Bowl Carving

Another of the lessons in Paul Seller’s first DVD is carving a bowl.  It’s a logical step from spoon carving.

I only had smallish gouges from a carving set I’ve had for ages, so I picked up a couple of larger gouges.  You can see the sizes on the handles, for example the one on the left is a 9/30 — a #9 sweep 30mm wide.

Big Gouges

I’m going to try this using a hunk of Redwood I had laying around.

Redwood Blank, Shape Sketched in

I started by gouging out the recess for the bowl.  Working across the grain seemed to be the best bet for removing the bulk of the material and maintaining control.  Cutting along the grain caused uncontrollable splits.  This was not a great piece to work with and it tended to split and crack.  I persevered, and after scraping and sanding had a presentable bowlish recess.

A Bowl. Sort of, If You Squint…

I carved the interior of the bowl first so that I had a square part to clamp in place.  Clamping was a major problem with this project.  I tried to hold the blank using the end vise to clamp it against dogs on the bench top.  The end vise ripped out of the bench, what a piece of junk.  I think it’s officially time to get back to building my work bench, the legs have to be dry now, right?

Chiseling the Corner to Shape

Once I had the profile of the bowl chiseled to shape I cleaned it up with a rasp.

Smoothed With a Rasp

Then I started carving the outside of the bowl.  I originally planned to leave two feet on the bottom, carving away the rest.  I had too many problems with splitting (even cutting across the grain in a few spots) so I had to abandon that approach.  I think my gouges were plenty sharp, they were definitely slicing the wood nicely.  I think this just was a problematic bit of wood to work.

In the end I just planed a flat on the bottom so it would sit nicely.

Carving the Outside of the Bowl

After gouging the outside I used a spokeshave to even things out, then a rasp and sandpaper.  Since I had a few areas along the rim that had chipped out I decided to use that as a design feature and worked all the way around the lip with a gouge.  One coat of “Tried & True” oil/wax finish and I’m calling it done.  Strike that, I put another coat on yesterday and let it soak in the sun for an hour.  The color darkened up nicely.

Not great, but certainly serviceable.  I may do one more, or just move ahead to the stool project.

Look Ma, It’s a Bowl!

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Bowl Carving

  1. Great looking bowl for a first try. I really like that scalloped edge. At first I thought it was the grain. It is scalloped or do I need new glasses?

  2. Yes, it’s scalloped. Not as evenly as I’d hoped, the redwood was really prone to splitting along the grain. I thought about painting the scalloped edge black for contrast, but after a couple of coats of finish it’s darkened up nicely and I like it as-is.

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