Carve Your Daily Bowl
Greenwood carver David Fisher eats his cereal each morning out of a bowl he carved himself. You can, too, with just a handful of tools and this quiet tutorial.
Synopsis: David Fisher eats his cereal each morning out of a bowl he carved himself. You can, too, with just a handful of tools and this quiet tutorial. Here he explains how to choose the log, mark out the bowl, split out your blank, and lay it out. Then you can get busy hollowing the inside and carving the outside.
With just a handful of tools, you can carve a bowl to use each day. I love the simple ritual of eating cereal from mine, and even of washing it afterward. This small round bowl doesn’t require a big log and can be a rewarding project if you are just starting out as a carver, but it also offers subtle challenges for more experienced carvers. Although most bowls I carve are not round, for a cereal or ice cream bowl, round works best. Of course, round bowls can be turned on a lathe and usually are, but you can carve them too. The process is a joy and offers many design possibilities.
I find a nice size for an eating bowl to be about 7 in. dia. by 2-3⁄8 in. high. The ideal log for a bowl that size will be about 8 in. dia. with the pith located approximately in the center. Choose a tree species that is tight-grained and won’t impart a particular taste or smell to your corn flakes. Softer species such as basswood are easy to carve, but more absorbent. Harder woods require a little more elbow grease, but will take a burnished surface from the tool and hold up better in use. Some ideal species are black cherry, tulip poplar, maple, birch, aspen, and various fruitwoods. Start with a fresh green log if you can; it will be a pleasure to carve.
You don’t need an adze to hollow the bowl. For a bowl of this size, a gouge and mallet will do the job. If you do plan to hollow with an adze, I recommend crosscutting the log to a length that allows for two bowls. This will make it much easier and safer to hold or secure the blank for the adze work. The two bowls can then be separated after hollowing. For hollowing with a gouge and mallet, crosscut the log to a length of around 7-1⁄2 in.
From Fine Woodworking #283
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