Wood Bowls Made with a Router and a Scrollsaw

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Project by moonroc posted 05-17-2008 07:08 AM 13760 views 12 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a Bowl that I made using the Techniques and tools found in a book by Patrick Spielman and Carl Roehl.
You can achieve some cool grain patterns and unique shapes with this method. The rings of wood are cut out of a 3/4 to 1 in piece of wood with a scroll saw, glued and stacked and shaped with various grits of sandpaper on homemade sanding balls. Thats the simplified version. The results are suprising and unique. I posted some additional photos and resources that you can check out.

-- Richard

16 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4017 days

#1 posted 05-17-2008 07:31 AM

Interesting! I have never seen it done that way before.

Looks great.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View sharad's profile


1117 posts in 3833 days

#2 posted 05-17-2008 09:21 AM

You have made very attractive looking bowles without using lathe. What is home made sanding balls? More elaborate description of how the rings are cut, glued and shaped would have helped us to understand this new method of making bowles. I saw your additional photos and they are so nice. Thanks for posting

-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 3761 days

#3 posted 05-17-2008 11:44 AM

Wow! These are great! I have this book but never realized how beautiful this type of bowl would look! I’m going to have to pull it off the library shelf for another look. Thanks!

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3850 days

#4 posted 05-17-2008 12:43 PM


These are beautiful. I looked at your web site and you have created some really outstanding pieces.

Well done. Like Ted, I am going to look at this book. This is a technique that is new to me.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View bkhop's profile


68 posts in 4096 days

#5 posted 05-17-2008 01:09 PM

This, to a certain extent, is what the RingMaster allows you to do – make a bowl out of a flat piece of wood. With the RingMaster, though, it must be put back on the lathe for final turning, sanding & finishing. What you also don’t get with the RingMaster is the ability to do any other shapes than perfectly circular. The scrollsaw method would give you pretty much any shape your heart desired if I understand it correctly.
Nice looking bowls!

-- † Hops †

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 3752 days

#6 posted 05-17-2008 01:30 PM

Richard these bowls are amazing! ... as are the ones on your website.

Thanks for sharing them.

-- Martin, Kansas

View jjohn's profile


390 posts in 3742 days

#7 posted 05-17-2008 01:41 PM

Please post a tutorial on this one if you get a chance. I can see the benefits over the lathe with this technique. I envision a lot of sanding though. Maybe I am wrong about that. would love to see it done.

by the way. The bowls look great.

-- JJohn

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3796 days

#8 posted 05-17-2008 01:45 PM

Those are some beautiful vessels!

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Rob 's profile


216 posts in 3696 days

#9 posted 05-17-2008 02:29 PM

If I wasn’t on a woodworking site I would have thought this was pottery because of the unique shapes. Great idea; very nice.

View moonroc's profile


44 posts in 3716 days

#10 posted 05-17-2008 04:56 PM

Thanks for the great comments. Sharad and JJohn I will take a photo of my sanding ball to give you an idea what it looks like. This whole process is very specific and the book describes every detail of the process. I could not explain it clearly without writing another book. The key is to make all the tools and jigs as he describes and with that you will have everything you need. The main shop tools are a router, scrollsaw and a drillpress. It does create a lot of sawdust when shaping but their is something very rewarding about making these bowls. Thanks Again LJs

-- Richard

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3903 days

#11 posted 05-17-2008 06:39 PM

If you make another please take some “along the way” pictures to at least outline the process. These are really fine pieces.

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 3816 days

#12 posted 05-17-2008 07:22 PM

These are awesome! I have never seen this technique before. I went through your site and you have some amazing stuff there. I second the comment above that it almost looks like pottery. I have already gone to amazon and bought a used copy of this book as I have to try this myself.

I haven’t read the book yet, but I wonder if you could shorten the sanding time by using an inshave. It would certainly cut down on the dust! Thank you so much for sharing, this one is favorited!

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14173 posts in 4011 days

#13 posted 05-17-2008 11:43 PM

beautiful work … about how long did the mahogany bowl take to make ? very surprising piece

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View moonroc's profile


44 posts in 3716 days

#14 posted 05-18-2008 02:34 AM

Shannon thanks for the comments. I never tried an inshave but make sure to have a cushioned surface below because holding the bowl in place may be difficult. It is easy to crack a bowl if too much pressure is applied in a clamp and if you try to hold it lightly it may pop out.

Dan, I think you are talking about the red bowl. Someone gave me that piece of wood. I think it is Red Heart. It is very dense and hard to work but it shimmers when you move it around. It took about 11 hours to make. I may have been able to do it in less time but my work is always broken up. It was my first attempt at a larger bowl. It measures about 13 ” x 9” x 6”

-- Richard

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3241 posts in 3741 days

#15 posted 05-18-2008 06:00 AM

Woodsmith magazine (pages 16 through 21 of Volume 29/Number 170) showed how to make routed Bowls (no sanding ball, etc.), but they can’t hold a candle to yours.

Yours are truly works of art!

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

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