EZ Bowl From 1 Board on the Lathe




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.

Happy turning!



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    16 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I found it to be easier to use a hole saw to cut out the center of most of the boards before you glue them. Saves on a lot of lathe work and the inside circles can be glued and reused for candle pillars or weed pots.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Beautiful bowl!

    To avoid the problem you mention in step 7 (faceplate screws) I glue the piece over a sacrificial piece of wood. It works well. I made 4 or 5 "chucks" welding a nut on a large washer, and doing 3 holes in this. The sacrificial piece has a hollow center, to facilitate cutting it when the work is finished.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I think that is a very beautiful bowl that you have made. I have a lathe myself and have made bowls and lots of other things. I find it relaxing and very rewarding to create something filled with so much beauty. Keep turning!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nic Work Man !!!!

    Please LEarn To make Hookah (Shishah ) Body


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Good job! I'm curious if redwood would be too flaky for regular cutting on a lathe. No doubt it's easy to cut though. I suppose you have nice clear (knot free) pieces? I've heard that basswood is ideal for turning. But you now have a nice planter bowl there with a solid base.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Small clarification suggested: Step 2 is crosscutting, not ripping. Ripping is along the grain, but you're cutting across the grain. Same typo in the Tools Required part of Step 1.

    Welcome back to the world of wood turning. :-)


    6 years ago on Introduction

    If you had a RingMaster, you could have made eight bowls the same size from that same board.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable, just one warning to first timers. DO NOT USE DRY WALL SCREWS! They seem to be the ones everybody has lying around, but are far too brittle, and can snap under the torque of the lathe, which could possibly send your wood flying in an unknown direction. Use stainless steel if possible. Finally, keep track of where they are, and how deep they are, you don't want to hit them with your chisel. The bowl looks great though, good job!


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    thanks! I haven't tried segmented yet, I was too antsy to get going after not turning for 15 years or so, this got me back into it.