Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Priscilla's Bowl, continued

Hi Everyone,

It's really cold this morning after last night's snow extravaganza so I just went out for a little while today to work on Priscilla's bowl. You'll recall that the exterior needed it's finish sanding done and then it needs to be hollowed out and here are a couple of photographs about that.

Fine grain woods like maple will finish beautifully but they require a lot of sanding to get to that point. This bowl has a lot of beautiful grain patterns but it also has some torn grain on the end grain ends that has to be sanded smooth. You can dry sand it or you can wet the surface down with mineral spirits:

This will really help smooth down the surface and get rid of small, micro scratches and torn grain. It also lets you see what the final color of the bowl will be. It also dampens down the dust from sanding. The next two photos show the bowl during this process:

I've sanded the surface to 400 grit and then polished it with 0000 steel wool. It's now time to flip it over and begin hollowing it out.

Here is a photo of my trusty Nova chuck attached to the foot of the bowl ready to be attached on the lathe:

And here it is on the lathe. I'm going to use my roughing gouge to remove most of the interior. Once that's done I'll switch to a bowl gouge:

Hollowing a bowl is a gentle process that is akin to sculpting. If you find that you are really working hard to cut the wood, either your gouge is dull or you're setting yourself up for a catch, which can knock the bowl off the lathe and is upsetting to have happen. Slow down and enjoy the process.

Here is a photograph of the outside of the rim of the bowl. I want to keep that crisp, clean line so I'm going to be staying away from that area for now and just concentrate my attention on the center area of the interior of the bowl:

And here is the bowl after about 15 minutes of turning. It's about half empty at this point:

You can see the pile up of wood shavings at the base of the bowl. After it's done and before I take it off the lathe for finishing, I'll take big handfuls of the shavings and turn on the lathe to about 800 rpm and gently press the shavings into the spinning wood. This will give it a final polish that is really beautiful to see.

Ok, tomorrow we have more hollowing and the beginning of the finish process for the interior of the bowl.

See you then,



  1. I love that rim, really beautiful detail! :) Next time I do a bowl, I try to do something like that! :)

  2. Hi Saaara,
    The first time I saw a rim like that was on a tray that had been made in the 1700's, when America was still a colony of England. The tray was made out of cherry wood and the "ribbon" had been carved into the rim. It was a very beautiful and elegant way to make a rim. And it was hand carved! Amazing craftsmanship.
    Take care and thanks for writing!