Another Bowl Beginning

Why does this never get old? As I was roughing out this big cherry bowl, I thought about how I’ve gone through this process so many times over the years, and yet it remains completely engaging, even thrilling. I suppose there are many factors that contribute to this: the multi-sensory stimulation, the physicality and movement, the constant challenges to one’s skill, the focused attention, the joy of using these tools, and much more.

I took some shots during the early stages with this one to share the experience all over again.

I think much of the fascination lies in beginning with such raw, elemental material and responding to what it offers. This cherry log had natural splits already forming an x pattern centered on the pith, so I had to follow the log’s lead. One of the resulting billets is above. Wanting to work with an arched top, but with the pith side up on this one, I sketched a rough idea of the end-on proportions of the bowl within the heartwood. This would yield a bowl about 13 inches wide. Then I started riving away what excess I could.

There goes the chunk from the bottom side. I had already split off the sapwood on the sides.

After marking, hewing, and hand planing, the bottom is flat, the prime reference surface.

Such a pleasure hewing with a sharp axe, in this case to remove excess from the top.

This cherry has some curly, unruly grain, so after the axe and drawknife work, I went over the arch across the grain with a handplane to finish before layout.

Here’s a shot of some of the final light cuts with the adze. A blank like this is still heavy enough at this point that it stays pretty steady for the adze work.

The hollow after the adze has had its fun.

Then it’s on to the exterior. The curves are in there somewhere. Almost finished!

This entry was posted in adze, cherry, green woodworking, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Another Bowl Beginning

  1. Russell West says:

    It’s great to see the process, Dave
    Also, really interesting to see your thoughts on why you find this so compelling, even after doing this a while. It’s very heartening for someone like myself, beginning the journey into green woodwork.
    Thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bob Easton says:

    Why is it you always find the beautiful wide cherry, while in my part of the woods there’s scraggly oak and spalted maple? 🙂
    It’s interesting seeing the grain pattern develop in this bowl. THANKS for the pics.


    • Dave Fisher says:

      I’m lucky sometimes, Bob! Some of the best and biggest uprooted cherry trees I’ve seen around here go unused. Too far back in the woods or in an otherwise inaccessible location. Find a local sawyer who can keep his eyes open for a log that he may not want to saw due to a chunk of metal or some other reason. Although he won’t be as good as my man, Lou!


  3. Drew Knowland says:

    Thank you for sharing your thought process and approach to a piece of wood – the raw material that will become a work of art under your skillful hands, Dave. As bowl carving never seems to get old for you, reading about and watching what you have been doing never gets old for me!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bob says:

    Skillful actions with these characteristics arise from and manifest a personal tranquility. That is one must effortlessly concentrate on the activity itself, and that involves forgetting normal concerns and goals as well as processing a settled but active mind and a vigorous physical state. Lee H. Yearly from Essays on Skepticism, Relativism and Ethics in the Zhuangzi.


    • Dave Fisher says:

      Wonderful, enlightening quote, Bob. Thanks very much for sharing that and providing the reference. It has already begun to lead me down a fascinating rabbit hole, and may also lead to some interesting discussion with my philosophy-major son.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for continuing to share these processes, Dave. I have yet to find it anything but fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Scott Kinsey says:

    Thanks for sharing, Dave, again and again and again.
    It’s a lucky log that finds its way to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Barry Gordon says:

    This is another important observation from you. A you know, I work wood with very different
    processes, but you’ve captured the same feeling as I experience (and you’ve probably expressed it more cogently too!): “I think much of the fascination lies in beginning with such raw, elemental material and responding to what it offers.”

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Bobs Email says:

    Dave, Thank you for sharing your positive attitude and enthusiasm for what some would see as “the same old routine”. A few years back, I was demonstrating spoke shave work at the Arizona State Fair. I have a Black & Decker WorkMate bench outfitted so I can support a spindle, leg, post, horizontally and shave while standing. I was demonstrating how I first make the item round.

    A man in the audience said “You Need A Lathe”. My response was: “You don’t understand. Every time I take a shaving, I can hear it, feel it, see it and smell it. It is almost an orgasmic experience”!

    He looked at his wife and said: “I got to go buy a spokeshave!!!”..

    Thanks for helping me learn how to make chips….

    Bob Simmons

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: Measuring Up | David Fisher, Carving Explorations

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