Wood Bowls for Gifts

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Project by HappyHowie posted 06-16-2017 04:01 AM 1240 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I completed four of the seven bowls that I started turning last week. I discovered some holes and soft areas in a couple of the wood blocks I purchased. I will evaluate those to see if I will be able to turn those to completion.

These four bowls will be gifts for three family members and a friend that we will be visiting soon.

I used my Beall Buffing System to clean, polish and wax these bowls. I intend to mount my large buffing wheel on my mini-lathe one more time so the bowls can be polished a bit more before packing them for shipment.

In the first image shown above the wood species are starting on the left top and going clockwise: padauk, purpleheart, and the remaining two are both ambrosia maple. The other three bowls I started will have to wait to be finished. I ran into some trouble with these three. Two of them hand holes within the block of wood I purchased. The third species ended up being a very hard wood and difficult to turn even though I was sharpening my bowl gouges often. In fact, this block of wood broke off my glue chuck three times. One of those was a “catch” from me taking too much of a thick cut. The others must have been a terrible PA glue surface. I haven’t yet put that block back onto a glue chuck.

I will need to remember that my mini-lathe reverse mounting apparatus can only hold bowls with diameters less than 6 3/4 inches. By removing some of the rubber washers I was able to hold three of these bowls. Two of their diameters were 6 7/8 inches. I had to remove all the rubber washers in order to mount the 7 1/4 inch diameter bowl. I made it work although it was dangerous. I made very thin cuts to shape the feet for these three bowls. Well, I made thin cuts for all four bowls; even the smaller bowl that I was able to hold fast with all the rubber washers installed.

This will be the last time I monkey with this setup. I believe I will make a shop-made device to hold the larger bowl I turned but could not mount with this reverse mount device for my NOVA four-jaw chuck. Either that or I will hold onto it in case I ever buy a larger lathe. That might take forever. I am not a great woodturner although I do enjoy turning wood.

If I hadn’t put this project off until I felt being rushed to get these gifts completed and mailed I know I could have done better. That is not to say they are in poor shape. My Annie says “no one will know”. She may be right. I just know I could have made the walls thinner and with a better shape or curve. I did intentionally make the walls thick so the bowls could survive being dropped accidentally. I made them so they would be used; not just a display piece. I hope they will be enjoyed and used. Most of all I hope they will remember who made it for them. I made these as special gifts. They are not expensive. They are not special, but I have my time with my best effort in that time allotted.

The gifts I have received and treasure the most are those that were handmade; like the DVD I received for Father’s Day years back. Every one of my six children had input into the collection of songs they burned on that DVD: “Our Dad’s Favorite Song Collection”. These were the songs they remembered as their dad’s favorite songs he enjoyed. They said they argued about what their father liked. I had a variety of songs they each heard through the years. They each got it right. I treasure that memory, that gift. I treasure them. I love that they did that wonderful thing for me. It was their time invested that I treasured and loved the most.

-- --- Happy Howie

6 comments so far

View Ivan's profile


16636 posts in 3883 days

#1 posted 06-16-2017 04:29 AM


-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View adrianacrazy's profile


9 posts in 1360 days

#2 posted 06-16-2017 02:15 PM


View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3882 days

#3 posted 06-16-2017 03:55 PM

These are beautiful bowls and will make very nice gifts.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View LesB's profile


2882 posts in 4458 days

#4 posted 06-16-2017 04:51 PM

Bowls make great gifts and yours turned out well.
Everyone I give a bowl to loves them. I had one person actual wear her salad bowl out (at least the finish) so I made her a new one. I too make most of my bowl a little on the thick side for durability.

Some suggestions:
Will your lathe turn on the outboard side (or can you turn the head around)? If so, you can turn larger bowls. You will need a free standing support for your tool rest. I made one from a 13”l tire filed with cement and 1 1/2” galvanized pipe.
CA glue (super glue) is great for firming soft spots and the thicker versions works for filling small holes and cracks; especially if you mix some fine saw dust In with it. I get the sawdust by sanding the wood with my orbital sander which has a dust collection bag on it.
For bowls that will get hard use I apply 3 or 4 coats of a “salad bowl” finish. Behl and General both make good ones.

-- Les B, Oregon

View ralbuck's profile


6690 posts in 3282 days

#5 posted 06-16-2017 07:46 PM

They all look great to me.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View HappyHowie's profile


484 posts in 2960 days

#6 posted 06-17-2017 12:55 AM

Ivan, I love it that you still stay in touch with my projects. Wish you and your family best. I hope you are doing well. NBA finals are over. Golden State are the Champions. My friends who live near Cleveland (and who we will see soon) do not seem that upset; especially how their Cavs nearly got swept in the finals.

Les, that is a great idea using sawdust from these bowls with CA glue. I will work that into this fifth bowl I am trying to finish. The putty I used is definitely not going to work well. I already have lost some of it from the inside of the bowl. I appreciate your instructions. Thank you.

For now, I am going to kick back and rest. This afternoon I did rebuff all four bowls with my larger buffing wheel. I do believe that it did help polish them better and more cleanly. I will actually beat them to their final destination. I mailed all four in a large box at my local UPS Store. I sent them to myself in care of my brother-in-law. He is my Annie’s youngest brother. We will see him on Tuesday and UPS has estimated the bowls arriving at his home on Thursday. That will work perfectly for us.

Did I say earlier that this was my first experience with padauk wood? It has a sweet smell to it. I think it smells like a tropical fruit although I have not read that this tree produces a fruit. It kind of smells like a banana to me. I discovered there are at least two ways to pronounce its name Pa duk and pah douk as heard here. It is also a very beautiful tree from Africa. I will use this wood species again in future projects.

-- --- Happy Howie

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