There’s a new issue of Fine Woodworking Magazine just out (August 2020, Issue #283) with a slew of good articles. I’ve also got an article in there on carving an eating bowl like the one above. With just a few tools, and no adze, you can have the fun of making a bowl that will become a part of your daily life as much as the food you eat from it. You hold the bowl, the bowl holds your oatmeal — a wonderful relationship.
As are the relationships between the enthusiastic staff members at Fine Woodworking; not that they hold each other, necessarily. To put it simply, these are really good people that are dedicated to doing great work together. It has been a real privilege for me to get to know them and work with the team from time to time.
Back in 2017, Ben Strano and Jeff Roos were even able to film a couple days of me talking to myself while making wood chips and transform it in to a series of videos on carving a bowl that turned out fantastic.
This latest article features a bowl with a much more simple form, but this can be deceptive. While there are fewer complex curves than many of my bowls and no flaring undercut sculpted handles, getting the subtleties of a seemingly straightforward breakfast bowl like this just right is an engaging challenge even for experienced carvers. Jon Binzen’s clear photos break it down beautifully.
That said, this form is not overwhelming for a beginner and doesn’t require many tools or much material. And the concepts involved carry over to other bowl forms.
While the inside should ideally be cleanly cut with a gentle texture for ease of eating and washing…
…,the outside offers up a blank canvas with all sorts of possibilities. In the article, I go into detail about laying out and carving a fluted exterior like the one above.
And there will be additional possibilities discussed at FWW online, including the spiral texture above that is trickier than it looks due to grain direction.
Also, this dappled texture as well as some information on painting.
I also have a couple more articles in the works. Meanwhile if you want to check out some of my previous articles here is a link to the links.
One last thing. The material for the eating bowl in this article is easily obtained and handled, a small diameter log, about 8 inches across. I typically don’t mind the movement, the crowning, that takes place as the piece dries, but if you want to avoid it you might consider splitting your next big log to get some vertical grain blanks for bowls like in the second example of this little sketch.
The movement may be a bit exaggerated, but it should give you the idea. By splitting a large enough log twice, you can get two long sections of vertical grain to both sides of the pith and still have plenty of wood above and below for other bowls. There will be much less movement in a bowl carved from such a blank. That central band doesn’t need to be more than three inches thick.