An Experiment in Bowl Blank Preparation

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Project by mot posted 07-05-2007 08:59 PM 4914 views 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I wanted to try an experiment in the preparation of this blank to turn. I had a small yellowheart and small purpleheart blanks that were about 5” square. I thought the woods might look nice together in contrast, but not having a drum sander, I didn’t want to start resawing these blanks too much and end up with some iffy glue joints. I thought about it one night while laying on the couch and wondered, what if I cored the blank and laminated the layers. But not coring in the curved blade sense, but more removing a a cone from within a circle sort of thing.

To start, I chucked up the yellowheart and trued the face on the lathe, turned a tenon and trued to bottom. I’m going to need it flat. I then took a parting tool, and at about a 50 degree angle, I started into the blank from the tailstock side aiming about 1” from the rim on the headstock side. Turning very slow, and patiently, I separated an outer chamfered ring, from an inner cone.

I then took the purpleheart blank and resawed about a 8 mm thick piece. I glued the purpleheart to the cone, and when the glue was dry, I rechucked the cone and trued the face of the purpleheart. I then glued the chamfered yellowheart ring on top of the purpleheart, and then a thicker purpleheart piece on top of that. Clamped and glued, I waited until last night.

I chucked the entire piece and turned a profile on the outside, and hollowed the bowl. What you see is the finished project. This is an experiment. In my opinion, the rim is way too much purpleheart. I could have turned it down a little more, but turning dry purpleheart was straining my tenon and I lost this bowl from the chuck twice in the process. As it is an experiment in process, I am, again, unhappy with the form. However, it’s a pretty cool looking little bowl.

In keeping with my wife’s appreciation of my artistic ability, she stated, “Neat. You can plant a little flower in it,” and walked off.

This is, thus, my layered, reverse cored “pot.”

Thanks for looking and please feel free to be critical.


-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

21 comments so far

View David's profile


1969 posts in 5634 days

#1 posted 07-05-2007 09:14 PM

Tom -

Great project! I love the story – made me smile. I like the bowl. I am not a turner (yet) so I have no experience to guide or judge. I agree with your comment about the purpleheart top rim. A thin delicate rime of PH would look wonderful and would be a great accent for the YH. I stiil think it looks great!


View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4074 posts in 5559 days

#2 posted 07-05-2007 09:15 PM

Beautiful, Tom. Really nice contrast to the woods. Like most geniuses, under-appreciated in their own land. I’m sure my wife feels the same way about the Shop Tour fun. The look I got when she woke up this morning and I was still working on it – was less than enthusiastic. Even though I was just finishing up an attribution to her (and Deb’s daughter for photo work). You got credited, ur ah, Spid-tato man got credited for his cameo appearances.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14193 posts in 5478 days

#3 posted 07-05-2007 09:56 PM

Hello Tom,
Great bowl ! Nice shape. Love the yellowheart too. Looksgreat next to the purple heart.
Taking the photo with fruit made it even better !

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5593 days

#4 posted 07-05-2007 10:20 PM

Well done. If I knew your wife better I could suggest a retort…

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5656 days

#5 posted 07-05-2007 10:43 PM

love the bowl… AND the artistic top ring…. it kinda adds weight to keep the bowl “planted” firmly on the table, balancing on the smaller ring at the bottom.. if that makes sense. It does to me, the viewer, and so that’s all that counts, to me, the viewer!! :)

great photograph – nice setting.

family appreciation, well, what can one say… when it comes right down to it an artist’s work only matters to him/herself. If he/she is pleased, then it is good.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 5532 days

#6 posted 07-05-2007 11:45 PM

Well, thanks for the comments. I was jittering with anticipation each time I got a minute to get down to the shop to work on this. The foot was turned off it about 3am this morning. After losing the bowl from the tenon that was chucked twice, I mounted it in cole jaws to turn the foot and lost it again. I’m pleased at the glue joints because it hit the concrete floor both times…and the lathe bed…and tool rest, and my workbench leg…possibly the bandsaw as well.

Turning purpleheart: Yech…hard as a rock. I had to sharpen my gouges several times.
Turning yellowheart: Suprisingly oily and really nice to turn. Tears out a bit, but that can be controlled with a sharp gouge and paying attention to grain and bevel support.

Will I do another layered bowl? Baby yeah! And quite possibly start on one tonight!

Thanks for looking! And yes I know…I have to get cracking on the summer challenges…LOL

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Karson's profile


35300 posts in 5896 days

#7 posted 07-06-2007 12:19 AM


It’s a great looking bowl. But I do think that the large purple heart layer causes the eyes to stay too long in that spot. Maybe twice as big as the bottom PH layer.

The yellowheart does not seem to be a 1X and a 2X maybe more a 1X and a 2.5X layer, you could try the purpleheart in the same combination.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View TheGravedigger's profile


963 posts in 5519 days

#8 posted 07-06-2007 12:37 AM

I can relate to your situation. If there was such a thing as a wood that was naturally demon-possessed, it would be purpleheart!

Of course, if you want a REALLY hard wood, try black locust.

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog:

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1823 posts in 5581 days

#9 posted 07-06-2007 02:33 AM

Nice Tom, I know almost nothing of turning (one of these days I’ll actually spend the time to get the lathe fixed) but I like the bowl.

-- Bob

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 5517 days

#10 posted 07-06-2007 03:59 AM

Good job Tom and nice to see you experiment with different woods and styles.
Turning is always a learning thing.


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

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5672 days

#11 posted 07-06-2007 07:27 AM

Interesting experiment, Tom. Nice combination of woods and color.

If you want to try really hard wood – try any variety of Aussie Eucalyptus.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5742 days

#12 posted 07-06-2007 04:43 PM

Nice looking bowlll spiddy. N ice presentation picture takindg. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 5806 days

#13 posted 07-07-2007 02:39 AM

Neat looking bowl, Tom. I like the design.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5822 days

#14 posted 07-07-2007 02:49 AM

good idea for preserving the inside of (and otherwise lost to dust portion of) the bowl. I agree with your design critique, but the experiment is a success!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View BillinDetroit's profile


26 posts in 5472 days

#15 posted 07-10-2007 05:30 AM

I turn. And I like the bowl. So there! <grin>

Nice lines on the profile … it actually looks like you have giant fruit next to it … try this again with larger stock and maybe hold closer to the Golden Ratio for the layer thicknesses … but letting them get bigger towards the top.

Seriously, the bowl DOES look top heavy … but that gives it a sort of ‘anticipation of motion’ and could easily have been claimed as a design intention.

If you don’t want it, I’ll send you my address so you can dispose of it properly. 8-)

-- (pens & bowls, mostly)

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