Power Carving a Bowl From a Reclaimed Beam





Introduction: Power Carving a Bowl From a Reclaimed Beam

About: I have always made things. My family has a history in the trades and we have always done a lot of work renovating our homes. As a child, I was encouraged to spend my days outside building tree forts and crea...

In this Instructable, I take you through the process of reclaiming a large beam and turning it into a power carved bowl. It was a very fun project and a very messy one as well! Keep scrolling down to see how I did it!


- Speedcutter Graff blade- http://speedcuttergraff.com/

- Fast Cap Glue Bot- https://www.amazon.com/FastCap-Glu-Bot-Glue-Bottle...

- Jet Parallel Clamps- https://www.amazon.com/JET-70412-12-Inch-Parallel-...

- DeWalt 4 1/2 " Grinder- https://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DWE402-2-Inch-11-Amp...

- RZ M2 Mesh Mask- https://www.amazon.com/RZ-Mask-M2-Black-X-Large/dp...

- Amazon Basics Tripod- https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-60-Inch-Lightw...

- Min Wax Wipe- On Polyurethane- https://www.amazon.com/Minwax-40910000-Wipe-Finish...

Step 1: Prepping the Wood

First off, let me say that this was a DUSTY and DIRTY experience! Probably the dirtiest I have ever been, and that is saying something!

I was sent a very unique package in the mail a few weeks ago. It was a blade for a grinder. A blade that is for power carving. What is power carving? Well imagine that you had a chisel and a hammer and were able to speed up your limbs to x1000, that is what a power carving blade is for. The blade is from Belarus, from a company called Speedcutter Graf, http://speedcuttergraff.com/.

Step 2: Assembly and Glue Up

While dumpster diving a while ago outside a construction site, I found this apx. 4 foot long laminated lvl beam. Basically really thick and good quality plywood. They are used as rafters in new house construction and this was apparently an off-cut that was thrown away. I was happy as a clam to find it. I love the look of all the layers in the wood. It looks like an archaeological dig site as I cut away the layers.

I took it to the shop, planed both sides smooth and co-planar and then chopped it up into 4 equal parts.I took the 4 pieces to the bench where I glued them into one huge block of wood. I used an excessive amount of glue at this phase because I needed to ensure that all the little nooks and crannies in this laminated beam were filled to make sure that there were no small pieces that could dislodge and shoot at my face at lightning speeds when I was carving.

Step 3: The Whirley Bit

Once everything was dried and set, I was ready to begin carving. First I must say, this blade scared me. Not that it wasn’t a blast to use, but the speed at which it took away material actually frightened me. When it first bit into the wood on it’s maiden plunge, the grinder shot back at me like a rocket. I showed my wife the footage and she yelled at me in anger. hahahaha. You need to remember, I do not have a variable speed grinder and the Dewalt rotates at nearly 9,000 rpms. The blade is rated for up to 12,000 rpms and I cannot even imagine…

Step 4: Holy Smokes Watch Out!

After securing the grinder tight against my body for a second go at it, I flicked the switch and began taking shallower passes. You would have thought I was using a hot knife through a block of butter. This blade sliced through the wood effortlessly and was a joy to use. I quickly hollowed out the bowl and rounded the corners and sides.

Step 5: Finalizing the Shape

After I had the rough shape, I used a flap disk on the grinder to smooth out the bumps and bring it to it’s final shape. You need to be careful because the flap disk is aggressive and can burn the wood when it is left in one spot for too long. After the flap disk, I brought out the random orbital sander and worked through the grits: 60, 120. 220.

Step 6: TA-DA!

After sanding, I gave it 2 coats of polyurethane finish to keep it water tight and to give it a shine. After cleaning up the piles of shavings and dust, the bowl was finished.

I hope you enjoyed the read through and learned a little bit about the process. As always, don’t forget to head over to my Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Patreon pages to show your support so that I can continue to make awesome content like this. Thanks for reading!



    • Water Contest

      Water Contest
    • Creative Misuse Contest

      Creative Misuse Contest
    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest

    15 Discussions

    Why is the tripod on your list ? Did I miss something?

    Great job! I love everything about your Instructable! I started something slightly similar last Spring but then Summer got in the way. I used a chainsaw attachment for the grinder. It works well but your blade looks so sweet I'm going to have to get one! Thanks for posting the link. They should be giving you commissions.

    3 replies

    That is so amazingly nice of you to say! :) I have always wanted the chainsaw attachment or the Holy Gallahad. The blade was wicked fun and scary at the same time. I highly recommend using it with a variable speed angle grinder, and the blade guard!!!

    I got the chainsaw attachment at Harbor Freight for $30 and it's been great! I know a lot of their stuff isn't but this attachment has worked well for me. The problem is I only have a 4" angle grinder and Graff's blade only comes in 5". I would have to remove the blade guard to use it. I wear garden gloves with thick, welding gloves on top while doing this. Do you think I stand a chance? How long did it take the blade to get to you? Thanks again for a great Instructable!

    I used a 4" grinder as well but the DeWalt grinder I used had an extra large guard on it. I WOULD NOT use this without a blade guard. It is just too dangerous. Also, after a couple trips to the emergency room where my glove got caught in the grinder and sucked my hand in, I never wear a glove when using grinder. This is all a personal choice, but always wear as much safety gear as you think warrants the safe operation of the tool.

    Its a very nice project but i think I'd rather do it on a lathe with a dust collector and not have the mess to clean up at the end. But a lot of skill with that grinder.

    1 reply

    Well then where would the fun be?! ;) The grinder gives you a sense of free form, the ability to sculpt with your hands in an open 3d space without the restriction of a co-planer system. It is a really fun process, trust me!

    That does look like fun, I love it when i get to break out the grinder. That blade looks like a beast.

    1 reply

    It is a monster! You have to really brace it in your hip.

    Wild! Congrats on the front page feature!

    1 reply