Petite Square Bowl in Cherry

This woodturning project is a petite square bowl in cherry. It was based by a demonstration by Eli Avisera. The blank is 5″ square, 3/4″ thick, finished with semi-gloss lacquer.

The challenge with a square bowl are the corners. The corners appear as shadows; it is hard to know exactly where to start cutting with the gouge. Eli Avisera had a great tip here: Start in a little bit from the corner but only rub the bevel of the gouge; Back out to the corner listening to the sound of the gouge; Once the sound changes, turn the gouge slightly into the wood to start cutting.

Following Eli’s example, I made a template for the curve of the bowl and a foam padded jamb chuck. Matching the curves of the bowl and the jamb chuck is important to avoid pressures later with finishing the bottom of the bowl.

To form the arcs in the inside of the bowl: number the sides; starting with side 1, loosen the chuck and pull the side of the blank 2 or 3 mm out from the chuck and re-tighten; Make the arc with the skew; repeat with sides 2 thru 4. Eli used a skew, but next time I would use a square nosed scraper.

Eli recommended handing sanding with a flexible rubber block to preserve the edges of the bowl. Often leading edges would be rounded over when sanding on the lathe. However, based on a tip from a woodturner at the Oregon State Fair, I used a power sander with the bowl still on the lathe. The trick is to keep the sanding pad on solid wood and very lightly sand out the the corners – watching very carefully the angle of the pad versus the wood. It worked.

I should have stopped with 4 pairs of arcs, the fifth set was disappointing. But, overall, this is a nice project.

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