Picture of How to Make Wooden Bowls Using Your Bandsaw

I'll show you how make round wooden bowls from strips of wood and a bandsaw. I don't have a wood lathe, so I found a way to create round bowls using my bandsaw. You can make them any diameter 3 inches and up. The pictures show a few of the bowls I made from mesquite wood. My instructions will get you between 4 to 6 nesting bowls from one setup.
This method also allows you to make very large bowls that would be impossible to do on your typical lathe.
People's reaction is typically "How do you make these?" and "Do you sell these?". I'll show you how I make them; but no, I do not sell the bowls: I just make them for relatives and friends.

Jan. 2015: I have a new Instructable explaining how to make bowls with an angled side here:

How to Make an Angled Segmented Bowl with Your Bandsaw

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools
Wood Boards - I use red oak and maple in this example: 3/4" by 2-3/8" by 6' linear ft for the sides; and 3/4" by 4" by about 3' linear ft for the bottoms (resawed and planed to 3/8" or less thickness).
MDF Board - 11" by 22" for the jig
Wood Glue
Masking Tape
A Few Nails - 6d and 8d
Sandpaper - 100, 150, 220, and 320 grid
Danish Oil Finish or similar

Bandsaw - 1/8" or 1/4" blade
Miter Saw

Additional Useful Tools if Available:
Bench Top Belt Sander and/or Spindle Sander
Finish Sander
Router or Router Table


very cool

rschoenm (author) 12 months ago

Very nice job on your bowls. I’m glad you found the Instructable useful; you sure got a beautiful set of bowls out of it. Keep up the good work!

vbergamo made it!12 months ago

Thanks for sharing this wonderfull idea. As a beginer in woodworking, you inspired me and pushed me to learn techniques to achieve these.


a lathe would make skipping all the work worth it...
Don't even know what a bandsaw is but I so want to make these!
mi29131 year ago
very nice!
Ok. I have now found a reason to fix my old bandsaw.
Arghus1 year ago
stunning piece of work
Love this! Did I need another reason to get a bandsaw? Not really.
corter0id1 year ago
Loved it!
This is awesome I'm gonna start some today
rschoenm (author)  wooddiamond1 year ago
let me know how they turn out!
INTHERMA1 year ago
bricobart1 year ago
Great job woodworker, next time: conic/curved sides!
Tallanted1 year ago
very nice and great technique
chuckyd1 year ago
It is extremely difficult to get all the edges to align when putting together these segments. A great tip for this step is to assemble two halves of the segements and then sand the facing edeges parallel. This way there are no gaps.
rschoenm (author)  chuckyd1 year ago
Very true; good suggestion! You could also custom fit the last piece.
okieinAZ1 year ago
Thanks you for sharing. This looks easier than I imagined and I think I will try this some time. Now, the obligatory safety comment:
I need to disagree with your suggestion to wear gloves when sanding the outside of the bowl. It is possible for a glove to get pulled into the space between the belt and the work rest. Also, if you position your work against the work rest, you can turn it more freely from the outside, not needing a hand inside to hold it against the belt. My advice is generally not to wear any gloves when using tools with fast moving parts. If you feel gloves are necessary, use the mechanics style that are snug-fitting.
The problem lies in the fact that gloves hinder the sensitivity of your fingertips in knowing how far they are from a moving surface (or a pinch point) and loose gloves can get pulled more easily than snug fitting ones.

Thanks again.
rschoenm (author)  okieinAZ1 year ago

thanks for pointing out the potential safety issue. I’m always concerned when I use any of my power tools.
The reason I recommended wearing gloves is that I actually let the ring spin with the sanding belt. I use one hand to steady the ring carefully against the belt, the other hand to balance and slow down the ring so that it actually gets sanded. While holding the spinning ring it gets a little hot from friction against your hand/glove, not to mention the threat of splinters. You definitely want to use gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask if you use this method of sanding the outside. I do not use the rest/stop on the belt sander; that actually doesn’t work with the spinning ring.

I’m open to suggestions for improving this step. Of course, you can always use a finishing sander, or sand by hand!

As another comment points out, one could do all the outside sanding after the bottom is attached. But I prefer to get the outside reasonably smooth (100 grid) and round before attaching the bottom; that also helps when you do the flush-trimming with the router.

I appreciate any other feedback! Thanks for your interest!
Good tip
These are not only beautiful, but the techniques that you used makes you a boss! Never though of having a fence on a bandsaw to cut thin pieces in half, and the tape to glue the octagons together! Wow! Thanks for the write up on this, it is quite awesome!
Bettybstt1 year ago
Really nice instructable - it's obvious you've done a LOT of woodworking. Thanks for these bandsaw ideas. I have always had trouble with drift and shy away from using mine - maybe you've just convinced me to try again. Thanks!
kojak1 year ago
I think the only thing I understood was when you wrote wipe the glue with a wet rag, because it is easier than when the glue dries.

That being said, my not understanding has nothing to do with your instructions, Both written and visual were more than adequate for anyone with a sense of the mechanics you demonstrated.

You are a true craftsman. I hope you accept that praise, it is clearly well deserved.

This should be my next project !!!…
But knowing me … 
Anyway, many thanks for such a perfect and beautiful project !

BTW wouldn't it be easier to sand the the outside of the bowl after the bottom is glued ? After all, that will make one job instead of two (and I hate sanding !… hence my laziness… but that's another story !)
DOT.1 year ago
This is nice idea! It comes out in very nice design. This is why I love wood..
rschoenm (author) 1 year ago
Hi Mihsin, paganwonder, piperskeeper,
Thanks for your comments and compliments.
Excellent design and documentation. Beautiful creations!
Very nice project! Thank you for sharing. Well done 'ible!
rschoenm (author) 1 year ago
Hi audreyobscura, rvt1985, and Matt2 Silver
Thanks for your nice comments and encouragement. I really enjoyed making these bowls and sharing my technique.
Mihsin1 year ago
Attractive bowls especially when you watch them emerging through intricately calculated steps.
very nice work, thank you for sharing! Really nice craftsmanship and documentation :)
rvt19851 year ago
Inspirational, really nice work and beautiful pictures!
Beautiful! Awesome work <3