New Walnut Bowl

This bowl started with a black walnut log about 13″ in diameter but only 13″ long. I split it into quarters and was able to get this bowl out of one of those sections. Bark up orientation, so the flow of the growth rings is parallel to the rim.

I still haven’t found a log stretcher, so I decided to nix the handles on this one. With only so much real estate to work with, it was better to have a hollow without handles rather than the other way around. The absence of handles really exposes the exterior ends of the bowl, sort of like cutting your bangs to show off a beautiful forehead.

The layout is basically the same as for the bowl style featured in my video lessons with Elia Bizzarri, so all of the procedures we go through there can be applied directly to this design. When laying out, just reduce the space between the end of the bowl and the hollow to around 3/4″ or so.

In the photo above, the straightforward nature of the layout is evident, allowing you to focus on good execution and the joy of each cut.

And, should you decide to flute the end walls, the same arrangement seen in the photo above works well. You just work in one convex curve instead of transitioning from convex to concave as seen in the photo.

The light in the shot above shows the slight waviness and subtle texture left from the handwork of carving the flutes with the gouge. In this case, I used a #5 18mm gouge.

There is a narrow band below the rim all around the exterior. The flutes exit through it on the ends, creating a wave pattern.

On the sides, I carved a series of fingernail chips. The short series of shots below shows that process.

I used a 4mm #8 gouge.

The fibers along the curved side of the bowl determined the direction of the cuts. In this case, I’m cutting downhill. If you orient the chips in the other direction, you may end up in a fight with the grain.

Happy carving!

This entry was posted in bowls, carving, layout, patterns, proportions, sketch, Uncategorized, walnut and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to New Walnut Bowl

  1. francedozois says:

    very nice as always–

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ron Sites says:

    Your work continues to amaze me. Absolutely beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Skip Florey says:

    Beautiful bowl…only using a quarter log. We’re the other sections unusable? When you do the long flutes on the bottom are they done in a continuous push or worked down in stages?
    Thanks for sharing your craftsmanship. A very high benchmark.


    • Dave Fisher says:

      The other sections were usable. I may be losing track, but I think after I split the log in half, one half may have been the source for the round bowl in this post (which I should be posting a follow-up post about soon):
      And I have another bowl going from the remaining chunk. Often, only a portion of a log is usable due to knots, voids, or other issues. I think the thing to keep in mind is that it may make sense to split a larger log into sections other than halves and there are various ways to orient bowls within those sections.
      With broader, deeper flutes, I may take a couple passes. For these, they are done in one shot, but not in one continuous push. Especially as the curve becomes more perpendicular to the grain near the rim, the walnut end grain resists, so carving one of the flutes consists of many controlled pushes in progression. The texture evident especially in the one photo is a result of that procedure.


      • Skip Florey says:

        Dave, Thank you for the reply. I appreciate your feedback. On a side note…do you have any plans for more classes?


      • Dave Fisher says:

        Forgot to reply to this before, Skip. Nothing booked right now, but I’ll try to sort things out. I’ll keep you posted on any developments through the blog. Thanks for your interest.


  4. Wow, Really love your work, bowls especially. Objects of great beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. johanoeo says:

    Dear David Happy New Year to you and your family!

    It is so good to see your bowls and masterly carvings all the time. The beautiful pictures really capture your handcraft and artistic skills. Especially in times like now, where it seems everything gets upside down, it is good to see someone continually working on his own agenda following only his inner voice…

    Thanks so much! Jens from south of Germany

    Sent with [ProtonMail]( Secure Email.

    ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐


    • Dave Fisher says:

      Danke schon, Jens, for your kind words and for giving me a chance to show off some of the little I’ve retained from my high school German class. Wishing you all the best for a new year that’s right side up!


  6. Eric Goodson says:

    Such lovely work, Dave. I am also so impressed with the way you photograph your pieces. Natural, raking light, showing both grain and surfaces. Do you use a digital SLR? Only natural light, or is there another light source? Advice?


    • Dave Fisher says:

      Thanks, Eric. Yes I have a digital SLR. A Canon EOS Rebel that we bought at least ten years ago, maybe closer to 20. I really know just the basics about it and fumble around a lot, but try to keep it simple. I only use natural light. I’ve thought about getting some photographic lights, but it’s another thing to store and I have no room as it is. I just try to take advantage of the light coming through the shop windows, pulling a blind here or there and such. And some photos are taken outside. On days that aren’t very bright, it’s especially important to use a tripod to keep the camera steady with the shutter open longer, along with a remote shutter release (mine is on a cord that plugs into the camera) so as not jar the camera with your hand. I think mine was $20 or less.


  7. Andy Sistrand says:

    Great piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Alison says:

    Incredible as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. charliebuck17 says:

    Nice work. The link at “my video lessons with Elia Bizzarri” did not work. I’m interested in a video lesson so id like to know where to get it.



  10. Wow – really beautiful. I’ll have to try carving walnut now.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Peter Bernhardt says:

    Wonderful. The thumbnails along the side are particularly nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. aniline2 says:

    What a coincidence! I just sent in my paperwork to the patent office for a log stretcher I’ve been working on. I will let you know when my patent is approved.
    Seriously, I am always amazed when I see you, P. Follansbee, Drew L., etc ., “Take what the tree gives you”, and create.
    I’m working on a bowl made from a wild black cherry tree I cut down and sawed, rived, etc. I’m using your article in FWW 263 as a reference. You make it look so espy.
    Pete Magoon


  13. Michael Meister says:

    God amongst men.

    Beautiful work, Mr. Fisher.

    Liked by 1 person

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