Turning a bowl on the homemade lathe
Having built a four jaw chuck for my lathe, it was only natural to try it out by making a bowl with it.
I glued together a blank out of some pieces of silver maple that I had milled with my homemade sawmill. I had some problems with the sawmill when I milled this wood so the piece was very crooked and the faces not parallel, but that didn't matter much for gluing together a bowl blank.
Bottom of the bowl done. You can see a swirl in the bottom. As I was flattening it, the tool started to chatter. Instead of backing off, I just finished flattening with the tool chattering. This made for a nice swirl.
The lightness of this lathe makes it more prone to vibrations. Something made from heavy cast iron would be smoother. I could also have used bigger, heavier timbers. But lightness has its advantages. I don't have a place to leave this lathe permanently set up, and if it's lighter, it's easier to put it away. Next time, I'll clamp down the middle of the lathe bed to my workbench to give it more "mass".
With each jaw adjustable individually, centering is a manual operation. I keep turning it to see which direction the bowl is displaced, then loosen the jaw that I need to move the bowl towards and tighten the opposite jaw.
This is very similar to centering with a four jaw chuck on a metal lathe.
What a lot of wood turners would do is now mount it by the rim with a much larger chuck and turn the bottom some more. But I liked the dovetail foot on this one, especially with the swirl, so I left it as is.
If I wanted to turn the foot, I'd make a larger faceplate and screw some blocks to hold the bowl by the rim, or if I was making a lot of bowls, maybe a much larger four-jaw chuck.
But I'm really not into bowl turning very much, so I'll not go through the trouble.
This was my first time turning a bowl from a relatively solid blank. It was a lot of material to remove, and I nearly filled a 20-liter bucket with shavings form this alone. And it's not even a very large bowl!
Last time I turned a bowl I started with a segmented blank, so I only had to remove a fraction of the material compared to this one.
But in my day to day life, I don't use any wooden bowls. So I really don't understand why some people are so into bowl turning on the lathe.
bowl on the lathe
segmented bowl turning