Cedar Log Wood Bowl




Introduction: Cedar Log Wood Bowl

About: Married father of 5 (4 boys and 1 girl). A Captain in the Fire Department with over 25 years of service. Grew up turning wrenches at my fathers garage. That turned into a love of building things with my hands.

A friend of mine asked me if I wanted some cedar logs he had from a tree he fell. Not necessarily knowing what to do with it, of course I said yes.

Step 1: Making a "chainsaw" Bowl It Is...

First let me start by saying, I have absolutely no experience making a bowl out of a log or using a chainsaw to shape it. I learned quite a bit while doing this. I think what I learned the most, was to shape the outside of the bowl first, before you hollow out the inside. Once I had hollowed out the inside of the bowl clamping it down became quite the challenge.

Step 2: Step 3 Through 137...

This was the most time-consuming part. First I realized I could not carve the wood using my existing tools. So I went on Amazon and bought a really good draw knife as well as a carving knife to get into the nooks and crannies. This took a very very long time. I can see why doing something like this is a work of art. The holes that you see in the bowl are due to my inexperience and inability to control the depth of my carving. Although I tried several ways to fill them in, ultimately I left them in place and I think they add a lot of character and a natural look. I probably spent about 30 hours carving this out sanding it and shaping it. I don't have any real advice to give you on how to carve wood or shape it other then something I read one time that Leonardo da Vinci had said when he was asked about his ability to sculpt with marble. All I did was remove the wood didn't look like the bowl in my head.

Step 3: The Finish...

I wanted to use bar top polyurethane sealer because I thought it would fill in the holes and create almost a glass effect... I tried several ways of sealing the backside of the hole so that when I pulled off the tape after the bar top had dried all you would see was the clear finish. This did not work, in fact, it sucked. So once I put the first coat on realizing I could not make that glass whole affect take place I was kind of stuck. Working with bar top sealer is very difficult, you get lots of runs and drips. You almost have to babysit it the entire time, catching drips and clearing them away, clearing off the brush, torching the bubbles, clearing the drips, adding more sealer, my God how many more commas can I give you. Let's just say it was a poor choice for a finish. After quite a bit of work to though, it came out pretty good. Actually, it looks like it's coated in glass so I guess that's pretty cool. If I had to do this again I would use a much more forgiving finish. Like some of that salad bowl finish stuff you can get at a woodworking store. That stuff is great.



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14 Discussions

I love that you really detailed how some things were hard but worth it and what your shortcomings are. I struggle with projects like this because i assume i dont have the skill. Knowing im not alone in these mistakes gives me comfort. I think this is beautiful and the holes make it look more rustic and elegant!! good work!

this has inspired me thanks for sharing

Makes me wish I had a chainsaw

Even though your bowl didn't turn out exactly how you wanted, it's still amazing!!! That's something I would spend money on :-D

I am doing a wood spoon instructable soon and it will be one spoons in that so hopefully this week sometime. Thanks

Looks good Corinbw. You should post it so we can see the pics larger.

sooo beautiful. i am gonna finish a cedar spoon in just a minute that matches this bowl like perfectly. haha i will post a picture of it on here when i am done even though it is not a bowl. if thats okay.

i had some holes in my kuksa that i made, and i just taped it on the inside and filled it with epoxy. i hope that can give you the clear glass-like look you saw in your head. mine is a small hole, but it worked for me.

Great advise on drilling the holes Vyger. I wish I'd thought of that. I will do that next time for sure. Your comment about the shavings makes me wish I would have saved some too. Next time...

Just looking at the picture I can smell the cedar. When I have planed down cedar I saved the shavings and stuffed them into an old nylons leg. You can then put it just about anyplace that you want to smell good, like a drawer or a closet. It doesn't last a really long time but it's nice for as long as it does.

The wood must have been pretty dry already since it doesn't appear to have done any cracking or splitting from what I can see.

And you are right, doing hand woodworking can take a long time. It helps me to appreciate some of the old wood working I have seen from many years ago. Those guys had to have spent many hours on the things they did.

If I remember correctly I believe one of the ways that I have seen to remove a uniform amount of wood is do drill little holes that are all the same depth all over. You then remove the wood until you hit the bottom of the hole and that way you know you have removed the same amount from everywhere. So if you drill 1/4 inch holes and then scrape out wood to the bottom of the holes it means you have taken out 1/4 inch everywhere.

This looks great. Cedar wood is so beautiful.

I love everything about this!! What a fantastic job! Thanks for sharing