There’s a hen bowl in that big chunk of butternut. I’ve made some of these bowls (call them hens, roosters, fowl…) using various log orientations, but the most common have been what I call rooftop bowls. The drawing below accompanied an old post in which I wrote about the general idea.
A hen bowl is just a variation on the rooftop bowl represented in the drawing above and shown in the photo below. Just shape one end into a head and the other into a tail.
The process always begins with flattening the bottom. With that plane resting on the bench, the vertical centerline can be established on each end (see the photo with the square at the top of the post). The angle sometimes depends most on what the blank provides. You may have to split a little more away to get rid of a major knot, for example. I’ve made rooftop bowls with angles as acute as 45 degrees, like the one in this post.
To mark the final angle to which I want to shave the blank, I use a large wooden compass I threw together several years ago with some scrap wood and a bolt, washers, and a wing nut at the joint. You can make one in no time. Ideally the wood at the upper ends of the arms will be shaped to a semicircle so that corners won’t lift the arm off the bench.
It’s a rare log that has no twist. This one had a fair amount. Ignore it and decide on an angle that looks to work well for this log (do a rough check on both ends). After marking to one side of center, flip the bevel around and mark the other, making sure that the angles meet at the vertical center line. Mark the same height at the center line on the other end and mark the angles on it the same way. On this one, I rounded off the top of the peak. Hew and shave to the lines, and draw the guidelines onto the upper surface.
The specific layout is unique to the size and situation with each blank. I start hollowing with an adze, then move on to bent gouges and spoon bent gouges.
In the case of this bowl, I moved on to hook tools and a scorp that worked really well for this (by Lee Stoffer) to achieve the undercut. I have a whole slideshow with many photos of the steps of carving a different hen bowl in this post.
It’s getting there. The bowl had dried and I made a little more progress over the weekend with a light rain falling outside the shop.
love these bowls
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Nice plump hen coming along. Will certainly be a beauty.
Thanks, Bob. You’re right; this one will be wider in stature than, say, that last catalpa hen.
Helpful as ever David! I must say, not only do you have immense craft skills but, the level of ‘art’ you’ve introduced into your pieces is also quite amazing!
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