Introduction: From Scrap Plywood to 3-Pointed Bowl

About: Retired Navy that now works in the defense industry. Woodworking and woodturning is my hobby. I enjoy spending time in the shop as it is my time to be creative and relax.

As woodworkers, we tend to not throw much away. We’ll hang on to scraps and cut offs from previous projects until we find some use for them. With lumber prices these days, who can blame us? This project is no different.

I took inspiration from various plywood bowls I have seen, particularly this one. I remember seeing one similar to this and thought I’d give it a try. This is my attempt at a plywood 3-pointed bowl.

Always use caution when using power tools.


  • Piece of 3/4" plywood
  • Table Saw
  • Miter saw
  • Wood lathe
  • Clamps
  • Glue
  • Various Grits of Sandpaper
  • Finish of your choice (I used Howard's Feed-N-Wax)
  • Face shield
  • mask to protect your lungs while sanding

Step 1: Cutting and Gluing Up the Blank

I regret to say that I lost a bunch of pictures I took with my phone and I almost didn't write this Instructable. I was able to save some of the pictures. For the ones I lost, I substituted those pictures with some drawings on these steps. I hope this doesn't make this too difficult to follow.

  1. The first step in creating the blank for this project was to rip the plywood into 3/4 in. strips. (6 strips)
  2. Next, lay the strips out side-by-side and rotate every other strip 90 degrees.
  3. Glue the strips back together in this arrangement.
  4. Once the glue is dry, cross-cut the panel in to 6 squares and stack them, rotating every other one 90 degrees. Glue this stack together to complete the turning blank

Step 2: Turning the Bowl

Mount the cube-shaped blank into the lathe between opposing corners. Before I installed the live center on the tail stock, I had the corner of the cube inside the tail stock shaft. I then marked a line and then trimmed the corner off. This gave a better spot for the live center to meet up with the blank.

Start turning from the tail stack end, working your way towards the head stock. Go slow and take shallow cuts. It's very easy for your tools to catch on plywood so go easy. Once you've turned it down into a cone shape, go ahead and start sanding. After you have gone through the grits (80 - 600), turn a tenon approximately where it's marked on the picture. Once you've made your tenon, then part the rest of the blank just below the tenon.

Remove the blank from the lathe and install a jaw chuck. Insert the tenon and start turning the inside of the bowl. Again, take your time and make shallow cuts. Turn the lathe off frequently to check your progress. When you are satisfied with the inside of the bowl start sanding. Remove bowl from lathe and sand off the tenon.

Step 3: Finishing

Now that the bowl is completed and sanded it's time to put some finish on it. Using Howard's couldn't be any easier. I just applied a liberal amount all over the piece and allowed it to soak in for about 10 minutes then wipe off the excess. Again, I apologize for the lack of pictures. I hope the illustrations I provided suffice. Thanks for checking this out.

Plywood Contest

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Plywood Contest