Earlier this week, I was in a 3-night class on bowl turning. I learned a lot of stuff, and I want to share my new-found knowledge here. That being said, I am no expert at bowl turning, but I do hope you will find this information useful.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Tools and Supplies
To create a bowl, I used the following items:
- Bowl blank
- Chuck (plus Cole Jaw)
- Turning tools (Roughing gouge, Bowl gouge, Scraper, Parting tool)
- A piece of thick leather (for sanding)
- Sandpaper (Grits 220 – 400)
- Bowl finish
- Pencil Compass
- Drill and screws
How to turn a bowl
Step 1: Prep the bowl blank for mounting on the lathe.
- Find the center of the bowl blank.
- With a compass, draw the largest circle that can fit on the blank.
- Draw a second circle, this one with a diameter matching the diameter of the faceplate.
- Cut out the outer circle with a bandsaw.
- Drill the faceplate onto the blank within the bounds of the inner circle.
- Thread the faceplate on the lathe.
Step 2: Shape the outside of the bowl
First, straighten the side of the bowl with the parting tool.
Next, flatten the base of the bowl. I used the scraper.
Once the base is flat, cut a tenon for the chuck jaws. To do this, use the parting tool to create a quarter-inch deep crevice. Then, bring the inside circle down to the same depth as the crevice.
Once the tenon is complete, shape the outside of the bowl.
Cycle through the different grits of sandpaper. We used a thick piece of leather as barrier between the sandpaper and our fingers. The leather absorbed the heat from the friction.
Step 3: Shape the inside of the bowl
Remove the faceplate from the lathe and remove it from the bowl. Thread a chuck to the lathe, and remount the bowl using the chuck tenon.
In my class, our instructor used a series of Forstner drill bits to create a nice starting point for hollowing out the bowl.
I used the bowl gouge to hollow the remaining portion.
Cycle through the different grits of sandpaper and apply a finish to the interior and exterior the bowl.
Step 4: Remove the chuck tenon
Remove the bowl from the chuck and remount it with a cole jaw. For added stability, use the tailstock and a small scrap piece of wood.
Scrap away the chuck tenon.
Step 5: Finish
Sand the remaining portion of the bowl and apply a finish.
A wooden bowl
I really enjoyed bowl turning and I look forward to making more bowls.