My First Project (Sapele Bowl)

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Project by Craig Havran posted 04-07-2011 03:14 PM 1642 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
My First Project (Sapele Bowl)
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I got my bowl finished last night. It’s a 7” bowl made of Sapele finished with a friction polish. Had a couple issues with getting the exterior shape to it as I really didn’t know what tools to use (or really how to use them). The interior also gave me issues as I could not get the very center cleared out that a member of this site gave me the solution. I was initially going to give this bowl away, but with everything that I’ve learned just making this plain bowl I’ve developed an attachment so now I’m going to keep it. It’s not perfect as I didn’t take the amount of time sanding that it deserved, but I am still quite proud of it. Thank you to those that offered assistance in my blog questions. Although I feel like I am more of a “Lumberbenchwarmer”, I hope to someday be a true “Lumberjock”. Thanks all.

-- "There's plenty of time to read the instruction manual when you're laying in the hospital bed". - Dad

7 comments so far

View Cousinwill's profile


131 posts in 2854 days

#1 posted 04-07-2011 04:14 PM

Not bad at all !!A+ It looks better than my first bowl. I would keep it too !!!!!! I understand the attachment to your bowl. It is neat to take a block of wood and turn it into something to be proud of. I also can relate to not knowing what you are doing or how to do it. My father-in-law taught me the basics to turning solid bowls and had planned on teaching me the ropes of segmented turning. His health got to bad for him to teach me the segmented turning. I learned most of it on my own, which meant alot of mistakes !!!!!!! I finally got the hang of it. Keep turning and you will learn something new each time !!!!!!! Anytime you have questions feel free to ask. You said you didn’t take the amount of time in sanding that the bowl deserved. I understand that too !! Sanding is not the most fun but it can make or break your project. I don’t know how you sanded it but I will give you info. on how I sand mine. I use 80, 100, 150, 220 grit sand paper, in that order. All the sanding is done with the bowl attached to the lathe and running. After sanding I apply a couple of coats of finish and let each coat dry. After 3 of 4 coats I reattached the bowl to the lathe and sand it with 320 grit sandpaper. This helps remove all the tiny wood fibers that raised up during the application of the finish. I apply another coat or two and call it good !!!!!

-- William from the oldest town in Texas

View Bertha's profile


13521 posts in 2657 days

#2 posted 04-07-2011 04:20 PM

I think it’s spectacular and vastly nicer than my first bowl. Definitely hold onto it.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View a1Jim's profile


117061 posts in 3541 days

#3 posted 04-07-2011 04:41 PM

Welcome to Ljs
This is a great looking bowl

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3677 days

#4 posted 04-07-2011 06:21 PM

Very nice bowl for a first try, you can always drop me a PM if you need some advice about how a tool works or anything about turning. It is what I do.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4211 days

#5 posted 04-08-2011 02:22 AM

Very nice turning, I’ve got some of the same wood I’m going to make a bowl out of too. Gorgeous, keep up the nice work.

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

View peteg's profile


4270 posts in 2787 days

#6 posted 04-08-2011 09:55 AM

Nothing shabby about this piece, you did very well, just keep that lathe running & you will learn something everyday.
You will eventuall get down to “wet sanding” with oil to 1500or 2000 grit because you can see a minute scratch & on it will go ( I love it when someone new comes along & joins in) then you want to texture it, pyro it, dye it then you will want to …. it, lots of help/advise avaiable :))))
welcome to turning & LJ’s my friend

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View RichardH's profile


295 posts in 2966 days

#7 posted 04-09-2011 03:37 PM

Looks like you are off to a really good start. My advice is to get your hands on some free wood – I’ve found lots here just keeping my eyes open when I’m driving around and checking craigs list for posts for free firewood (often shows up after people chop down trees in their yards). The main reason I’m advising this is so you can turn lots of stuff without worrying about it too much. I kind of got into woodworking the same way you are and this helped me more than anything…just experiment, chuck things up, spin them, break them and do it all over again – guarantee you will surprise yourself with a few and will definitely get the “feel” for things a little faster. See how thin you can get a piece, try different oils, oil varnish blends, etc. One other benefit is that the green wood is so much easier and more pleasant to turn. Beyond that, get very good at your sharpening of the tools and keep em sharp…

-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

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