Fluted Dragon


Here’s the ale bowl from my recent post on orthodontics, now completed.  I carved flutes along the exterior of this one.  The gouge I use for fluting depends upon the effect I want and the curvature of the exterior itself.  In this case, the bowl has a tight curvature, so the shallow curve of this #4 20mm gouge interacted with that surface well, although many other choices would have worked too.

I also have to keep in mind the thickness of, especially, the side walls.  The vertical end grain areas are left relatively thick.  I don’t measure, but at the middle of the sides I like the walls to be around 1/8″ – 3/16″ thick (3 or 4 mm).  If I don’t leave enough allowance for the material removed by the fluting… well, you can imagine the trouble.


There is a subtle texture left along each flute from each forward push of the gouge through the dry (at this stage) wood.  Here was that cherry wood last summer:


I wrote about busting up that log in this post.  I think this bowl was from the blank in the top right of the photo.


All said and done, it’s 13 1/2″ long and 6 1/2″ wide.  Ready for ale.

This entry was posted in ale bowls, cherry, patterns, proportions, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Fluted Dragon

  1. Kalia Kliban says:

    What a beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. tl m says:

    Hi David, You outdid yourself with the fluted dragon!  Kudos. Teresa MulhollanAustin, Texas

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rudy Everts says:

    Such a beautiful ale bowl. I like the striking lines on the dragon’s head. It almost looks like you used a handplane. Very nice work, David!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. nrhiller says:

    Just gorgeous. You defy my vocabulary.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. John Fielding says:

    Impressive carving, Dave! Now, where are those thirsty Norsemen?…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. John Breiby says:

    Just incredible, Dave! Would you really use it for ale, or would you worry that getting it wet might cause it to split, or at least raise the grain badly? Also, with its tight curves, how much of the initial hollowing were you able to accomplish with your adze, as opposed to a chisel? Thanks for sharing this beautiful object with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave Fisher says:

      John, I’d absolutely use it for ale, although it won’t be up to me. I eat cereal every day from a wooden bowl and wash it at the sink. I’ve tested ale bowls by leaving water in them overnight even. No problems. The grain doesn’t raise, at least not noticeably, because these surfaces have all been sliced with sharp tools rather than sanded. Sanding leaves scratches through the fibers which then expand with water.

      Very little of the hollowing on this bowl was done with an adze — a few initial cuts to remove a bit from the central portion. Then it’s on to a bent gouge, followed by a spoon-bent gouge, followed by a hook knife.


  7. Karl says:

    I absolutely love it. That dragon is elegant, incredibly graceful, beautifully crafted, and cute as hell. And rather chubby too; looks like he’s been hitting the ale barrel pretty hard himself.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Philip Green says:

    Hi Dave

    Depressingly wonderful, as usual.

    By the way, will be at Spoonfest in the UK this year? I can’t see you listed on the line-up of tutors?


    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave Fisher says:

      Yes, I will be at Spoonfest in August, and I’ll be offering some workshops. I see on the webpage that Robin says they’ve not yet listed all of the tutors, that the list is partial. I’m looking forward to it!


  9. Skip Florey says:

    Really a wonderful piece. The flutes …and all the rest… are proportioned so evenly. How do you decide on their size, then mark them out to reach that beautiful symmetry?
    Could there be a seminar in the future near southern CA? 👍


  10. Chris van Aar says:

    Hello David,

    Don’t know where to post it, so I do it here. Perhaps an interesting example of an carving horse?!

    Wonderfull blog!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dave Fisher says:

    That is an interesting design. I assume its complexity allows it to do many other holding tasks beyond holding a block in place for some gouge hollowing. I see he’s got his strop at the ready, slung over the body of the horse. Thanks for sharing that.


  12. kevspracticepage says:

    Beautiful! This quote immediately came to mind.
    “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
    -St. Francis of Assissi


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