Bowl Turning 101

The journey from tree to your table requires many steps spanning a year or more.  Here are the steps that are taken in the bowl turning process:

Cutting fresh logs from a tree that came down during a storm.

Marking the cut– this log will yield two bowl blanks.

The blanks are split with a chain saw.

Blanks are rough shaped to circular form with a chain saw– large blanks can weigh over 100 pounds.

The rough bowl blank is mounted onto the lathe.

The outside shape of the bowl is developed with lathe tools.

After the outside shape is developed, the bowl is reversed on the lathe and the inside is hollowed out.

The rough bowl is sealed with a green wood sealer to slow the drying and prevent cracking.

The rough bowl is stored in a paper bag for a year to slowly dry out.

About one year later, the rough bowl is selected for final turning.

The drying process has resulted in a distorted bowl that is out of round.

The bowl is mounted on the lathe.

The foot is turned true to its final form.

The outside of the bowl is turned true and given a smooth finish.

The inside of the bowl is hollowed to a uniform thickness and is given a smooth finish.

The bowl surfaces are sanded for final finishing.

The last step on the lathe removes the chuck flange and finishes the bottom of the bowl.

The bowl receives several coats of a food safe finish– normally butcher block, tung, or walnut oil followed by a wax finish.

The bowl is given a final polishing.

Your finished bowl- 100 pounds of wood, 400 days of seasoning, 20 hours of creation, a lifetime of enjoyment.