Here's a quick and dirty example of a redwood bowl made on the wood lathe at Maker Place: http://www.makerplace.com/
This bowl started as one 1' x 8' board.
The 1 ft by 8 ft redwood board cost me $16 at the local lumber yard.
Tools required (All available for use at Maker Place):
Planer (not necessary if board faces are already VERY smooth/level)
Chop saw/table saw/hand saw/ any way to rip board into 1 ft pieces
Band saw (again, very helpful but not mandatory)
Wood lathe with faceplate, chisels
Step 1: Board Prep
Make sure the board is flat on both faces, if it isn't, run it through the planer on both sides. The edge condition doesn't matter.
Step 2: Cut the Board Into Equal Pieces
Rip the board into as many equal sized squares as possible
Step 3: Glue, Lots
spread a thin layer of quality wood glue over each piece, and clamp together, tightly and evenly.
Let dry over night.
Use lots of clamps!
Step 4: Band Saw Cut-out
Find the center of the square using 2 diagonal lines, then a compass to trace out as large a circle that will fit.
Use a band saw (hopefully) to cut out the curves.
The circle doesn't need to be anywhere near perfect, this is just the rough stage.
Step 5: Faceplate Mount
Mount the faceplate from the lathe to your circle, again using the center mark from before.
Use aggressive screws or lags to insure stability when on the lathe.
Use as many screws as possible, I even made more holes in the faceplate to take additional.
If your faceplate comes lose while on the lathe, your project is toast.
Step 6: Rough-out on the Lathe
Now the fun part.
Mount the blank on the lathe, ensuring the lathe is set at the lowest possible speed BEFORE mounting.
With the tool rest close to the work, and using a sharp gouge chisel, slowly chisel down until there are no flat spots.
Step 7: Final Shaping & Inside Hollow-out
When shaping always remember to keep the tool rest VERY close to your work.
Also remember to keep the chisels sharp throughout the turning. These two details will greatly lower the amount of chipping.
The less chipping the less sanding.
Hollow-out the inside to your liking. REMEMBER to check the depth of the faceplate screws so you don't hollow too far deep and hit the screws!
Step 8: Finishing
Once you have your shape, work out the rough patches with 80 grit sandpaper or so, working up to 220 grit or so. You can use a high RPM on the lathe here. Have a shop-vac nearby to catch the dust, and wear a mask!
Apply finishes or waxes with a clean rag, if you plan on eating out of it make sure they're food safe.
I used a simple paste wax here and buffed it to a shine.
All done! remove the faceplate, fill the bottom screw holes if desired and sand the bottom.