Shallow bowls or deep plates

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Project by JoeinDE posted 11-25-2011 03:47 AM 1750 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been making a lot of kitchen items recently (cutting boards, spoons, napkin holders) and I decided that I wanted to try my hand at making some plates (or bowls). I had quite a bit of figured sappy cherry that I wanted to use for something and I decided that this would be a good use for it. Here’s the problem – I don’t own a lathe. So I had to figure out how to make bowls or plates without one. I was inspired by the lipped plates that my children (4 and 2 yrs old) sometimes use for messy things like pasta with red sauce. I decided to make five so that I could give them to my sister and her family (husband and three kids under 4). These pieces are either deep plates or shallow bowls – 4.5” radius, 3/4” deep.

I also don’t own a band saw so cutting the circles proved to be a challenge since the 1.25” thick cherry squares were too thick for me to cut a circle with my jigsaw. I cut square blanks out of the cherry boards and then turned those roughly into octagons on the table saw. Then I adapted my cross-cut sled so that I could run a screw up from the bottom that would go into a hole drilled in the center of the octagon. The screw was positioned so that it was 4.5” from the blade of my table saw, such that I could turn the work piece on the fixed central point with the table saw blade running and cut a circle. I’ve seen this technique used with bandsaws. Once I had the circles cut, then I had to figure out how to remove the wood from the interior. I decided to use my routers for this step.

Using a 1/2” mortising bit on my router table I positioned the fence 1/2” from the bit and put pins in the table to allow me to cut the interior circle – taking about 1/4” off each pass. To save time a ran all five through at 1/4”, then adjusted the bit height and repeated the process. Once the interior circles were cut, I then used my router planing sled to remove the remaining wood from the interior of the plate/bowls. I had a slip or three when routing that led my to doing some inlay on these pieces (creative design opportunities :-) ). One plate/bowl has no inlay, the other four have a different shape inlaid in ebony or cocobolo – trapezoid, circle, square and triangle.

I used scrapers for the smoothing on the inner surfaces and in doing so took out a few chucks by accident.

After some sanding and a bunch of mineral oil and rubbing and I had a set of plate/bowls for my sister and her family. As always comments and critiques are welcomed.


4 comments so far

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 2628 days

#1 posted 11-25-2011 04:48 AM

Very cool, nice work on these! I love the rustic look. Thanks for the post and happy holidays!

-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View LesB's profile


1748 posts in 3469 days

#2 posted 11-25-2011 08:28 PM

My wife finds platters like that very handy. I have made them up to 18” in diameter.I use my lathe but your method seems to work for you.
It does sound a bit hazardous to do the routing on a table. Have you considered adding a circle cutting base to your router? You could make your own. It could be used to true up the outside perimeter and make the first circle cut for the inside. Also using that you could use a cove bit to round the inside corner. If you need more specific information on this idea let me know.

-- Les B, Oregon

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3908 days

#3 posted 11-26-2011 03:11 PM

Nice. There are many ways to do this kind of routing. Your table saw and router table technique sounds fine to me, but I would have never thought of it and instead done as Les mentioned. But hey, the proof is in the pudding. They look cool.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View JoeinDE's profile


444 posts in 3349 days

#4 posted 11-26-2011 03:37 PM

Les – Great idea! I built a circle cutting jig for my router after using the router table to cut the interior circle. The circle cutting jig could have been used to to cut both the initial circle out of the square blank and to cut the interior circle. If I make something like these again, I will definitely use the jig.


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