Router Bowl Anniversary Gift

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Project by Paul Pomerleau posted 09-08-2012 08:26 PM 3588 views 5 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My neighbors first wedding Anniversary is on Monday and I made my first router bowl as a gift for them.
I knew the theory of how to make one, but things didn’t go well at all… mostly because I never used any of these tools before. It almost ended up not getting completed.
This was my first time using a plunge router and router bowl bit.
I knew I needed a larger base to make it more stable, and watching everyone else use plexiglass, I was having a hard time finding one.
Then I saw a video of someone using a piece of plywood… I’ve got lots of that, so I made mine using plywood.
I traced a pattern on some MDF and screwed it onto the laminated walnut and birch boards I glued up.
I removed a lot of wood with the drill press and when I started finishing the edges using the router, the bit kept sliding further into the collet, no matter how tight I turned the nut it kept moving.
If I pushed the bit all the way in, then it wouldn’t be deep enough to make the bowl.
Then a few times, the bearing on the bit would also slide causing the bit to not follow the template.
I nicked the side of the bowl several times before I noticed this.
I tightened up the allen key and it made it better, but not before the damage was done.
You can see the nicks on the top left side of the template.
I figured that I can’t give this to my neighbors like this.
It sat for a couple of days as I tried to think of something to do with it.
Then I thought that I could simply slide the pattern up a quarter of an inch and redo just that edge now that the router and bit are tight.
So that’s what I did.
The top edge of one of the hearts is a quarter inch larger than the rest of the pattern, and no one will ever know.
The rest was just a lot of sanding, several coats of food grade butcher block finish and a top coat of wax.
We met with my neighbors last Thursday to give them their gift and they absolutely loved it.
I was glad that it all worked out.
I probably will make more bowls but on a smaller, simpler scale.
Thanks for looking.

-- Close to Ottawa Ontario Canada

6 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

26346 posts in 2123 days

#1 posted 09-08-2012 08:52 PM

Looks good. Routers can have a very harsh learning curve.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3090 posts in 3016 days

#2 posted 09-08-2012 09:08 PM

It looks great. I bet your neighbors really liked it.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Grumpymike's profile


2137 posts in 2100 days

#3 posted 09-10-2012 02:18 AM

Great save on this project. I don’t remember who said it, but one good old saying is “The guy that didn’t mess up once in a while didn’t do alot.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View majuvla's profile (online now)


10841 posts in 2652 days

#4 posted 09-10-2012 03:21 AM

Very nice bowl,very nice present

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View robscastle's profile


4316 posts in 1989 days

#5 posted 09-10-2012 01:16 PM

A nice job Paul,
dont worry about nicking the template its repairable simply by filler.

I also experienced exactly the same problem as you with some of my router bits, in the end I got some wet and dry and rubbed it up and down the shaft, this eventually fixed it. I kinda suspect it is marginally undersize but have no way of proving it.

The method you used to correct the nicks is also the same method I used. Routing bowls sure creates the shavings.

Keep up the good work.

-- Regards Robert

View Roger's profile


20872 posts in 2589 days

#6 posted 01-10-2015 10:32 PM

This is a beautiful project and a really nice gift. Nice design, nice finish and wood combos.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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