Friday, February 08, 2008

Carving bowl rims

One of the most common questions I get asked about my kitchen-safe bowls is how I make the decoration around the rim. Many think I use a machine, and woodworkers sometimes think I use a chatter tool.

Neither are correct. I use a traditional woodcarving gouge, which when properly sharpened will cut nicely through hardwoods like maple and yellow birch. Normally I have the bowl mounted on the lathe with its outside surface facing me. But the three big bowls that I mentioned earlier today were only ever mounted the other way round, meaning that I had to work from behind the lathe. The easiest way I found to do this is to perch myself on top of the lathe. I felt somewhat like a gargoyle up there, but it gets the job done quite comfortably.

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