I’m a cereal lover and, although I’ve had to switch from Boo-Berry to Shredded Wheat over the years, I still eat cereal every day — from a wooden bowl. Cereal or not, it makes for quiet eating, and the wood is insulating so your ice cream won’t melt as fast. There’s something about the ritual of using the same bowl, then washing it, and putting it back in its place that I like. The one in the photo above has been washed hundreds of times without being freshened up, but it could use a little oil now I guess.
It’s a pretty straightforward project to make an eating bowl. For cereal, I like to cradle the bowl in one hand, and I find that a diameter of six or seven inches is ideal, with a height of two inches or so. So all you need is a seven inch log. Strike a circle on the upper side of the blank and a smaller one on the bottom (concentric to the one on top), hollow the inside, then hew the outside. I wrote in more detail about that in this post.
The biggest challenge is fiddling with the size of a small bowl. Hands can get pretty close to those sharp edges. The little sketch to the left shows how I handle that — and you end up with two bowls.
Whether hewing or clamping, it just makes it a lot easier to hold, then the two can be separated whenever it makes sense. Or maybe leave them attached! Could make for a romantic dinner — or you could have two bowls of ice cream. Tough call.
Below are a couple examples of small bowls I made recently with rising ends that should clarify what I mean in the lower part of the sketch.
You can see how starting with a peaked blank creates sides that sweep down slightly from the higher ends. This is very similar to the effect created by using an “upside-down” blank, and the same concept that I discussed in my Roof Top Bowl post — albeit with a larger bowl with some differences in form.
The uppermost flute narrows the rim, creating a lip ideal for drinking — the cereal milk is the best part after all.
Here is another bowl using the same concept — but with a much broader drinking rim. Again, in cherry. All of the bowls in this post are cherry.
And here is another “roof top” bowl, this one smaller and more delicate. Not a great cereal bowl, but nice for something like yogurt. The texture on the underside feels nice against the fingertips.
With a wooden bowl, you too may even look forward to shredded wheat.
I was wondering why the zigzag design has two different colored teeth or is it just the lighting? Beautiful bowls and wonderful share! Thanks!
Thanks. Yes, it’s just the way the light is falling on the bowl.
I’m a great admirer of your work, have you ever thought of writing a book? I know it would take time out of your carving, but your engaging writing style would compliment your bowls and I’m sure others would be interested.
Just a thought.
Thanks, Bert. I have thought of it. I appreciate your kind words and enthusiasm for such an idea. Who knows?
Gotta try this- I’m a huge cereal fan, too! Thanks for the inspiring post.
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“….may even look forward to shredded wheat.” ?? Blasphemy!! It has been my favorite for years… with most any fruit and, believe it or not, skim milk.. all in a very one of a kind hand-built stoneware bowl by my pal, Brynne Bowler. Yes, that really is her name.
Great post and bowls, Dave. Thanks.
Good point re: the fruit, Scott …. blueberries preferably!
Such lovely, sweet bowls, Dave. Love the fluting! And they are holding up really well. I am amazed to hear that first one has not been oiled recently. And I agree about the rhythms of eating from the same bowls or bowl every day–a quiet meditation on craft, form and function each morning. Hope we can catch up at Greenwood fest. I can come only to the pre-fest, but maybe I can drive down on the weekend to say hi.
Well put, Eric — “a quiet meditation….” The beautiful bowls you’ve turned on your pole lathe are well suited for that. Look forward to seeing you soon.
Thanks for writing such elegant yet simple and straightforward explanations of your methodology. Yours are among the few posts that I open and spend time with as soon as I see them. They brighten my day-thank you! I also appreciate your posts along the lines of wander to wonder, the ones on nature, birds et al. They touch my heart and go deeper into my soul.
I have a question-I have located a source for kiln dried off cuts of walnut. These are anywhere from 5″-8″ in width/ 2.5″-3.4″ in thickness and 12″-20″ in length. It looks like your work is primarily with green wood. I am a beginner – Can I use the axe, adze, gouges, other green woodworking tools with this kiln dried walnut or would some other tools be better?
Thx for your reply,
Thanks, Reggie. You certainly can use all of the same tools with the dried wood available to you. You will find the roughing a little hard-going, and you won’t really have control over the orientation of the growth rings and all that, but that’s no reason to not dig in. It will help you to appreciate roughing things green eventually. Just study each piece and try to make the most of what it has to offer. Lots of creative ideas and designs that you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of can result from working within some limitations.
That all makes perfect sense. I had not thought about the orientation of the growth rings but that certainly is something I will have to contend with-Thanks so much for taking the time to reply!
David, those bowls are just crying out to be held. They look wonderful and I’m sure they feel just as good. Thank you for your posts. I’ve never made a bowl but seeing these makes me want to try.
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I second the comment about writing a book. I would purchase at least, possibly more as gifts to other woodworking friends. What is your preferred finish for these bowls? Nut oils?
Thanks, Brian. I prefer flax seed oil (cold-pressed linseed oil), and/or a blend of that and beeswax. I wrote about it a bit in this post https://davidffisherblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/hot-oil-treatment/. I still try out some different sources from time to time.
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