Thursday, January 24, 2008


Last updated June 14, 2009

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Remounting dried bowl blanks

Six months ago you started off with a green log and roughed out a bowl blank and left it to dry. It is now a cupped oval shape, and you need some method to secure it on the lathe for final turning. Any spigots or recesses you left are now oval too. If you used a coring system, there are probably no spigots or recesses anyway:-

There are many options available, and will depend to some extent on what equipment you have available, the size of the bowl, and of course your personal preference. Today I'm going to show you the approach I took recently while preparing 100+ bowl blanks for final turning.

Ultimately I want to be able to mount the bowl on a chuck, gripping inside the rim, with no tailstock support. This way I can turn the outside of the bowl without having to make awkward cuts to work around the tailstock. So what I want is a trued-up recess just inside the rim that I can grip with cole jaws. Here is a picture showing how I cut this recess with a square scraper. I also make a slight dovetail cut with a spindle gouge.

I have the bowl blank sandwiched between the chuck and tailstock. I am using just two large Nova Power Grip jaws to drive the bowl, but they aren't really holding the bowl, just supporting it and driving it. The corners of each jaw press into the outside surface of the bowl blank. These four points provide a very stable platform for the blank. I use just two jaws so that the oval blank sits nicely between them. I align the bowl so that the jaws are 'gripping' across the short axis of the oval. This way there is no way the bowl can turn and come loose.

This larger bowl needed a block of wood (a reject candle holder; I new I would find a use for it one day) between the bowl and the tailstock.

In a later post I will show how I turn the outside of the bowl by mounting them on my cole jaws fitted with customised wooden jaws.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Turning a honey dipper

Here is a video showing Finnish turner Antti Sorvamaa turning a honey dipper. This is a nice project for beginners who have already learnt to use the basic spindle tools. Don't forget that Antti has probably made quite a few of these before, so don't expect to be able to work nearly as fast as he does. Choose straight grained wood, free of knots and figure, and something not to hard. I suspect that he is using moderately dry birch rather than something like dry rock maple.