Bell from Avocado and turning tutorial

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Project by interpim posted 04-10-2010 08:13 PM 2267 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi all, this project takes a bit of explaining to occur… first, I was perusing LJ last night and noticed someone had posted a box that he had built for his grandmother. Well, I thought to myself, I have never made anything for my grandmother and I should make something to show my appreciation for her. Since she collects bells I decided a bell it shall be!

The tutorial portion is influenced by LJ as well. A fellow LJ was asking some questions about his new chuck and I thought what better way to describe my methods than take a bunch of pictures and write up how I do it step by step. Although I don’t consider myself anywhere near an expert, maybe my meager attempts can help someone else trying to get into turning.

You can click on any of the images to get a larger version.

First I find a nice log

Then I slice off however much I want to use with the bandsaw.

Once that is done, I take it over to the drill press and by looking at the wood I can determine where I want the mouth or opening of the bowl or vase and in this case a bell to be.

I drill a hole about 1/2” down centered on where the hole is, I use a 1 1/8” forstner bit… you could use a smaller drill and use the worm screw at this step if you wanted.

Here is the chuck I use when I turn most of my bowls since they are smaller sized. If you are doing larger stuff, you may want to use a larger set of jaws.

here is the wood chucked up with the chuck jaws spreading OUT, and the tailstock pulled up to provide support while rounding.

I turn the rough shape down to pretty close to the outside shape

then I pull the tailstock back and turn a recess, some call this a dovetail into the piece for the jaws to grip

here is the piece turned around and gripped by the chuck ready for hollowing

shot of the hollowing

Here is the bell after being hollowed and then final shaping conducted on the outside.

After this point I sanded down the piece to 600 grit applied a finish and turned off the bell with a parting tool. If you are doing a bowl, you could turn the piece around again in a set of flat jaws to turn off the tenon or dovetail and finish the bottom.

I opted to just turn this piece off and finish the top by hand.

And here is the finished piece… A bell for my grandmother!

Hopefully this will answer any questions for those that have never turned. If you have any questions please ask and remember to be safe and always use a face shield when turning.

-- San Diego, CA

10 comments so far

View knottysticks's profile


296 posts in 3228 days

#1 posted 04-10-2010 09:04 PM

Thanks I may just have to try this turning thing.

-- Everyday above ground is a good day.

View Loucarb's profile


2388 posts in 3644 days

#2 posted 04-10-2010 11:18 PM

Great tutorial.

View JWFox's profile


9 posts in 3167 days

#3 posted 04-11-2010 05:04 AM

I appreciate the thoroughness of your post. I am a brand new turner and I have noticed that the majority of online tutorials assume a person already knows the basics. Your posting gives me the info I need to try this myself. Thanks for sharing.

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3657 days

#4 posted 04-11-2010 05:28 AM

I’m glad you found it useful JWFox. Welcome to Lumberjocks. If you have any more questions ask away, there are plenty of folks on here that will help you however they can.

-- San Diego, CA

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4446 days

#5 posted 04-11-2010 06:48 AM

Nice bowl.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 3629 days

#6 posted 04-11-2010 08:49 AM

Great bell. Thank you for the how to. It was very informative.

What kind of sound did you end up with? Mine from babinga is just for looks. Sounds like a mud bell. haha

Keep it up.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View NormG's profile


6283 posts in 3203 days

#7 posted 04-11-2010 02:48 PM

Great idea. You can use logs for all kinds of useful items. love the step by step. I like pictures, they are like hands on instructions

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3657 days

#8 posted 04-11-2010 06:30 PM

the sound from the bell is a pretty low volume tink, and there is no ring since it is of course made of wood. I used the back end from a ruined pen kit to make the bell striker, so it has a bit of heft to it.

-- San Diego, CA

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4084 days

#9 posted 04-17-2010 09:27 PM

interpim, Thanks for the post and your reply to my question about the Barracuda2.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View WoodArtbyJR's profile


428 posts in 3164 days

#10 posted 04-19-2010 06:37 PM

When I was working at NASNI a couple of years ago I picked up a piece of avacado from a guy in La Mesa and turned it. WOW, I love this wood. The grain can be exquisit and turns very nicely. Nice bell. I may have to try this. I was able to find a few firewood sellers out by Ramona that had some pieces. Not easy to come by. GREAT post.

-- Jim Roberts, Port Orchard Washington

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