Using the bowlsaw for the first time

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Project by Bob Collins posted 01-14-2009 01:35 PM 2983 views 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My first attempt using Dick Steuss’s bowlsaw was a great experience for me. I had prepared my 6 1/2” blank in anticipation of the bowlsaw arriving, the easy to follow instructions of his web site was
enough to get me started. After rounding the blank I shaped the outside of the bigger bowl but unlike
the instructions instead of drilling the hole for the chuck I left the sacrifice wood (correct me if I got the name
wrong) see 2nd Pic. I then turned the blank around, securing it in the chuck and commenced to cut the grove with a parting tool (about 1/2” wide) to the required depth, finishing this with a flat 1/2” skew, then shaped the bottom of the smaller bowl leaving the grip piece for the chuck. 3rd Pic.

A few days later the bowlsaw arrived and it was straight to the shed. Turning the lathe speed down to the lowest revs possible (mine was about 500rpm), I checked to make sure the bowlsaw fitted in the grove, needed a slight widening, making sure the saw is at the bottom of the grove I hand turned the bowl to make the initial contact with the wood, moving bowl back and forth to start a small cut. Then resting the bowlsaw on the toolrest, holding firmly with the right hand I turned on the lathe, now holding the saw with both hands started the contact and slowly started the cut. Slowly but surely the saw completed the cut leaving a small contact piece of wood holding both bowls together. After turning off the lathe the bowls were seperated by a slight tap with the rubber mallet and for the first time I have two bowls from the one blank with minimum waste of wood. Big bowl back on the chuck for final clean up and then the small bowl was hollowed out. I think there would have been a possible third bowl but would have been quite small.

The smaller bowl is about 4 1/2” diam. and I made a fitted lid and finial for this . This is great tool for the hobby turner, I have found it safe and nothing to be frightened off although I must admit I was a bit edgy when turning on the lathe while holding one handed. I would recommend this to any wood turner, not only is it a easy tool to use but the wood saved pays for itself. Glad to answer any questions about it.

-- Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

11 comments so far

View Chris 's profile


1880 posts in 4956 days

#1 posted 01-14-2009 02:28 PM

Thanks Bob… I like the practical review. This might be a solution for me especially as I have started turning much larger bowl blanks.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View lew's profile


13271 posts in 4720 days

#2 posted 01-14-2009 05:50 PM


Great review!

I, too, found the BowlSaw easy to use and it worked perfectly. As you said, it easily pays for itself by the wood it saves.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4987 days

#3 posted 01-14-2009 07:09 PM

I have been meaning to get one but time is not my best freind.

Maybe this week will be different.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Chris Cunanan's profile

Chris Cunanan

339 posts in 4445 days

#4 posted 01-14-2009 09:02 PM

i finally was able to use mine the other day! after being scared to make the groove without knowing if i had the right tools (i later found out i have no bowl gouge, and was indeed using a spindle gouge, probably why it seemed a bit scary i guess? lol), but nonetheless i was able to do it unharmed =). My lowest speed is ~825 rpm i think (ridgid wl1200) so i hand turned it, then joggled the switch to get it a little deeper, then turned it on fully to finish thru the cut….and yes, i was definitely scared with that thing jammed in that little groove with only one hand holding it, but once you do it you think ahh that wasn’t so bad…great little tool, I plan on getting the 8” version as well so i can make some 3 (maybe even 4 since that’s the # now!) bowl sets….thanks for the awesome invention dick!

View BarryW's profile


1016 posts in 4872 days

#5 posted 01-14-2009 09:35 PM

I’ve never heard of that…thank’s for the information…

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4764 days

#6 posted 01-14-2009 09:40 PM

thanks for the info.. thats pretty cool.. I like to make sawdust, but now with this, in moderation and less waste

-- making sawdust....

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 4492 days

#7 posted 01-15-2009 01:23 AM

Been watching this progress. Very cool. I do not turn much right now but I love the concept and think Dick’s solution with the new tool is far out. Quite a bit of wood is saved with a nice inexpensive tool.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2844 posts in 4649 days

#8 posted 01-15-2009 01:53 AM

Forgot to mention Dick has two bowlsaws sized 6” and 8” (I have now orders the 8” saw). With the 8” you can start with a 8 1/2”- 9” blank and get three, possibly four bowls from the blank with little waste (sawdaust).
Have now done more and with practice and confidence have no problems with the turning on the lathe but
I always double check that I have the LOW revs set. These bowlsaws open up a lot of opportunities for wood turners, i.e. getting the plates for a tiered cake stand from the one blank. Working on this one.
Thanks for the comments above and all the best to Dick for his great invention.

-- Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 4688 days

#9 posted 01-15-2009 05:24 AM

Great post Bob. Thanks for the information.

-- Martin, Kansas

View Cathy Krumrei's profile

Cathy Krumrei

364 posts in 5151 days

#10 posted 01-15-2009 06:05 AM

This is the perfect idea with using up the whole blank. I cringe at having to “empty” the bowl and waste good wood. Can’t wait to be able to try this. Still waiting for my hands to get better. The way this is used will not only produce matching bowls..but double or triple on my wood blanks. Very nice job Bob. And Dick…good luck..this will be my first thing I turn-asap.

View Wood0z's profile


45 posts in 4395 days

#11 posted 01-16-2009 08:28 AM

Yeah nice job there Bob

-- RJC

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