Router Bowls

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Project by CaptainKlutz posted 04-26-2014 05:27 AM 5310 views 6 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Wanted to post a few pictures of some router bowls I made as Christmas presents for family and friends. Yes, It is long past Christmas season. And yes I’m playing catch up posting this in April.

The tree shape is made from hickory, with a walnut center board.

The candy cane shapes are made from 1 1/2” thick blocks of Spectraply bonded to maple.

The football shape is made from walnut and maple

I’m cheap and lazy. I used standard commercial templates from a Peachtree 50% sale. The Spectraply was from Woodcraft 50% off closeout sale, and maple/walnut was surplus from my workbench project.

The bowls for people who aren’t likely to know how to care for wooden kitchen bowls are finished with 6 coats of GF Salad Bowl finish (hard urethane varnish). The one with green/blue/yellow/red strips was finished with 4 coats of Tried and True Tung Oil for our home use.

Most of the gift receivers were amazed that silly me could make wooden bowl. I was surprised how easy it was to make them as well. Not sure I like to see most of the project wood removed to dust, but they were fun overall. The color patterns in the candy canes turned out very striking. I didn’t get as much wow factor from the Spectraply as you would from a turned, or round object; but the thanks to fire sale pricing, the Spectraply color patterns made the candy cane bowls look realistic.

One a light note – This Klutz only made one major mistake making these bowls. Forget to regularly clean and lubricate the bearing on the Whiteside bowl router bit, and burned up a bearing (after ~3 hours of routing). I’m sure it didn’t help that I my dust collection was manually stopping and dumping the bowls when it got sort of full. :) After I got the new bearing, and clamped in a dust collection hose; the bearing didn’t seem to load up with dust near as much. Live and learn.

I already have a bunch of “requests” (thanks to my wife’s FB pic posting) from every friend or friend of a friend who saw these bowls, on the shapes and colors they want to receive next year. I have enough requests, that I may need to start making them in September to get it all done in time. :(

Hope you enjoy.
Thanks for looking.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

5 comments so far

View RICOCO's profile


47 posts in 4033 days

#1 posted 04-26-2014 01:53 PM

Fabulous, I really like the candy cane.
Keep up the great work.
One question, What router bit did you use?

-- Paul

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5517 days

#2 posted 04-26-2014 04:13 PM

Those are really nice. I especially like the cane bowl. I’ve thought about trying this, about how long did it take for each bowl?

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Hawaiilad's profile


3386 posts in 4472 days

#3 posted 04-26-2014 07:11 PM

Those are very nice. I guess I missed seeing these templates. Do they make and sell other designs as well?

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View CaptainKlutz's profile (online now)


5575 posts in 2945 days

#4 posted 04-26-2014 09:54 PM

Thanks for kind words.

Ricoco – the router bit is a std 1-1/4” OD bowl bit mounted in an extension. Most everyone that has bowl templates has a “router bowl” kit available with the bit and extender (Peachtree, MLCS, Eagle, Woodcraft, Woodline). Note – there are 2 common extensions available, 1/2” shank – 1/2” bit shank & 1/2” shank – 1/4” bit shank; and I prefer the 1/2” X 1/2 version. The 1/4” shank version has a silly design: the OD on the head is 7/8”, which means the smallest bit you can use is 7/8”. There are not many 7/8” bits available in the market period, and there are zero 7/8” bowl radius bits. I use the smaller extension with a 1” core box bit when I need a slightly smaller inside radius. Did this one time for some small change bowls that came from the scraps of the bowls above.

Cajunpen – How long? There are a small weekend project. After you prep or glue up the right size 2-1/2” to 3-1/2” thick blank, it takes maybe an hour to drill out the excess waste, up to an hour to route depending on the shape. The longest part is the sanding and finishing :( Seems like I spend a couple hours per bowl progressing thru from 80-320 on all surfaces. Here in AZ dry weather, I can get 3 coats of salad bowl finish on a day starting early; so with a quick finish I’m done in 2 days. I made 3 canes and 2 trees above in two weekends with some evenings thrown in.

Hawaiilad- Lots of designs are available for every season and holiday. Search the websites of the companies listed above. A couple of them even have state templates too. You can also make your own from 1/2 MDF with a router as well.

Thanks again.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 3625 days

#5 posted 04-28-2014 08:39 PM

Fun and great looking router bowls. Smart wood combination. Nicely done.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

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