Project Tutorials

Turning a Simple Bowl

Click image for enlarged view
Turning the tenon

My bowl gouge is sharpened to the profile of a spindle gouge with a total angle of bevel and flute less than 90 degrees. I use this gouge for turning the tenon and shoulder because it can cut into the tight transition area.

Close up of tenon cut

Cutting the straight tenon to fit in the chuck jaws. This would also work for tuning a tenon to glue in the recess of a waste block on a faceplate.

Cutting the tenon shoulder

Cutting in toward the tenon to form a square or slightly undercut shoulder against which the chuck jaws can seat.

The finished tenon

The finished straight tenon and shoulder.

Relieving sharp wood edge

Be careful with sharp edges on spinning wood. Most of my cuts and scrapes have come from contact with a shape edge on the rotating wood. Relieve the edge with the gouge.

Shear scrape

Shear scraping cut. The gouge angled about 45 degrees to the wood surface and the top flute nearly touching the wood. The shear scrape is a light finish cut used to remove ridges or very slightly torn grain. The gouge moves along the wood surface refining the shape and removing any high spots. The gouge can move back and forth over the wood surface. Stop the lathe and check the wood surface to see which direction gives the best results.

Shear scrape

You can see from this view that the top flute of the gouge just clears the surface. This is a scraping cut and will dull the gouge quickly so be prepared to sharpen often for best results.

Shear scrape shavings

Shavings produces by shear scrape.

Rough bowl profile

The rough bowl shape and clean cut end grain areas. I am now ready to mount the tenon in the chuck.

Tenon in chuck

Reverse the blank and grip the tenon in the chuck jaws. The outer edge of the jaws should contact the shoulder of the tenon for best support. The larger diameter contact area of the jaws gives better lateral support. This does not mean the foot will be this large on the finished bowl. Visualize the shape of the foot in the finished piece being inside the larger area chucked in the jaws. Never let the chuck or faceplate dictate the shape of a bowl or vessel. Removal of excess wood at the bottom comes later.