I have just finished a very enjoyable 3 day bowl carving course. These 8 bowls were carved by 4 course participants.

This was only the second bowl course I have run, the first was a great success with students making 2 bowls each and a fantastic standard of work. I was unsure though whether we were just lucky with a very talented group and whether future groups would do as well. One of the pleasures of running courses is the nice folk that come along and the camaraderie of all working and learning together. This time we had just 2 folk who had been on previous spooncarving courses and the others had done varying amounts of green woodwork from quite a bit to none at all. Everyone had lots of enthusiasm though.

We work by clamping a halved log in a holding device I call a bowlmate (plans to make one on the website) and the bowl is hollowed using an adze. I have tried all the available adzes and my favourite is made by Hans Karlsson in Sweden, they are not cheap but they work very well. It is possible to hollow the bowl with a gouge but much faster with an adze. After the adze we tend to smooth the surfaces with a gouge and curved knife.
After shaping the outside with an axe and pushknife final finishing with the curved knife again.
A little bit of refining the outside lines with a straight knife. I particularly liked Stephen’s bowl with a ridge like a ships keel.
Carving this way is tremendously absorbing and we find it is important to stop every hour or so and have a walk around otherwise folk tend to get tired and that is when accidents happen.
And here are some finished bowls. Bowlcarving is a not quite as accessible as spooncarving in that you need to make a holding device and need a few more tools but it is tremendously rewarding and the results are beautiful and useful. Who wouldn’t appreciate one of these bowls as a gift?

Author Robin Wood

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