The Three Stages


I’m preparing a couple blanks for my program at Fine Woodworking Live in two weeks.  I noticed I had walnut bowls sitting around in three stages, so I’ll call them Larry, Curly, and Mo.  Larry is a log section — a bowl in waiting.  Curly was roughed out from a green log a couple months ago and is in limbo.  Mo has been through the dry-carving stage, oiled and ready for action.


Here’s Larry after I split off the white sapwood and the angle near the pith with a froe.  I cleaned up what will be the bottom surface with a plane.


Especially on a relatively wide blank for an “upside-down” bowl, it’s not necessary to start with a complete half log and flatten the entire width.  The foot of the bowl won’t be that wide anyway.



Mo’s relatively modest in size and soft-spoken.  13 1/4″ long, 8 3/4″ wide, 4″ high.  I used a subtle texture and no bling on this one.



This entry was posted in bowls, finding wood, green woodworking, holding, layout, Uncategorized, walnut and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Three Stages

  1. Tone says:

    Is that a quarter log or a third? I’ve only ever used half logs – some very big. Smaller sections would allow several smaller bowls to be created instead of just one or two huge bowls. I love big bowls (I’m carving a very big bowl at the moment from a trunk & branch joint, a monster in several ways!) but, realistically, smaller bowls are more practical propositions for most homes & budgets. Barring the monster, this year I plan to concentrate on smaller, shallower bowls for a change.

    BTW Nice plane! I bought 3 large wooden planes in the last 7 months. 2 for me – a jack and a jointer – and big jointer for a friend & colleague, who reckons “the bigger the better”. He may have a point (he makes his own furniture, beds, tables, cupboards), longer does make level on long boards. All 3 planes have thick, sturdy irons & cap irons; interestingly, both the thickness and width of the irons increase with plane size, even between my jointer plane and his, which is 2″ longer at 24″ – the iron is significantly thicker & wider. I’ve tried various sized planes but for bowls, I’ve mainly use a regular #4 plane so far (mine’s an old Marples but Stanley/Record/Woden/Sorby/etc., they are all pretty much the same), quite versatile.

    BTW Love the “There’s no blemish” bowl, so appropriate and positive. 🙂


    • Dave Fisher says:

      I guess it was closer to 1/3 of a log — certainly closer to 120 degrees than 90 degrees. But with this orientation, it doesn’t really matter. The angles will disappear into the outer curves of the bowl. If the log was larger, you could split into a 1/4 section, split away more of the central triangle near the pith and end up with essentially the same bowl. A little creative problem solving can allow you to use all sorts of logs by adjusting to size, knots, growth ring patterns, etc.

      That splitting angle makes much more of a direct impact in this orientation where the angled sides of the split remain as the upper surface of the bowl.

      I like to use that wooden jointer plane sometimes for flattening the long surface at that stage. Once the bowl is dry and the smaller foot of the bowl needs to be flattened, I usually just use a block plane.

      Thanks for sharing your experience and kind words!


  2. Earl says:

    Sorry, David, but I have to disagree with the last sentence of your post. Your bowls are so tastefully done that they silently scream “bling” even in their exquisite simplicity…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Scott Thomas says:

    Simple elegance does not always require the “bling” of a necklace that you so frequently carve. Both styles are providing those who purchase them an amazing presentation piece for their apples or other uses. Seeing your wooden plane makes me wonder if I shouldn’t prepare the one I have that belonged to my great grandfather for use rather than just sitting safely on a bedroom shelf. Will Larry be giving up it’s internal secrets at FWWL? I hope to soak up all I can from your bowl carving presentations in the short time allowed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave Fisher says:

      Putting your great grandfather’s plane back to use sounds like a good plan to me, Scott. Larry will be there! While the presentations/demonstrations follow scheduled times, I’d be happy to answer questions and talk bowls beyond that. See you soon.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s