Plywood Turned Bowl




Posted in WorkshopWoodworking

Introduction: Plywood Turned Bowl

I picked up quite a bit of structural plywood (laminated timber) from a skip bin (dumpster). Instead of going to landfill, I decided to recycle it.

Step 1: The Wood

The dumped structural plywood is mainly off-cuts. I suspect it was used for making staircases, which is why there many triangles and other odd shapes. For this project I used one of the smaller pieces.

'Being structural plywood it's solid and has very few 'holes' you sometimes get in cheaper wood.

Step 2: Preparing the Wood for the Lathe

I marked a circle with a compass, and cut it with a drop saw close to the line to reduce the time spent at the lathe. A band saw may be better, but I don't have one.

Step 3: Truing and Making a Tenon

I mounted the plywood between centers on the lathe. Using a bowl gouge and a parting tool I smoothed the outside to circle, and created a tenon for mounting the blank in the chuck.

Step 4: Shaping

The bowl is chucked using the tenon. I shaped the outside and hollowed the bowl using a bowl gouge and a scraper.

Step 5: Sanding

Still mounted, I used sandpaper (gradual from 120 to 400 grit) to sand the inside and outside

Step 6: Shaping the Bottom

I reverse chucked the bowl using a jam chuck (made out of plywood of course) and using a parting tool I cleaned the bottom. The very last bit needs to sanded. The bottom is shaped with a ring on the outside and the inside is recessed a bit to ensure stability.

Step 7: Finishing

I used my own wood butter (bees wax and tung oil) to finish the bowl.

Step 8: Done

The bowl I made today is on the right, with another bowl I prepared earlier.



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    very cool. is it difficult to turn? I'm expecting it to be quite grabby on the tool and that the glue is quite hard.

    1 reply

    Hi... Not really difficult to turn - I would classify it as medium hardness wood. Similar to Australian gum (eucalypt) which is what I turn most of the time. Just keep your tools sharp