My First Bowl

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Project by kenn posted 08-28-2008 06:56 AM 1225 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have a new lathe, bought a bowl gouge and have a stack of blanks waiting to be turned. This is my first attempt at a bowl. It is cherry finished with Hut friction polish and stands 3 1/4” high by 7” wide. It was a blast to turn. I’ve got a few things to do better next time like: 1)make the walls a more consistent thickness, they are 3/16” at the edge but 5/8” at the bottom, I got chicken 2)try a different finish, that friction polish is fine for pens but I don’t think it shows off the bowl very well 3) turn the rim as soon as I reverse the piece, I lost a bit on the height because of this 4) use the reverse jaws I ordered today because I didn’t like having the chuck marks show on the foot, although several people were impressed with how I managed to “decorate” the foot with those evenly spaced grooves 5) get more adventurous on the shape, this was a first effort so I kept it simple/easy 6) I should have centered the grain on the piece better before starting so the grain would line up better on the borrom of the bowl.

It must have turned out ok since I had my wife and oldest daughter both wanting it. The wife won and she is using it to hold her keys and phone. I’ll keep working on it. Let me know if you see other area that I could improve on.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

11 comments so far

View tomd's profile


2155 posts in 3767 days

#1 posted 08-28-2008 07:19 AM

Nice job, cherry always makes a great bowl. Well now you’ve done it, you are to throw all hope aside as you are being sucked into the voxtex of turning. You never forget your first bowl.

-- Tom D

View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 3988 days

#2 posted 08-28-2008 07:20 AM


It’s a nice first effort; I think your comfort level will grow pretty quickly once you turn a couple of more bowls. Don’t be afraid to experiment…. :)

I recently did a Cherry bowl that I used one coat of Tung Oil wet sanded followed a couple of days later by Satin Poly. I found the final result to be pleasing and durable without muddying the grain or color.

Click for details

BTW I have a couple of Key & Change bowls around the house myself. ;)

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View woodyone's profile


231 posts in 3588 days

#3 posted 08-28-2008 10:50 AM

Brilliant bowl, especially for your first go. I have never turned cherry before myself, but it does look nice the way you have finished it.

Well done.


-- Woody, UK

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3764 days

#4 posted 08-28-2008 01:39 PM

Kenn, this is a very nice bowl for the first try. I have seen many people who have turned bowls for quite some time who have yet to accomplish one this nice. Try curving the bowl back in at the top 30% mark and keep getting the top diameter smaller each time. This will be great practice and help develop your bowl gouge skills. Over time you will develop a sense of touch and sound. I look forward to seeing more from you. Thanks for sharing.

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

View ToddO's profile


80 posts in 3820 days

#5 posted 08-28-2008 01:54 PM

Nice looking bowl. I personally like the offset grain, I think a bunch of concentric grain circles look kind of boring.

-- Todd, Richfield MN

View dmann's profile


82 posts in 3803 days

#6 posted 08-28-2008 04:11 PM

Ah you’ll never forget your first. :)

Beautiful bowl, first of many I am sure!

-- David / Durham, NC

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4060 days

#7 posted 08-28-2008 05:51 PM

I think it looks great, How big is it?

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 3700 days

#8 posted 08-28-2008 07:00 PM

Great job!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1305 posts in 3770 days

#9 posted 08-29-2008 03:51 AM

Looks like a bowl from a seasoned turner Kenn, nice work!

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3719 days

#10 posted 08-29-2008 04:06 AM

Kenn, now you’ve gone and done it… How many blanks do you have, I hope there is enough for the whole family. Seriously though, I wish my first bowl had looked this good. Nice work.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View kenn's profile


810 posts in 3716 days

#11 posted 08-29-2008 06:08 AM

Thanks for the tips. I’ll use the design and finishing pointers, you can see the results on my next bowl project. We’ll see if you guys are good teachers or if I’m a bad student.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

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