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What's with all the bowls

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Forum topic by Deela40 posted 60 days ago 931 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Deela40

37 posts in 1714 days


60 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question turning bowl

Perhaps I don’t get it because I have never done it, but what is the big deal with making bowls? There seems to be an abundance of bowl making on this site. What do people do with them? Are they for display only, or are they used to hold things? Can someone explain the appeal of making bowls?


27 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3404 posts in 2587 days


#1 posted 60 days ago

Kinda like cutting boards and pens. Whatever ya like I guess.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Marcus's profile

Marcus

1041 posts in 646 days


#2 posted 60 days ago

I have plenty of bowls sitting around that have no real use. For me, making a bowl is a nice break from the typical sort of work I do. Instead of worrying about a precise angle and a cut repeated exactly 20 times, the bowl is more of an exercise in artistic expression. I seldom go in w/ a plan and just start cutting what feels right. I also find it very relaxing. With a bowl, I can just stand there for an hour (or whatever) and cut away. I dont have to worry about test fitting or getting more lumber. It’s just the nice hum of the lathe and cut of the tool.

Other’s answers may be different as I see some bowls on here that are definitely sales worthy. For me, its just for fun.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

1654 posts in 1548 days


#3 posted 60 days ago

I have not made any cutting boards or pens but I have made a few bowls to sell. I still have those bowls. No one is interested in buying bowls. Why folks make them is a good question.

-- In God We Trust

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15582 posts in 1493 days


#4 posted 60 days ago

I haven’t found time to really get into turning wood the way I would like to but occasionally I find time to turn something. I always find that using a lathe is very relaxing and enjoyable. I felt the same way about metal turning whenever I made a part for our plant in my machine shop. Perhaps this might answer your question to a certain extent. I also love to see a well done bowl because I love to see anything that is made out of a piece of beautiful wood that has a nice finish on it.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View mpax356's profile

mpax356

44 posts in 1119 days


#5 posted 60 days ago

I am guessing that you do not turn at all or it is not likely you would be asking the question. Turning is fun and relaxing. It provides instant gratification as most projects don’t take much time. Turning provides an opportunity to exercise some artistic part of the brain. I like turning lots of stuff not just bowls. As an example, I just published an article on turning lamp and fan pulls in the June issue of American Woodturner.

Bowls make great gifts. The expression on the recipient’s face is generally one of total surprise and pleasure. Receiving something handcrafted is special. Almost anyone can use a small bowl for nuts or other snacks. An appropriate size bowl makes a great catch all for a man’ dresser for keys and pocket change. Ladies will always find something to use the bowl for. Some shaped bowls are great for potpouri and larger bowls are great for salads.

-- MPax, Atlanta

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3725 posts in 2290 days


#6 posted 60 days ago

There are two kinds of bowls: ornamental (or architectural), and utilitarian.

Well done ornamental bowls can fetch very good prices, and they do sell at galleries and art exhibitions. Don’t try to tell David Ellsworth or Mike Mahoney that nobody is interested in buying bowls.

Well done utilitarian bowls can not only be nice decorations, but come in handy for serving salads, chips & dip, etc. And they do sell quite well at craft fairs, flea markets, etc.

Bowls also make really nice gifts. There is a shelf in my shop lined with paper bags full of shavings and rough-turned bowls. Sometime in October, they should be ready to finish … just in time for the holidays.

Past that, I really don’t need a reason for doing something that I enjoy!

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Deela40's profile

Deela40

37 posts in 1714 days


#7 posted 60 days ago

mpax356,
I haven’t turned anything.

I can see the point about it being relaxing, but I could also see it being a frustrating experience. It seems like it would be easy to mess up if you go too far. For those who make them, how often do you make an error that can’t be fixed?

