|Review by Bob Collins||posted 01-31-2009 09:11 AM||5404 views||1 time favorited||10 comments|
I have used the bowlsaws on soft and hard wood blanks, including Australian Red Gum, expensive burl blanks and other exotic wood, I realised that FINALLY here is a tool for the serious and the hobby turner alike.
An inexpensive tool for saving the core of that expensive blank you bought which normally you would turn 75% of into saw dust. The size of the blank you start with will determine if you will get two or three bowls from the one blank and the more depth the blank has will give you more chance of shaping both bowls.
The argument “I don’t want to shape all my bowls square”. Well start with a 9”-10” diameter and after leaving a 1/2” or more rim for the larger bowl (this will allow for shaping or ornamental work) cut the groove of 5/8” inch you have approximately a 7” bowl for your second, admittedly the third bowl may be small but if you have the depth why no fit a lid to it and you have a nice novelty box. From a 9” blank 2” thick I
turned two platters for a two tiered cake stand this was a simple operation using the 8” bowl saw.
Waiting for the bowlsaws arrival I read the instruction on www.bowlsaw.com and had two blanks ready, rough shaped and the groove cut. First thing I made sure there was room for the bowlsaw in the groove, this OK I then TURNED THE LATHE TO IT’S LOWEST SPEED. Now I admit I was a bit timid the first time but with the bowlsaw resting on the tool rest I did the first cut by hand turning the lathe, held the saw with left hand and turned on the lathe, no bite, no cause for panic, the lathe revolved slowly and the saw sat in the groove, then proceeded to contact the wood for the cut, ease of, contact again and it wasn’t long before the saw had completed it’s half circle. The two bowls were held by a small margin of wood which after removing from the lathe are seperated with a slight tap with a rubber mallet. This is when the feeling of “I have done it gets you” as you hold the two bowls. Cutting the second blank was a breeze even though I did have a catch and all that happened was the revolutions of the lathe stalled, no flying missiles
to dodge, I just straightened the saw in the cut and all was underway again.
I have noticed that the bowlsaw has been compared to the other expensive corers on the market, this is Ok if you are turning bowls to make money, you can afford the many hundreds of dollars for these but what are you going to turn. 10 bowls from the one blank all the same shape but getting smaller with each one.
I’m the first to admit these are nice looking bowls but must get pretty boring doing them.
I’m a hobby turner, maybe I do things the simple inexpensice way and I hate wasting wood but I am also adventurous, if I think something can be done I will have ago at it.
USING MY 8’ BOWLSAW – I like to start with a 10” blank, 3” or more thick, once on the lathe I will shape the outside of the larger bowl how I want it to look, REMEMBER THIS SHAPE WILL DETERMINE THE SIZE OF THE SECOND BOWL, cutting the recess to fit the chuck, stop the lathe, turn the blank over and you are ready to cut the groove, think what are you going to do with the outer bowl this determines the thickness of the rim you leave, I start the 5/8” groove cut with a parting tool and then use a 1/2”bowl saw to take the groove to approx 3/4” from the bottom, I have made a 1/2” flat skew to level the bottom of the cut, you dont want to leave any ledges to stop the bowlsaw going to the bottom of the cut. Rough shape your second bowl making the chuck recess for later hollowing. Turn off the lathe, fit the bowlsaw in the groove to check it sits flat on the bottom and isn’t a tight fit. NOW TURN THE LATHE TO IT LOWEST SPEED. Placing the saw against the second bowl, hand turn the lathe to make the initial cleave, with the bowlsaw on the toolrest and fully into the groove but not contacting, turn on the lathe, let it get it’s revolutions full on and with both hands holding the saw commence the cut. Don’t force the saw just contact, cut and release, continue this until the saw does it half circle, can’t explain the feeling at this point maybe a feeling of achievement. Turn off the lathe and take the bowls off, they should be held together by a minute piece of wood which will break away with a tap of a rubber mallet. You now have to bowls. I usually complete hollowing and shaping the larger bowl before deciding if I want to attempt a third bowl or just happy to hollow and shape the second bowl which should be approximately 6-7” diameter, better than a heap of saw dust.
I have done a demonstration at the local club and found turners with 20-30 years experience wont change their ways, usually scrounge their timber on the cheap and dont worry about waste. 10-20 years turners scratched there heads, if it works why didn’t someone do it sooner, showed interest but have long pockets, under 10 years including novices and beginners showed a real interest but are influenced by the senior members of the club. I found the female members where more interested, the only negative for them was the muscle power needed to hand turn to start the cut. That is what husbands are for, well that is if
they are not one of the first group above.
My assessment of the bowlsaw it is a easy to use and safe tool that would be an asset to any turner, specially the hobby turner, inexpensive compared to anything else on the market. Buy six expensive blanks, get two bowls a blank instead of one and it has paid for itself. Saved a part of a tree in the meantime.
This is a great tool and more information can be seen on www.bowlsaw.com
-- Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.