Snow Dog Woodworks and Quiltworks

Pursuing the tradition of creating finely handcrafted items in wood and fabric

Longarm Quilting Services ~ Londonderry, NH

Bowl Turning Process

Various stages of tree to bowl

Various stages of tree to bowl - it all begins with a log, split in half and remove center, rough bowl, lengthy drying process and then returned to lathe for final turning.

Logs ready to become bowls

Logs ready to become bowls - I cut logs to length equal to the log diameter to yield the largest bowl blanks.

Removing pith from logs

Preparing logs to become bowls with pith removed to minimize cracking. Because logs typically shrink most during drying nearest the center of the tree, I remove the center and 1-2" to either side of the center to minimize chances for cracking as my blanks are drying.

Rough blank mounted on lathe

Rough blank mounted on lathe. I try to knock off the edges with the chain saw to help balance the blank and minimize the amount of wood that I'll need to remove during the turning process. At this stage, the better balanced the blank, the easier it will be to turn a rough bowl shape.

Rough blank turned round

Rough blank turned round - the outside of the bowl shape has been formed. Note that I turn a spigot on the bottom of the bowl so that I can grip the blank in my four-jaw chuck when I finish turn this bowl.

Rough blank turned round on outboard side of lathe

Rough blank turned round on outboard side of lathe. This image shows that the outer half of the log has been rough shaped. Note that the screens beside the lathe are in place to minimize mess since the amount of water that is sprayed from a green wood blank can be considerable and can create quite a mess in the shop.

Coring multiple bowls from one blank

Oneway coring tool cutting small bowls blank from center of larger bowl blank. For really large trees, I like to use a coring system to maximize the yield from the tree and minimize waste. I use the Oneway coring system to remove consecutively smaller bowls from the center of the tree. This allows me to produce two or three bowls from each half log section.

Cores removed

This shot shows the smaller bowl blanks removed from the center of the larger bowl blank. For this half log, I'll get one large bowl, a smaller bowl and a tiny bowl from the centermost portion. Note that at this point, the bowls are turned extremely thick - I typically turn 1-2" thick. As these blanks dry, they will become somewhat oblong and I'll need this extra thickness to finish turn these bowls back to a round shape.

Roughing complete

Roughouts complete. As you can see, this process can produce quite a mess!

Completed bowl blanks

Completed bowl blanks ready to be dried.

Roughed blanks ready for drying

Roughed blanks coated with Anchorseal and ready to be dried for 6+ months. Anchorseal is a wax-like product that I use to coat the blanks to slow the drying process in an effort to minimize cracking. I like to rough out my bowls in the summer months when it is most humid where I live in New Hamphshire. Then I let the blanks dry for a minimum of six months - by preparing the blanks in the summer, the seasonal changes in New Hampshire work with me to help dry the blanks slowly.

Ready for drying

This is another shot of additional bowls that have been coated in Anchorseal and ready to dry.

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