ready to post some more stuff that's getting finished. A couple more Glu-Lam bowls, my first segmented vase, a wine bottle stopper, and a hollow form (that's a vase looking thing with a small opening at the top to non-turners) which should be done in a few days. And another oak bowl I have been finishing as well.

    Thanks again for staying tuned!!