My First Big Bowl

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Project by thiswoodshop posted 07-16-2011 01:43 AM 2170 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was a challenge by it self, the blank was not balanced and it caused some concern when I started with this. I started with a very slow speed just to balance the blank first and once I achieved that I mounted it to my chuck. I oiled the bowl regularly during the process to prevent it from drying to quickly – Don’t know if that is the best idea or not. If anyone have any advice on preventing cracking in a peace whiles turning it please let me know. This was a peace of walnut root that I got from . I am pretty happy with the outcome of this, hope all my future turning projects turn out much better. I finished it with Minwax Tungoil Finish after a lot of sanding and I must say I really like the wooden look that the peace have. I thinh if i look back on this litle project the sanding was the worst part of it. The grid levels that was used for this where. 60,80,150,220,320 and then a wet sand with 500 and oil. worked really well and provided me with a very smooth finish bowl.

-- Mo... For safety is not a gadget but a state of mind. ~ "Eleanor Everet" -

9 comments so far

View Nick's profile


87 posts in 2995 days

#1 posted 07-16-2011 01:46 AM

really look the look of the wood. What is the size and final thinkness of hte bowl.

-- Nick, AZ. Wood is a canvas for God's art work, it is our job as woodworkers to figur out the best way to display it.

View thiswoodshop's profile


141 posts in 2698 days

#2 posted 07-16-2011 01:51 AM

The diameter is 9,5×3 high x 1,5 inches Deep. I don’t have a caliper yet to check the total thickness of this bowl.

-- Mo... For safety is not a gadget but a state of mind. ~ "Eleanor Everet" -

View Moby's profile


64 posts in 2901 days

#3 posted 07-16-2011 03:31 AM

Try leaving the blank in your shop for a couple of months or longer until the piece is pretty dry. Also, do your turning in two stages. First, rough out the bowl and leave the wall thickness very thick. Leave the piece to dry for one week or a couple of months depending on how dry it was to begin with, then turn it to final thickness.

View thiswoodshop's profile


141 posts in 2698 days

#4 posted 07-16-2011 04:05 AM

Thanks for the advice, it get pretty hot in the summer time here in SJV CA- up to 110F some days, so the blanks is on a ventilated shelve in the garage during these intense summer days. Will that effect or increase the rate the blanks crack?

-- Mo... For safety is not a gadget but a state of mind. ~ "Eleanor Everet" -

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21286 posts in 3247 days

#5 posted 07-16-2011 12:43 PM

The wood cracks as it dries out and shrinks. There is tremendous pressure around the diameter of a tree to make itself smaller as the water leaves and it pulls itself apart and cracks if it is solid. One thing you can do is get a long piece and seal the ends and let it dry naturally for years( it will check/crack on the ends) and then cut out the center without the cracks and turn it, but that does not guarantee it will not crack. The most popular way to do it is to turn a green piece to a uniform wall thickness and then as it drys, it will pull it self out of round (warp) and not apart so much ( crack) as it drys .Some guys will turn a piece to a uniform thickness ,say 3/4” and leave it set on the shelf for months to dry out naturally, then finish turning at a later date. Fruit woods seem to crack all during the process. I turned an apricot lamp 3 times ( filling the cracks with epoxy and sawdust each time) and the final turning cracked again after that. Be aware of that if you are asked to turn fruit wood.

On that walnut root piece your have, the grain is beautiful. If it was green when you turned it, you still have a lot of solid mass in the final product and as it dries it will shrink and crack the thick section. One thing you can do is WAIT until it is dry to about 8%. Fill all the cracks with epoxy and walnut saw dust or maybe turquoise dust and then mount it back in the lathe on that internal spigot and turn it again.

I was curious as to how you started the turning. Did you start between centers? if so, how did you get the internal spigot in the bottom?

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

View michelletwo's profile


2756 posts in 3157 days

#6 posted 07-16-2011 01:52 PM

Jim is right about drying wood. it’s a science & an art. Wood will do what it will do. My suggestion to you is to sharpen your tools and take light cuts. If you have to start a 60 grit, you are tearing the wood, not turning it. Keep at it, you will get better.

View thiswoodshop's profile


141 posts in 2698 days

#7 posted 07-16-2011 03:33 PM

Thanks for the advice, I screwed the blank down onto a base plate that mounted directly to the lath. Then turn the one side and made the grappling hole for the chuck. I turned that peace a weeks ago and let it sat on the lath for about 6 weeks in that hot garage. I try to sharpen my tools as often as I can on the wet sharpener I got from . I used the 6o grid more as shaping tool than anything else because of the trouble i have to when i cross over from end grain to cross grain. I still need to master that, its seems to want to grab more on that specific spot.

-- Mo... For safety is not a gadget but a state of mind. ~ "Eleanor Everet" -

View LesB's profile


1813 posts in 3585 days

#8 posted 07-16-2011 10:34 PM

There are just about as many ways to deal with wood as there are wood workers.

One method for drying wood quickly it to rough turn the piece then put it in a brown paper bag and micro wave it for a minute or two until it feel almost to hot to hold in your hand. (Assuming your spouse will let you use the micro wave) Then take it out and let it set in the slightly opened bag until it cools and then repeat the process. It may take many reheating to drive the moisture out depending on the original amount in the wood. You will notice the wood getting lighter in weight. The paper bag acts like a “steam kiln”, in that it helps balance the moisture of the outer surface of the wood with the inner wood reducing the stress caused when the outer surface dries faster then the center. I also watch the wood for any developing checks or cracks. If I see any I fill them with a thick super glue which almost always stops them getting worse. I use the thick version of the glue because it has a delayed setting time which allow it so seep down into the crack better without penetrating deeply into the wood around the crack like a thin glue would.
This also works when your are turning something and it starts to crack, split or has some other defect you need to cut through.

I would suggest for safety that when you start a large out of balance piece you also use the tail stock to provide additional support in the beginning. I recently turned a 20” out of balance blank with both sides supported and even at low speed it was causing my 600 pound lathe to vibrate. I would have hated to see it come off the lathe.

The is a method I use to start my mountings directly to my chuck. Using a circle template made of plywood, a router with a template guide and 8 degree dove tail bit I cut a recess in the blank the diameter and depth necessary to mount it on the chuck. I usually do this on the what will be the top of the piece then turn the bottom to completion including sanding. I make a second recess (or spigot as you prefer) in the bottom as you did so I can reverse the piece and complete the top. My circle template is made on a 3 foot long by 6” to 8” wide piece of 3/4 plywood and I have several different diameter holes in it made with a circle cutting bit on the drill press. The length of the template board allows me to clamp it to the top of the turning blank from each side far enough away to allow the router to do it’s work. I usually do the clamping process across a corner of my work bench.

Hope that gives you some new ideas to work with.

-- Les B, Oregon

View thiswoodshop's profile


141 posts in 2698 days

#9 posted 07-17-2011 05:12 PM

Thanks for the imput, must say I have not even thinker of using a router with template to start the procces. I will have to give that a go and see how it works – sound like a muucheasier way to mount the peace. I’ll check if my wife will let me use the microwave for that :).

-- Mo... For safety is not a gadget but a state of mind. ~ "Eleanor Everet" -

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