Football Bowl

Introduction: Football Bowl

About: I am a 22 year old woodturner from Sydney. I have been wood turning for about 6.5 years and have completed my apprenticeship in cabinetmaking. I left my full time work to try and make it as a wood turner

This is my football shaped bowl. Its a simple project for the lathe that just has that added creativity.

What you need

- timber (2 pieces of good timber + 1 waste block)
- brass rods (mine came from hooks)
- epoxy glue

- pva glue

- wood lathe

- saw (I used a band saw however hand saws also work)

- clamps

- angle grinder

- sander

- drill

- jointer

more works at:

Step 1: Prepare Your Blank

I used jarrah for the good pieces and radiata pine for the waste block. The pine I got cheaply at the local hardware store. I had to run the jarrah over the jointer to get a good clean edge. After the edges are good they need gluing. I used a cheaper pva (not an expensive cross linking). This is strong enough to hold on the lathe but can be removed easily. I could have used a paper joint for a nice split.

After glued I cut it round using the band saw to remove most of the waste.

Step 2: Lathe Set Up

What speed should you be running the lathe at? Something I read a few years back that I stuck with was:

Dia (inch) x rpm = approx 6000 (therefore at 16 inch platter I was running at about 400rpm)

This is also not set in stone. For uneven pieces or other bigger pieces run the lathe slower and eventually build it up. I also tend not to go past 2500rpm on smaller diameter pieces as i don't see the need. It is a good safe standard but also do not go beyond what you are comfortable with.

With platters like this I also use the slow speed belt which you can see in the picture. It gives the lathe more torque and doesnt stall with the outer cuts

Step 3: Mounting to the Lathe and Turning the Back

Its easy to attach using a face plate. This is attached to the waste block in the middle. Screw length is not as important as long as its long enough for a good hold.

Shape the bottom with a bowl gouge just past the waste block. Shaping past there is not needed. With the gouge and the point of the skew make a recess for your jaws to grip in the waste block.

Sand to your desired finish working your way though the grits. I oil my pieces so I sand to a fine girt of 1200. If lacquering I would not go past 400

Step 4: Turning the Inside

Attach the platter in the recess with the jaws. Once again shape the inside with a bowl gouge just past the waste block and then sand. Use calipers to ensure you have an even thickness. It will be noticeable with the center cut out

A safety tip that I have always done with platters or large diameter works is use the tail stock to apply pressure. My logic behind this is when working on the outside or the platter there is more leverage as you are working further from the center. If you push too hard it can pop out of the chuck. Its always safer to keep the piece your working on, on the lathe.

Step 5: Removing the Center

Removing the center is as easy as splitting the joint or cutting the waste block near the join. I cut it with the band saw to ensure I didnt damage the bowl. Sand and aris the edge using a sander or sanding block

Step 6: Preparing the Pins

I found some hooks at the local hardware store that had a good diameter and length for this project. I cut of the angle and the screw thread using the angle grinder. As they are small pieces I held them down with a clamp. To remove the sharp edge a lightly arised them on the sander

Step 7: Putting the Pins In

Measure the center and find a suitable distance to place the other pins. I used 20mm spacing for 5 pins allowing for 25mm of exposed pin. Carefully drill straight holes with a depth that suits the length of your pins. I used tape on the drill bit to mark the depth.

Mix some epoxy and put it in the holes. The first side is easy to put the pins in by tapping them in with a hammer. The other side was harder as the clamp made it twist due to the angle on the turning. To solve this I first clamped the bowl lightly to my bench (seat), then put the clamp squeezing them together. Clean up the excess glue with a rag with terps.

Step 8: Finish

Give it a light sand and apply your finish. I used kunos oil. Its a brilliant natural oil that i use for almost everything.

Wood Contest

Participated in the
Wood Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Make It Bridge

      Make It Bridge
    • Game Design: Student Design Challenge

      Game Design: Student Design Challenge
    • Big and Small Contest

      Big and Small Contest



    That looks really nice, Simon! I'd be inclined to make one myself, except I'd glue the halves together and inlay the stitches in a lighter wood. I figure that'd increase the versatility a bit.


    8 years ago

    nice piece, looked nice as a complete platter with the different coloured woods.

    Simon Beggs Wood Turning
    Simon Beggs Wood Turning

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. Ive done a few bigger platters with diferent timbers and I think the split worked well for this one


    8 years ago

    I love all parts of this. I've never heard of the RPM rule before. As one of my favorite professors would always say "put that in the great Rolodex of life".