Dragon Viking Bowl

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Project by stefang posted 12-08-2014 07:50 PM 2764 views 10 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here are the last two bowls of the three I made. I doubt I will be making more of these, but it was a fun project and I hope some others will make some too. If you are interested, here is a blog to help you along the way. My bowls will be used as candy dishes. I’ve sent one to each of my sons as a little extra Christmas gift and kept the third one.

My personal favorite is the dragon bowl because I enjoyed doing the carving on it, although I won’t be bragging about how well done it is. The proportions aren’t as good either, but it does much more resemble the traditional beer drinking cups that were entirely carved and floated on top of the beer in the barrel at parties in the old days.

These last two bowls like the first one are turned, split in half with a strip in the middle removed so that when glued back together it forms a boat shape or ‘lens’ which is the geometric shape. The handles are glued between the two bowl halves along with a long strip or ‘keel’ as I call it. This adds a lot of strength to the handles to make it more or less indestructible, unless of course a small child decides to use it as a boat in the bathtub, as the glue I used is not water proof, but no worries as we don’t have any little ones about any longer. Perhaps a future great grandchild might give it a try though!

I copied the Dragon design came from this beautifully carved dragon head on the bow of an actual replica Viking ship which in turn was inspired by the tent supports found on a real viking ship, the ‘Gokstad ship’ excavated from a Viking burial mound in 1880 here in Gokstad Norway.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

31 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18657 posts in 4156 days

#1 posted 12-08-2014 08:08 PM

That turned out really nice Mike! You are getting my inspiration up for a little WW!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Dutchy's profile


3412 posts in 2649 days

#2 posted 12-08-2014 08:12 PM

This one is more beautiful then the first. I like the carving despite it,s from a viking ship.


View peteg's profile


4435 posts in 3303 days

#3 posted 12-08-2014 08:15 PM

A wonderful rustic & authentic look about it, nicely done Mike

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 2351 days

#4 posted 12-08-2014 08:29 PM

Wow these are so cool. Were you planning on using them or are they decorative only?

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View CFrye's profile


10740 posts in 2320 days

#5 posted 12-08-2014 09:13 PM

Great bowls, Mike! The dragon ears look really fragile. What finish did you use on these. They don’t look as dark as the first one. Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View doubleDD's profile


8599 posts in 2523 days

#6 posted 12-08-2014 09:37 PM

These are so cool, I want to everything and start on one. My problem will be any carving so I will have to come up with something to replace that part. I just noticed that the dragon heads make cool handles. And it would make a wonderful boat.
Very well done.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3814 days

#7 posted 12-08-2014 10:51 PM

Thanks all, I appreciate the positive comments.

Jan I can see your point, but research has shown that the vikings were no different than their peers in other countries and they were of course much vilified by their Christian enemies who, truth be told, were just about as cruel and warlike. For example, I read today that DNA research shows that the viking’s families travelled with them, settling in other countries and increasing their families there. It was also interesting that they didn’t regularly stop in Ireland to take women with them onwards to raid England as legends state. Any admiration I have for the viking culture is not based their warlike behavior, but rather their accomplishments as boat builders, carvers, and just general woodworkers. Erling Skjalgson, a local famous viking chief from our neighbor community was famous for freeing captured slaves, giving them boats and fishing gear to live off of after serving him loyally for a given amount of time. There was also a good amount of democracy in the viking culture. There is a meeting place within walking distance of our house where political decisions were made with local leaders and landowners in attendance. They were pretty tough people no doubt, living in such a rugged place and with such bad weather, and they were pagans, but not nearly as bad as their reputation according to historians.

Dave You don’t really have to carve these to get a good result, but a scroll saw makes it easy to cut out the ‘keel’ and heads if you have one. Another way to put the design on would be to incise the lines with a craft knife with the blade cutting at 90 deg. The coal oil will make the lines stand out quite well. To get the dark areas around the eyes you can finely crosshatch, again with your craft knife incisions and this will then look shaded after applying the finish. For it to look good you need to make only one cut carefully and continuous from beginning to end. here is a blog where you can see some of this kind of work. It would be a good idea to practice a little on a piece of scrap first. You can blend a little dark sawdust or cinnamon with some salad oil to rub into the incisions to bring it to life. You have to keep the handle of your knife almost vertical on the tighter curves to avoid making flat spots on the curved lines.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

463 posts in 2815 days

#8 posted 12-08-2014 11:43 PM

That’s a heavy duty beautiful piece of art Mike. Followed the blog. Gotta admire a craftsman who can go from the chevalet to the lathe to the carving tools. You got a lot of versatility going on there.

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

View Schwieb's profile


1891 posts in 3941 days

#9 posted 12-09-2014 12:25 AM


Nice work and an interesting twist on the historical use of such a cup. I found the last image of the crossed horse heads quite interesting. My family immigrated from northern Germany not to far from Bremen in the late 1860’s. When I was last there in 2000 I toured all over that part of Germany and visited the village where they came from. It was not uncommon to see something like this, a little less ornate, at the gable end of a building. I can’t recall exactly what they told me it represented but it meant you were part of that state of the German empire. I still find it fascinating to try to understand that Germany was not a united country until after Ohio became a state in 1803.

I always enjoy your projects and the hard work you do to publish them here. I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas and a great 2015.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23197 posts in 3586 days

#10 posted 12-09-2014 01:26 AM

Outta sight, Mike. I love ‘em!!.................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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woodshaver Tony C

6765 posts in 3833 days

#11 posted 12-09-2014 01:51 AM

Beautiful work Mike! They really look great!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View Woodbridge's profile


3691 posts in 2898 days

#12 posted 12-09-2014 02:31 AM

Mike, they all look great. Thanks for sharing the build with us in your blog.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View hunter71's profile


3432 posts in 3667 days

#13 posted 12-09-2014 02:42 AM

Wow, great series Mike.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View doubleDD's profile


8599 posts in 2523 days

#14 posted 12-09-2014 03:06 AM

Thanks for the extra insight Mike. Very interesting. I will have to sharpen up on some of my skills first to get ready for this. Never heard of the cinnamon and oil trick. Another good reason Lumberjocks is such a great place. You learn something all the time.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View kiefer's profile


5671 posts in 3147 days

#15 posted 12-09-2014 04:19 AM

You got the thouch and eye to create some exiting projects and this one is likely my favorit of them all .
Nice approach to recreate an old vessel with a modern methods and tools but keep the integratie of the old design and the carving is just exceptional .
I very much enjoyed the blog and this is the crowning piece ot your effort .

Klaus .

-- Kiefer

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