Bowl- Largest one I have made

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Project by davidmackv posted 04-23-2014 02:03 PM 1007 views 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a bowl I turned from a piece of spalted maple firewood. It is the largest bowl I have turned yet. The wood had an indentation in it, so I worked it into the side of the bowl for a bit of character. It is 6 inches wide and 2 inches tall. I am still struggling with getting the end grain of the wood smooth. I keep getting some tear out. I guess my tools may not be sharp enough or I am too aggressive with the cut.

14 comments so far

View woodshopmike's profile


222 posts in 1082 days

#1 posted 04-23-2014 03:11 PM

That piece does have some nice color to it and good call with leaving a bit of the natural edge on the bowl. It takes a while to master endgrain tear out. I find that Maple is worse about this than some of the others. I sharp tool is essential, doubly so for finishing cuts. If you’re close by I’d be willing to lend a hand. If not, there is probably a wood turners club in your area, and they could give you some pointers in no time. Also, the aaw is an excellent resource for all things woodturning. If you’ve already heard of them, then you’re on the right track!

BTW, I like the under cut you did on the inside of your bowl. Nice touch.


View atchison32's profile


153 posts in 2330 days

#2 posted 04-23-2014 03:29 PM

What is this “firewood” you speak?

View davidmackv's profile


317 posts in 1066 days

#3 posted 04-23-2014 03:38 PM

Thanks for the offer Mike. I live in Kentucky. Woodcraft in Lexington, Ky gives classes. I need to go to one. I don’t have very good tools and I do not know how to sharpen them properly. Everything I do is trial and error and watching you tube videos.

View woodshopmike's profile


222 posts in 1082 days

#4 posted 04-23-2014 04:26 PM

Yeah, Kentucky is just a little far to drive :)

Here are a few tips tool wise that you’ll probably hear from others. First and foremost, sharp “crappy” tools beat the pants of the best dull tools! A bench grinder makes life sooooo much easier. If you don’t have one, check out craigslist. I think I got mine for $25 and its a decent unit.

Secondly is to learn the proper technique and tool presentation. Turning is a lot more fun than sanding. The activity as a whole is greatly improved even more when you’re not worrying about catches because you know how to present the tool to the wood! BTW, if I’m being preachy tell me to hush, I’m just excited to pass along information I’ve worked hard to learn!

And Third. We all know that hobbies are expensive, woodworking is no different. To save money, identify what you want to turn/do most. Spend your hard earned cash there. Also, I don’t recommend buying from big box stores. I love woodcraft, I love Rockler,, and so on, but I only shop there if I have a coupon or a dire need that only these big guys can fill. Great tools are expensive. However, Thompson Lathe Tools are cream of the crop and very affordable when you compare him to the other guys. You can find lots of reviews and high praise of his tools across the web, including on my blog in the reviews section. He sells his tools unhandled which brings down the price and affords you the ability to make your own wooden handle, metal handle or buy a modular handle.

So to recap. First, keep your tools sharp! Proper tool presentation! Tools worth bragging about!

I watch lots of youtube videos too! It’s a great way to learn. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your work.



View davidmackv's profile


317 posts in 1066 days

#5 posted 04-23-2014 04:57 PM

Thanks for the info Mike.

View hoss12992's profile


3809 posts in 1311 days

#6 posted 04-24-2014 04:32 AM

Great job on the bowl. Mike is right, and good advise. Cheap aint always cheap. Good quality tools, and a good grinder sure make life alot easier.

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View davidmackv's profile


317 posts in 1066 days

#7 posted 04-24-2014 11:45 AM

I have a good grinder, but only tools I have are 2 craftsman and 3 home made ones the guy gave me when I bought the lathe. They are pretty bad. I just can’t afford to buy new ones yet, but a 3/8 bowl gouge is on my wishlist.

View LesB's profile


1228 posts in 2861 days

#8 posted 04-24-2014 04:53 PM

I think you did a great job with your limited resources.
As stated earlier, maple end grain can be a problem and even worse if it is spalted and starting to get soft. I occasionally resort to 60 grit sand paper and work my way up from there. Be sure to wear a dust mask when working with spalted wood…that stuff is a fungus and can do a job on your lungs.

-- Les B, Oregon

View davidmackv's profile


317 posts in 1066 days

#9 posted 04-24-2014 07:42 PM

Yeah, I always wear a dust mask, especially when sanding.

View Xyloid_Curt's profile


125 posts in 1505 days

#10 posted 04-30-2014 02:03 PM

I get great results minimizing tearout by using a scraper. My favorite is a Sorby 1inch.

-- Xyloid Curt "Exposing the hidden beauty in wood"

View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2285 days

#11 posted 04-30-2014 03:34 PM

You did a fine job on this bowl.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View GreenfireLatheLady's profile


26 posts in 927 days

#12 posted 04-30-2014 07:18 PM

Love that you incorporate the “flaws” of the wood into your design…gives it lots of character. Working with endgrain is always hard. Depending on the wood, I’ve found that misting the endgrain with water, then sanding with 60-100 grit sandpaper will flatten it down a bit. But I have finished some fuzzy bowls too!

-- --I live for sawdust.

View davidmackv's profile


317 posts in 1066 days

#13 posted 04-30-2014 10:47 PM

Thanks for the compliments and ideas.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

16782 posts in 2524 days

#14 posted 05-08-2014 05:34 PM

That is a very nice bowl, David. I love that wood!!!!!!!!
I have found that I can cut end grain with very little tear out if I use a sheer scrape cut with a bowl gouge. It takes off very fine shavings and seems to clip that end grain pretty smooth.

Also to smooth out the end grain area, I often stop the lathe and sand just that area real smooth before sanding while spinning. It blends it in pretty good.

Keep the chips flying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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