Epoxy Wire Bowl




About: I have an unhealthy relationship with pallet wood. I make fast paced and entertaining build videos on my YouTube channel that are made for everyone, but with the ultimate goal to get the younger generations ...

This bowl is a wedding present for my sister and brother-in-law. The base of this bowl is made from spalted beech from a fallen branch off of a 120 year old beech tree that was saved from the fire wood pile. I had a busted ethernet cable that I ripped open and embedded in a two-part epoxy (he is an electrical engineer). The top segmented rings are made from poplar pallet wood and reclaimed mahogany deck balusters.

Matt Cremona did a similar bowl turning and Peter Brown made a bracelet but I always thought it would look cool to add a bit of wood into the mix. This is the result of that.

Step 1: Cutting Down the Log

I start with the base of the bowl. This log is the branch of an old beech tree that has some spectacular spalting inside.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get my chainsaw started and I was on a time crunch, so I had to cut the log down with the "overcompensation blade" in my sawzall.

There she is, ready for the lathe! Cut down to 10" tall.

Step 2: Roughing Down the Log

I attach the face-plate as close to center as I can determine from the funky shape.

With my chainsaw not working and the piece being too large to fit in my bandsaw, I had to take down the corners with a hammer and chisel.

Once it's as balanced as I can get it, I start roughing it out. It starts off pretty bouncy!

Step 3: Shaping the Bowl

I decided it was too tall for what I wanted, so I scored it on the lathe and then cut it down on the bandsaw with the table at a slight tilt.

I remount the piece to the lathe and round off the bottom of the bowl. Once I'm satisfied with the shape, I cut out a hole to mount the chuck in.

I remove the piece from the face-plate and mount it to the chuck, then remount this to the lathe for hollowing.

Here is the roughed out bowl. I decided it needs a little more flair however, like a typical Jackman build.

Step 4: Segmented Form & Rings

I use my wedgie sled on my table saw to cut rings both for a form and also for a few segmented rings.

I glue 24 segments in a line and apply glue to all of the joints.

Then it's just a matter of rapping them up in a ring until they dry.

Same thing with the segmented rings.

Step 5: Pouring Epoxy Ring

The segmented forms are hot glued down to a piece of melamine. Need to make sure that this is sealed up 100% because epoxy is going to be poured between the two rings.

I had this broken ethernet cable saved in case I had a cool idea for it. I chopped it down into random lengths and pulled the wire cover off of it.

Now that's a cool texture, these will be perfect!

I mix up some 2-part epoxy and pour it into the form.

I then stuff all of the pieces of the ethernet wires into the form with the epoxy.

A few wires wrangled free. I did this form in a few pours to make it easier for the bubbles to escape and also to keep it from getting too hot. Curing epoxy is an exothermic reaction, so if this was all poured at once it would give off a ton of heat and be likely to cure too quickly and probably crack.

Step 6: Sanding & Gluing Segmented Rings

I use the disk sander in my lathe to flatten down the segmented rings.

First glue-up is done by clamping the 3 segmented rings together.

Step 7: Filling Bowl Cracks

I use the disk sander in my lathe to flatten down the top of the bowl.

While that dries, I use milliput (a 2 part epoxy putty) to fill in any cracks that formed in the bowl.

Step 8: Final Glue-up

Second glue-up is done when the segments and epoxy putty are dry and cured. To attach the bowl, epoxy ring, and segmented rings together, I use some more 2-part epoxy.

Step 9: Final Shaping the Outside

Time to mount this ugly beast to the lathe!

Luckily it's a pretty clean process. (ㆆ_ㆆ)
I shape down the outside of the bowl first. The epoxy is very hard, so you have to take it really slow compared to the rest of the bowl... at least the epoxy noodles are fun though.

This is after forming the outside down to shape and rough sanding it. Looks pretty ugly at this point still, but I can start to see my vision.

Step 10: Final Shaping the Inside

I then do the same on the inside of the bowl and form that to shape keeping the wall thickness to about 1/2".

More epoxy noodles on the inside. It takes some time to get this down to shape, but the exposed wires are starting looking cool at this point. Luckily the wires are copper, so they are soft enough to cut with the carbide tools.

Step 11: Sanding

I rough sand the inside and outside of the bowl all the way up to about 600 grit.

The wood is nice and shiny at this point, but the epoxy is still foggy. I use micromesh sanding pads to fix that - these range from 1500 up to 12000 grit. Once you get to the highest grit, you can really see into the epoxy to see the wires.

Step 12: Finishing

I applied finish at this point, which is a linseed oil / beeswax mix. I put a few coats of this on and buff it to a satin finish.

Step 13: Burning & Branding

I engrave the name of the bride/groom and date of the wedding on the bottom of the bowl.

I also insert a wood medallion with my logo in the hole that was used to mount the bowl to the chuck because: #branding (plus it looks better).

Step 14: Glamour Shots

Thanks for checking out this build! For a more fun and exciting version of this build, be sure to watch the video:



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    21 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Hahahaha....I really like the hat! Beautiful bowl!


    2 years ago

    Wow! What an amazing work of art. You are very talented. Thanks for showing and writing out the tutorial. Do some more please!


    2 years ago

    Well done! A really BIG thanks for this sharing.


    2 years ago

    Very nicely done! I like the way the cables interact with the light and the transparent epoxy... great visual!

    One small suggestion... if you do that again... typical cables have a cord in them... grab it with a pair of pliers and pull... it will zip the insulation off in no time... then cut to length. (Save yourself some time.)


    2 years ago

    Wow. Exceptional work! Loved the combination of materials.


    2 years ago

    I did like Peter Brown's epoxy & wire bracelet, but this is an even better use for the material! Did you apply the finish to the epoxy as well?


    2 years ago

    Very cool! A combination of elements that just works, but that I would have never thought of.

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    Wow, you've made an incredible piece! I'm absolutely blown away. This is beautiful!

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    You are on a roll with some amazing projects. Bravo, bravo!

    I'm pleased to know I'm not the only person who's resorted to hacking down a log with a sawzall. Not ideal, but it certainly works! :)

    3 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks! I'm finally getting caught up on my posts. I'm thrilled people are enjoying them so much.

    It's hard to convey how painfully slow that sawzall process is haha


    Reply 2 years ago

    An I'ble a day keeps the doctor away. At least for us!


    2 years ago

    Awesomely crazy take on turned epoxy- adding the copper wires. Looks very interesting!

    1 reply

    That wood is amazing right? When I saw that I was so happy I didn't let it get chopped up to firewood. I'll be turning some beer tap handles from the same wood soon.