I don’t consider myself an accomplished turner…yet. Though, I’m working on it! I like to turn and the relative instant gratification that turning projects can offer. I had not turned anything in a while but, recently I spied a small off-cut of Walnut in the shop that was left over from the sofa table project. It looked like it had a bowl hiding inside it. Read on and I’ll walk you through the process I followed to create the Walnut bowl.
The stock for the bowl started at about 8″ x 8″ x 3″ thick. I found the center of the stock and outlined the largest circle I could fit within the square. At the band saw I rough trimmed the stock round to make the truing up at the lathe easier. I mounted the trimmed stock to my faceplate centering it as best as I could. The faceplate was mounted to the side of the stock that will be the inside of the bowl so, the screw holes will eventually be turned away.
Once mounted on the lathe, with a bowl gouge I trued the edge until round and then flattened the face at low speed. With the stock true and balanced I started to rough out the outside shape of the bowl and also created a tenon that will be used to hold the bowl in a scroll chuck when hollowing out the inside.
In the picture you can see the rough shape of the outside of the bowl. With the outside turned I removed the stock from the face plate and mounted the tenon into the scroll chuck. Depending on the type of jaws your chuck has the tenon must be shaped appropriately. My chuck jaws have a slight dovetail recess so, I angles the sides of my tenon slightly to fit the jaws. It’s also important to be sure that the tenon does not bottom out in the chuck jaws because that tends to make the jaws grip a bit unstable.
The inside of the bowl was hollowed with a bowl gouge and finished off with a scraper. This was done slowly starting at the center of the bowl and working toward the outer edge while deepening the bowl. i worked the interior of the bowl until the walls were a fairly uniform 1/4″ thick. Once the hollowing was completed I sanded the interior with 100, 150, 180, and 220 grit sandpaper while turning on the lathe. With the interior sanding completed I applied a coat f Watco Natural Danish Oil to the inside, wet sanding it with 320 grit wet/Dry paper.
Next, I created a friction chuck from a piece of scrap. With some padding on the inside of the bowl I reversed it and applied pressure against the jam chuck with the tail stock. Centering the bowl to get it to run true was not too difficult because I had left the tail stock depression in the tenon from when the outside was turned. With the lathe running a slow speed I carefully turned away the foot leaving a small nub at the tail stock for support. Again, I sanded with the same grits and then applied and wet sanded Danish Oil to the outside of the bowl.
With the bowl largely completed. I removed it from the lathe and carved off the nub from the foot with a carving gouge and sanded the foot smooth. I signed the bottom with Sharpie and with a little oil applied to the foot, the bowl was complete. You’ve gotta’ love being able to complete a project in an afternoon!