Cherry bowl...

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Project by dmann posted 04-10-2009 03:32 AM 1875 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a cherry bowl that I roughed out last year on my old lathe and forgot about. I Have been chewing through wood so quickly on the new lathe that I actually have time to spend on things like finishing now :)

After I was happy with the shape I created a wire burning tool out of some old house wiring I had lying around to burn the line around the rim. I created bottom groove with a parting tool laid flat and colored it with a pencil so I didn’t get any color bleed.

I started finishing with some generic Minwax gloss poly I got from Wal-Mart but wasn’t happy with it. I sanded it off and finished with 6 coats of Watco “Wipe On Poly”. I am happy with the results, definitely gives a nice shiny finish if you are patient enough to apply multiple coats.

Anyone have suggestions on what to do (if anything) between coats of wipe-on poly? I applied light coats with a paper towel and the poly seemed to apply pretty smooth (much smoother than if I used a brush)—but still had some waves and ripples. I tried some steel wool between coats but not sure if it helped or hurt.

-- David / Durham, NC

9 comments so far

View LesB's profile


1726 posts in 3440 days

#1 posted 04-10-2009 05:10 AM

Pretty bowl.
As far as I know poly is non toxic after it dries but I prefer to use a specific salad bowl finish. Behlen’s is my preference if you can find it (Rocklers has it in their catalog) or I use Generals. Generals goes on thinner so it takes more coats to get any build up. I sand with 400 grit paper between the first 2 or 3 coats and then just buff use 0000 steel wood between the last couple of coats. Sometimes I finish with the white 3M pad and paste wax (carnuba) to smooth off the final coat and give it a nice feel. All that I do on the lathe. Most of my work is done with a chuck and I leave the recess in the bottom so I can remount the work. I have even had friends wear out the finish on salad bowls (several years of almost daily use) and I was able to put them back on the lathe and refinish them.
Now you need salt and pepper mills to go with the bowls. Another fun project. You might check out my posting on a pepper mill with a salt shaker in the capstan.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4297 days

#2 posted 04-10-2009 01:03 PM

Very nice.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View PGreene's profile


114 posts in 3427 days

#3 posted 04-10-2009 01:09 PM

I think Les does about the same as I do. Wipe on poly is great for bowls. I personally use 400 grit paper and synthetic scuff pads instead of steel wool. Unless you are buying the nice long strands of steel wool from a woodworking supplier and not the stuff from Lowes or Home Depot, you will get a lot of little fibers that may get caught in the finish. The best thing you can do though is the wax at the end. Any paste finishing wax is fine, but the more you do it you might want to purchase some Renaissance Wax for a really bright shine.

-- Patrick

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3819 days

#4 posted 04-10-2009 01:30 PM

David, this is a nice bowl and I like the rim detail that you added to the turning. Cherry is my personal favorite and I like the look of this bowl.

Les and Patrick have some good advice with regards to finishing the bowl. One suggestion I would have if you want to save yourself some money is don’t toss the Minwax poly but cut it with mineral spirits to make your own wipe-on poly. The Watco product is 35% gloss poly that has been diluted with mineral spirits. I normally like to use about a 50% mix since it will build a finish with fewer applications.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4061 days

#5 posted 04-10-2009 03:13 PM

Very handsome bowl. The color in a few years will be outstanding.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Steffen's profile


326 posts in 4032 days

#6 posted 04-10-2009 06:10 PM

Beautiful cherry bowl…

-- Steffen - Kirkland, WA

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3582 days

#7 posted 04-10-2009 08:21 PM

Nice bowl it looks well proportioned thanx for showing regards Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View dmann's profile


82 posts in 3804 days

#8 posted 04-12-2009 06:28 AM

Thanks for the kind comments.

PGreene : I was using cheap steel wool, I think I’ll try the sandpaper and non-woven pads next time.

Scott: Thanks for the tip I will thin it down and see how it goes.

I forgot to mention the bowl is 7” in diameter and 2.75” high.

-- David / Durham, NC

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3159 posts in 3106 days

#9 posted 09-24-2010 02:49 AM

Very nice! Cherry is one of my favorite woods, as well. Personally, I’d use lacquer, appropriately thinned. Again, it won’t build fast, but the finish will be something to write home about, whether satin or gloss. I have actually had pretty good luck wiping on the water based Minwax using an old handkerchief, believe it or not, but it was on a stationary object, I didn’t do it on a lathe.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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