How to turn wood into a bowl? DIY Guide

How to turn wood into a bowl? DIY Guide

There's something about a hand-turned wooden bowl that just feels special. Maybe it's the way the grain of the wood catches the light, or how it feels in your hands as you turn it around and around, watching the shape slowly emerge. If you're interested in learning how to make your own bowls, read on! I'll walk you through the steps involved in creating this beautiful piece of art.

Let's make sure we have our face and eyes to the end of the project.

We all want to be safe, but sometimes it feels like we can never get enough. That is why my favorite part about wearing these safety glasses was seeing how much better everything looked with a full face shield blocking any possible debris from getting into your eyes in case something does happen!

Let’s Begin

Step 1

X marks the Spot

First, we need to find the center of our bowl blank. To do so use a compass and place its point on one corner opposite another pair of drawn lines that form an X in between them (the middle). Expand this segment by drawing outwards along each side until you reach where they meet again—this is your starting point for creating circles around both inside as well outside areas! 

Step 2

Prep the Wood

The bowl blank needs to be turned into the lathe so it can reduce rough-turning time. The best way of doing this is by removing any excess corners from our bowls and then sanding them down until they are smooth enough for finish work!

Step 3

Affix the Faceplate

The faceplate is probably the most secure way to mount bowl blanks. Center the faceplate over your bowl blank. Get out that drill and find screws that match up with what you have installed on each side of this thing. Screw on the faceplate to the wood. 

Step 4

Mount the wood

Gently thread the faceplate on the headstock spindle until it seats firmly and securely to itself. Rotate your bowl blank, making sure nothing touches any tools or rests as you go along--and then move them in about an inch from where they are now so that there's no interference when turning at low speeds, then we can move on to higher speeds.

Step 5

Give it the Curves and Rounds it deserves

This is the step in which we begin shaping our wood. Start in lower settings and gradually increase speeds. Using a sharpening tool at an angle of the bowl blank, begin shaping the wood. As we have sharp corners initially for a few rounds it is going to be bumpy. After a couple of rounds it begins to smoothen out with the perfect curves.

Step 6

Cutting and Shaping

The right hand should never be steering or pushing into the wood when making bowls. Instead, it guides and positions tools along with its thumb over top of gouge while maintaining contact at all times so you can feel how each cut will affect your workpiece's shape before moving on to the next section of bowl blank side (or other shaping task). Your left serves only as a support during this process - don't worry about where exactly those fingers go since they'll find their place quickly without much guidance from us!

Step 7

Flip the Bowl 

Now that we have a fully externally shaped bowl blank we have got to flip and reverse it to begin working on the inside. Remove the faceplate from the bottom of the bowl. Reverse the bowl and hold in position with your right hand. Using the left hand position and clamp the bowl to the jaws of the chuck. Make sure it can easily rotate. Do not tighten the bowl very tightly to the system. The bowl should not wobble in any parts as this may disrupt the whole process.

Step 8

Get the Face Smooth and the Rim Right

After clamping the bowl we have to work on the front or the face of the bowl. In order to get the face right we have to true and smoothen the face of the bowl. In this step it is wise to go at slow speeds. The larger the bowl the slower the lathe speed should be, for that precise smoothening.

From the center mark the width of the rim so that we can move forward to the fun part.

Step 9

The Fun Part

Let's begin removing the insides of the bowl. Small arcing passes to remove the material is the best way to go. Do not try to get huge chunks out in one go. Small slivers at a time will give better results. Start your way through the periphery and go for the middle part towards the end. This is because we have clamped the bowl to the jaws giving all the tension to the middle of the bowl. Trying to remove the middle portion in the beginning will disturb this equilibrium.

Step 10

Sand it till Smooth

Before we get into this grab on your respirator as we are going to be needing this. This process is sure to make sparks fly, or atleast small particles of dust. With the help of a power drill with a foam pad let's begin the sanding process. Initially begin with a 80 grit and progressively increase the grit size for that effective sanding and smooth finish. 

Step 11

The Satisfying Part

Applying the finish has got to be the most satisfying part of woodworking projects. This is where the true beauty of the wood shows. There are many oils that can be used for this process but we have found that the most effective is a type of LInseed oil and Beeswax blend. These are water resistant and just need a single coat to get the job done. Remember only thin layers are to be applied. Remove excess with a tissue paper and leave to rest for 24 hrs. After that give it a light buff and you are ready to show the world what you have just created.

Check out this link for a variety of bowl blanks from our store.