Bowl Carving Summary Sheet
STEP 1. Select Your Wood
- Nut trees and most hardwoods are preferable to fruit trees
- Green wood – easy to cut, takes longer to dry (thus finish), more prone to cracking/splitting
- Dry wood – harder to cut, won’t crack, easy to finish
STEP 2. Secure Your Wood
- Use a work bench, vise, clamps or combination of all three
- Readjust wood as necessary
- Wear protective safety clothing, use a full face visor
STEP 3. Blade Selection
- Read ALL safety instructions!
- Make sure the teeth and safety guard are in the right position.
- Know what blades do what (e.g. 22 tooth – finer cut, 14 tooth – rougher cut)
STEP 4. Mark the Wall Thickness
- Pencil mark the thickness of your desired walls
- Carve, remark, carve, remark . . .
STEP 5. Mark the Top
- Pencil mark your desired top on the outside of the bowl (guide purposes only)
STEP 6. Carving & Shaping The Inside of Dough Bowls and Bread Bowls
- Bread bowls – use L to R repetitive sweep (tandem 22 tooth recommended)
- Dough bowls – ditto, combine with raker, horizontal, straight, slicing and feather cuts
STEP 7. Carving & Shaping The Inside of Medium to Large Bowls
- NEVER PUSH AWAY FROM THE BODY
- Start in the middle of the wood – pull blades toward you using repetitive plunge / short straight cuts. Work toward the outsides
- To further shape the sides, balance yourself and gently but firmly push upwards and away from your body toward the top of the wood
- Use smooth controlled motions, shape layer by layer, moving closer to the pencil line
STEP 8. Carving & Leveling the Top Rim
- Use horizontal cut
- Apply slight pressure, making a forward cut through the side and around the edge of the bowl, slightly above the pencil mark
STEP 9. Marking & Carving the Base
- Secure wood securely and pencil mark desired shape, either Flat Base or Rimmed Hollow Center Base
- To achieve a flat base- use horizontal cut.
- BE CAREFUL! – carve gently – leave something to sand
STEP 10. Carving & Shaping the Outside
- As you carve, regularly check side and bottom thickness
- If desired, carve to highlight natural burls and bark
STEP 11. Final Shaping with Carbide Abrasive Wheels
- Start on the bottom… then outside… then inside.
- Hold grinder in raker position, use a push-pull motion to glide across bowl surface.
- Try holding the angle grinder vertically to remove side rough spots – sweeping from R to L. Try pushing upwards from the bottom & vice-versa.
STEP 12. Final Sanding with Flap Discs
- Put coarse/medium (24 grit) Flap Disc on grinder. Use flange/adapter or Lancelot or Squire bottom disc for support.
- Use raker position and try push-pull, left to right or right to left passes to sand bowl surface.
- Inspect your work regularly.
- Switch to medium/fine (80 grit) Flap Discs and repeat. DONE!
STEP 13. Applying Finishes
- Sealing finishes:(e.g. varnishes, lacquers and waxes) close and protect wood surface. Requires little upkeep. Apply with brush or cloth, leave to dry, lightly sand, recoat and repeat.
- Penetrating finishes: (oils e.g tung, linseed and Danish) penetrate cells and fibers in successive layers enhancing beauty, richness and wood warmth. Coat on with brush or cloth. Wipe off excess oil, allow to soak and repeat.
- Wax finishes can also be applied with buffing wheels. Try Beal’s three stick process; tripoli, white diamond and carnauba for a protective and lustrous finish.
- Colored stains or paints can also be utilized to enhance the bowl.