Archive for April, 2010

the Cedar Bowl

A neighbor of mine that was cutting down a cedar tree  and ended up dropping off the cut off tree stump at my house last weekend.  Knowing that I’m always looking for unusual projects, he thought that I might be able to use this chuck of wood he originally was going to toss in his wood pile.  Sometimes while pondering projects, I get an immediate idea of what I want to do and at other times, it’s takes a while before the concept starts.  In this case, in an instant I knew I wanted to try to push the capacity of my Jet mini lathe and make a bowl from this “thing”.


The raw wood! One person’s firewood is another s bowl!

The first step in the process of turning this chuck of wood into a bowl was deciding which end of the stump would be the bowl opening and which the bottom.  In this case I decided to make the bowl upside down within the wood and have the bowl opening from the bottom of the stump.

I then placed the stump on my band saw to trim it as round as possible before mounting it on the lathe.  My mini lathe has a 12 inch capacity so I tried to make the band-saw cut just under that dimension.   You then make a best guess at where the centers are on each end of what now is becoming a raw bowl “blank.”

This was quickly figured out and mounted on the lathe.  Raw blanks like this can cause some serious wobble when first mounted on the lathe.  No matter how good the guess was as to the center of each end, your still going to have a large mass of wood spinning off-center so the premounting band-saw cut is critical to be as round as possible.  It’s also best practice, and if you have a variable speed lathe,  to reduce your lathe’s rpm’s as much as possible.  My lathe can spin as slow as 500 rpm, so that is where I started.

The makings of a bowl

The makings of a bowl

After a few minutes of careful use of a large bowl gauge cutting tool, you can see the bowl blank starting to round as I make progress in removing the high spots.


This project ended up taking about 2 hours to complete.  This is actually the first bowl I had turned using cedar and it does have some interesting colored grain patterns.  The finished bowl is not one of my favorites but the Wife really likes it so it’s here to stay and inside the home,  proudly on display

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