Thursday, August 25, 2011

Next Project: The Drinking Bowl: Discussion and Plans

Hi Everyone,

As I mentioned in my earlier post, our next project will be a drinking bowl.

Now, what is a drinking bowl?

In the Middle Ages and probably earlier, Northern Europe and the British Isles made their kitchenware out of wood and it seems from relics that have been recovered, most people used bowls for eating and drinking. These areas also had a long tradition of wood turning on pole lathes, a lathe that utilized the natural springiness of tree saplings to power a lathe (there are many pole turners on the Internet and one of the better known is a gentleman named Robin Wood, who is located in the UK. He makes a living turning bowls and plates and other stuff with a pole lathe and you can see how he does this by going to YouTube and searching for Robin Wood Bowls. He has a series of videos that show how this is done). Since very few people owned tables at this point most bowls had a very rounded shape so people could hold them comfortably in their hands. Contrast this with bowls that are produced in contemporary times- these bowls have a much flatter shape with a wide foot. This is because these modern bowls are designed to be used on a table.

See this photo:

The dark blue bowl has a much wider foot than the light blue bowl and it's the design of the light blue bowl that we're going to try to emulate:

So here's what we're going to do: We'll go down to the workshop and get some scrap red birch and some scrap mahogany and mark it for cutting:

Since our light blue bowl is about 5 inches in diameter, we'll cut out our blanks about 6 inches in diameter:

Next, we'll coat them well with Titebond glue and stack them together. I'm going to place the mahogany blank on the top so the bowl will have a dark red rim:

And lastly we'll clamp them together:

Hmmmm.....this looks like a large wood cookie with glue for icing.

The label on the glue bottle says to leave this clamped for 24 hours so we'll come back tomorrow evening and take the clamps off and see how we're doing. If all is well we'll place it on the lathe and begin turning a small drinking bowl similar to the light blue bowl in the photo. Red birch and mahogany both turn very cleanly so I'm anticipating a nice present for my friend.

See you tomorrow,

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