I am learning a lot about taking pictures of bowls. Here, it is impossible to tell the scale of the object because I have made them fit into the available space no matter how small the bowl was.
The impetus to buying my first lathe was to make a platter for Brazilian churrasco. In Brazil, I had discovered churrasco a couple of years prior and a restaurant had opened nearby. I decided to begin doing it myself and I had the luck of finding some spits, but needed the platter underneath on which to carry the spit. Thinking I could make one if I only had a lathe, it occurred to me that I had long wanted to turn bowls and decided that this was the probably the time. A year later, I turned three more for a barbecue I was putting on for fifty people. The first and two of the others were done in maple while one was done in ash. I prowled through Craft Supplies' wood room looking for the cheapest blanks that would accommodate my needs. The handles to my first one and the first of the second set were crooked. Then I gave up and bought a vise for my drill press. The second two were perfect. I finished these platters in Varathane because I wanted it to be impervious to water (and meat juices) as well as to stand up to the punishment the end of the spits would give it.
My first bowl was, like anyone else's, a failure. I finished up with a hole in the bottom and the maple blank had a bad end-grain problem that I didn't know how to solve. It caused me to purchase a special Vicmarc chuck for turning bowls and after this bowl, I began using Richard Raffin's drilled hole trick for establishing the depth of the bowl. I finished this bowl using mineral oil. I didn't like this finish at all and resolved to try oil and wax next time.
I actually started my second bowl before this, but the wood was too green. In the meantime, I made this little bud vase for my oldest daughter out of a bocote wood blank. I finished this in Varathane, a mistake I think, but I intended it to be impervious to water.
4 Walnut Burl|
After a couple of months and with the wood a lot drier just before I went to France in May of 2000, I finished this bowl for Mother's Day. I think it was some kind of walnut burl. It had some serious green in it in places, even after setting it aside a while. However, it turned out surprisingly well. The secret to enjoyment and success in amateur bowl turning is not to compare bowls turned by masters with your own. That way, you've forgotten how bad yours is in your excitement to have succeeded at something and your family members probably don't know the difference anyway. I finished this in oil and wax. Almost a year later, my mother reports no cracks. It is the project that sold me on turning.
I had set this bowl aside from turning for a number of months because we don't have much room at home. When it came time to turn out the churrasco underplatters, I had so much fun that I finished a bowl I had started for my second daughter out of putumuju, a wood with pumpkin-colored flesh. When sanding the outside, I discovered that this wood heats up and cracks quickly. I superglued the cracks and set it aside for all these months thinking it needed to dry a bit more. I was wrong, but I was careful not to heat it up too much when I got around to finishing it up. I finished it along with the churrasco platters (in Varathane) and then remembered I didn't ever want to laquer a bowl again. Alas.
This is my second churrasco platter; it is out of ash. It had been used by the time this picture was taken.
This is my third churrasco platter; it is out of maple. It had been used by the time this picture was taken.
This is my fourth churrasco platter; it is out of maple. It had been used by the time this picture was taken.
9 Spalted Beech|
Bowl given to Amy along with a turned myrtle egg.
Large maple bowl for my brother. I'm still having trouble with maple end grain, but this one has the least bit of it so far in all my maple projects. Maple is cheap, maybe $4 for the blank to turn this bowl, and I'm not to the point where I'm going to put down $30 on a blank.
11 Maple Burl|
Two story (platter) nut tray of dark maple burl. I am looking for hardware to hold this together. The burl is magnificent just as I though it would be when I purchased it last summer. I have already rough-turned the connecting piece and sanded it a bit to see how it will turn out. This burl is gorgeous! I am spending a lot of careful time on this project; the burl was expensive (about $30 for the three pieces) and it is for Julene.
These are not pictured. I attended a three-day beginning woodturners' course at Craft Supplies. While there, I turned a lot of spindles and bowls, all of which were exercises and most of which were useless otherwise. I did give away a few of the bowls that survived. Since time didn't permit finishing until after the course was over, the bowls were out of round, when I re-turned one to fix up some end grain, I exploded it, sanding wasn't completely effective, etc.
Platter, given to an old friend. This was actually the last project at the turners' course and, as it didn't need much sanding, it sort of escaped the throw away pile. Visible in the center is a circular mark created by a pressure chuck used experimentally in the construction. Nevertheless, it was a nice piece.
This one went to the office as a candy bowl for the receptionist. It is rather big compared to other projects so far; the photo doesn't show its scale.
I turned this bowl for the surgeon who performed septoplasty on me during a particularly painful weekend in the emergency room and hospital. I gave it to him the day I got "unpacked."
21 Western Maple Burl|
This was a beautiful bowl similar to my secondthe one I turned for Mother's Day, 2000. It went to my wife's uncle and aunt in San Diego and fits well in the decor of their new house's front room which has a lot of wood in it.
This one went to a dear friend in Austin, Texas along with another very similar to (but better than) the spalted beech bowl pictured below. It was out of box elder I think.
23 Spalted beech|
This bowl went oblong as soon as I turned it because I cored it out very thin as an experiment to see how thin I could reasonably turn it. I got it down to around 3/16". But, by the time I finished, it was so oval that I could barely sand it.
This bowl/dish is about 8 inches in diameter. Here both top and bottom are shown. This was the piece I was working on the second time I found myself transported by ambulance to the hospital. I finally finished it a month later in late May 2001. This one went to a new neighbor across the street as a house-warming gift.