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3725 posts in 2290 days


#8 posted 60 days ago

It is just like anything else in woodworking (and most everything else in life) ... you are going to mistakes. Some are fatal to the piece, some can be repaired (read: design opportunities). That is part of the fun of it. It can be both challenging and rewarding.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Ripthorn's profile

Ripthorn

746 posts in 1612 days


#9 posted 60 days ago

My main projects are guitars, and I will admit to having more than I can use. If only they were as cheap or quick as bowls :). I look to be getting a new lathe soon and echo the sentiments about turning being a rather relaxing outlet. Bowls not only allow you to try new shapes and techniques, it lets you try new woods and such. Aside from this, for the vast majority of us, this is a hobby and a hobby by nature needs no justification other than that it brings the practitioner enjoyment. I will admit that there are parts of woodworking that I have no interest in, doesn’t mean I question peoples motives for it. Take chip carving. I have no interest, and carvings seem even less useful than bowls, but if someone wants to carve a ton, by all means, have at it.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

6821 posts in 1310 days


#10 posted 60 days ago

I guess bowls might be more exciting to see/turn than just a bunch of old legs

But, then again, you can’t just turn one leg, you have to go back and turn three more and make them match the first on

Hopefully, that is. But then, they get lost in the glare of the rest of the project

Sometimes, anyway…

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Deela40's profile

Deela40

37 posts in 1714 days


#11 posted 60 days ago

Please do not take my question as a criticism to those who make bowls. I have never turned anything and it seems that some people really enjoy it so I was trying to understand why this seems to be popular.

View mpax356's profile

mpax356

44 posts in 1119 days


#12 posted 60 days ago

”... this is a hobby and a hobby by nature needs no justification other than that it brings the practitioner enjoyment”
- Ripthorn

I have to remind myself of this when looking at the cost of a tool or spending the money to go to a symposium. I don’t need to justify it. Just decide if I want to do it.
Re: the question of it being frustrating – not at all. Mistakes happen. It is wood. You pick up another piece and try again. If you have absolutely no patience and are not interested in learning a skill, than woodturing is probably not for you. Unlike using other power tools like a TS that requires a basic understanding of how to use it, turning requires manipulating the tools against the spinning wood to get the results you want. That takes some practise and best to get some basic instruction from a skilled turner to climb the learning curve quickly and safely. If you are too impatient to learn a skill, turning may not be for you. Visit a turning club and it will help you decide. They are all over. Find one at http://www.woodturner.org/search/custom.asp?id=1509

-- MPax, Atlanta

View mpax356's profile

mpax356

44 posts in 1119 days


#13 posted 60 days ago

Woodturning is one of the fastest growing specialties in woodworking. It is crack cocaine of woodworking as it is seriously addicting and takes all of your money, LOL. Many folks like me that started into flatwork and buy machines like a TS, jointer and planer, put those aside after they get a lathe.

-- MPax, Atlanta

View Marcus's profile

Marcus

1041 posts in 646 days


#14 posted 60 days ago

“For those who make them, how often do you make an error that can’t be fixed?”

I dont think I’ve ever had a problem that I can not fix. I have had a few 8” bowls that turned into 4” platters though. Honestly, that is part of the fun as weird as it sounds….just let the wood tell you where to go. Sometimes it wants to go to pieces on the floor.

As I said, my perspective may be a bit different from others as I purely do it for fun and relaxation. If I had made a giant glue up segmented piece and it had a catastrophic failure…I’d probably be a bit more disappointed.

View dirtycurty's profile

dirtycurty

43 posts in 205 days


#15 posted 60 days ago

The things I find gratifying about bowl turning is that it is relaxing, I can turn and finish 3 or 4 in a couple of hours, but the most gratifying part for me is that the way a bowl shows off the grain in wood. I don’t believe there is any other type of wood working that shows off wood better then turning bowls.

When I started turning bowls about 5 or 6 months ago my success rate was probably about 3 bowls to about 10 bad bowls, after about 2 months of practice my success rate is about 8 or 9 bowls out of 10.

I am a self taut turner learning from You Tube, wood working forums and reading books. I still have a way to go as far as learning but every bowl I turn I do something different that I never did before.

I also get a lot of satisfaction from the fact that I am self taught and seeing how far I have come and looking forward to learning more techniques to be a better turner.

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