The vast majority of the bowls I make are made from salvaged wood. In the spirit of using reclaimed wood I decided to go try using an old floor board from a clock factory and an unused pressed board siding piece. For the body of the bowl I used a chunk of black walnut from a tree that had been standing dead in a friend's backyard for several years before the cut it down.
This Instructable will walk you through all the steps of transforming 3 wood sources into a single stellar bowl.
Step 1: Initial Material Prep
I started with sectioning the walnut log into 3 slabs which will end up being turned into 4 bowls. I chose the #1 section to use for this project. In order to add the middle laminated section to cut the blank in half. Using my hand planer I flattened both of the mating surfaces to make it quicker to go through the standard planer. I later learned that it is valuable to get all sides flat and sitting flat. If the wood is able to rock at all it will rock in the planer and not produce a true flat surface.
For the chip board and wood flooring I used the hand planer to remove the texture and make it quicker to run through the planer.
Step 2: Planeing
I ran the walnut boards through the planer until the entire mating surface was smooth. This is also the step where you really start seeing the personality of the wood, which in this case was stunning. I ran the middle boards through the planer together to insure that they were the same thickness. I had to run both boards through my table saw to true up the edges prior to finishing them on the planer.
Once all mating edges where square and smooth I started laying out the size of the main bowl sections. For the top edge of the bowl I was able to get an 11 inch blank and a 9 inch blank for the base of the bowl. Using the bandsaw I cut both of these circles out.
Step 3: Glue Up
I decided to keep the design of the middle section as simple as possible so I went with 5 straight strips that will fit on the larger circle. I made sure to evenly spread out a lot of glue as insurance for later on, I really didn't want the bowl to fly apart on the lathe! I used two clamps to hold all the boards tightly together while drying and stacked a bunch of weight on top to hold everything down while the glue dries. Lesson learned, I did a terrible job gluing the boards in place and ended up with a bunch of gaps. I had to fix these gaps later on. Prior to gluing the smaller walnut slab on I had to re-plane the surface of the boards to provide a flat surface to glue to.
Once everything was flat and trued up once again I was ready to do the final gluing. I did my best to line up the top and bottom walnut pieces to the grain patter would line up in the finished bowl.
Step 4: Lathe Work
I mounted the bowl blank to the lathe using a standard face plate. Then the outside is shaped just like a standard bowl blank. I cut a foot on the bottom so I could flip the bowl around and use a 4 jaw chuck to mount it to my lathe again. Just for fun I used my coring system to remove the middle of the bowl. Later on I turned this into a second bowl (I already went through the trouble of gluing everything up, I might as well get two bowls out of it). After coring the bowl was brought an almost finished shape. It was at this point that the final gaps in my glued joints really jumped out.
Step 5: Filling in the Gaps
My method for filling in wood gaps is to use wood dust and crazy glue. You start by rubbing as much wood dust and fine shavings into the gaps and dripping thin CA glue to harden the mix. While the glue is still wet add additional wood dust on top and top that in as well. Ideally the glue/wood mixture will stand proud the surface of the wood so it can be sanded down latter. Perform the same method on all gaps inside and out. The 2nd picture above shows what it looked like after I was done filling the gaps.
I have several containers of different colored wood dust to aid in matching the dust to the bowl color. The dust will always get darker once the glue is added.
After the glue has hardened the bowl goes back on the lathe and a very light cut is used to bring everything back to being level. The gaps really disappear in the darker wood regions.
Step 6: Final Touches
I like using a Cole Jaw chuck to hold the rim of my bowls so I can finish the bottoms. For this bowl I had enough material left at the base to be able to remove the foot and produce a smooth bottom. After final sanding and a coat of mineral oil I added my logo, year and #. The final bowl looks stunning. The press board adds a very unique texture while the old floor boards add a nice mid brown color.
Thank you very much for taking a look at my reclaimed wood bowl. If you want to look at more of my work you can check it out on Facebook and Etsy.com under Stonecreekturnings