Mullet, D.A., rattail, fade, French braid — there are many options for what to do with the hair on the back of your head. Likewise for the outside of a bowl. Maybe it’s because my own hair situation provides me with so few options that I get creative with the bowls. Ridiculous theories and connections aside, on bowls with oval feet, I often carve a raised curved line that flows from one handle to the other, as seen on the cherry bowl above that I finished a few weeks ago.
Another cherry bowl, above, was ready for the final dry carving of the surfaces when I took the photo recently. It sits there after drying, with the overall form already established during the green carving stage. The line is just sketched on in pencil, descending there from the lower corner of the near handle. I snapped a few more photos as I went about carving it.
As usual, at this stage, I secure the bowl on the bench with holdfasts. Then, with body pressure, I use a shallow gouge (a #3 16mm in this case) to carve a flute to each side of the pencil line.
As I near the handle, I switch to a steeper and wider gouge (in this case a #8 25mm) to merge the flute into the concave area under the handle without the corners of the gouge digging in.
These are the gouges. The specifics aren’t important. Lots of other combinations would work, and much depends on the form and proportions of the individual bowl.
So, at this stage, the line is now established and it’s time to merge the raised areas to either side with the surrounding surfaces.
Here, I’m doing that with a wide double-bevel chisel, keeping the corner free of the wood in the previously carved flute. You could do this with a wide single bevel chisel as well, I just prefer the touch and control of the bevel geometry provided by the double bevel in this case.
Same on the other side.
Then it looks like this. Could be refined more, depending on the final surface texture. In this case, the final gouge surface cuts will do the final blending of the form just as in the example in the first photo.
By the way, these recent bowls have all been for commissions, but I’m gaining on it and hope to finish up some other pieces soon that I’ll be able to post for sale.
And I’m still searching for a good name,for ease of reference, for this design feature. Something less cumbersome than “Curved line flowing across the outside of the bowl from handle to handle.” Suggestions are welcome!