I thought I would do a series of pictures showing the steps involved in making a bowl on a pole lathe. I started off with a chainsawed blank from a beech log (which I forgot to photograph…)
First step is to take the rough blank and make it as round as possible with an axe. The rounder I can get it the easier it will be on the lathe.
This is the first side of the bowl roughed out, then copied on the other side.
I’ve finished the roughing out and have hammered the mandrel into the blank. The idea of the mandrel is for the drive string to go round.
The blank is now on the lathe. Always working from the right hand side I shape the outside of the bowl first.
You can see the mandrel is used for the drive string.
The back done the blank is turned round so I can cut into the face of the bowl , hollowing out the bowl bit of the bowl as it were…
Starting to work in to the body of the bowl. I check the thickness of the bowl wall as I go along between finger and thumb, which is surprisingly accurate.
With the shape of the inside done all I need to do is detach from the mandrel. To do this I need to get the central bit connecting mandrel and bowl thin enough to snap.
The core is now undercut and ready to snap off. When I made my fist bowl, this snapping was terrifying.
The stub of the core left in the bowl I cut out with a small spoon knife.
The finished bowl
All of that took about an hour, including stopping to take all of these pictures. After a few weeks it’ll be dry and I’ll oil it lightly with walnut oil. This give some protection to the wood and also makes the colours of the wood really stand out. I’ll take some pictures of this one when I oil it.