lots of wooden bowls

This week I am in full production mode in the workshop and thoroughly enjoying it. These are beech bowls, perfect for soup or cereal. They are turned green then stacked for the air to circulate whilst they dry, it takes about 6 weeks.
 I think it is sad so few turners make bowls to eat from it is such a delightful experience. Within the world of turning non functional “artwork” is more highly regarded and more lucrative than functional work. My feeling is that whilst at the tip of this artistic iceberg there is some interesting work the majority of this so called art will in a few years time be no more collectible than the 1970s amateur art pottery that folk can’t sell at car boot sales today. Far better if all those turners instead aspired to making really good useful bowls. Anyway rant over, as well as the run of the mill breakfast bowls I have turned a couple of big nests.

These are a pair of nests made form a big sycamore log. Making nests was a sort of green woodworkers holy grail that it took me years to work out you can see a video of the whole process here. Having done that I find I get more satisfaction and more income from making the smaller bowls and plates but it is good to turn big nests occasionally.

The second nest with carved rims.

 This shows a close up of the cut surface, to the left you see the result of the roughing out cut and to the right the fine finishing cut. I do not sand the work so very sharp tools and good technique are important to get a clean cut surface, this actually performs much better in use than a sanded surface which can tend to fluff up once you start using and washing the bowl.

 Turning big bowls is very hard physical work, I can only do it maybe 4 hours in a day and my body is done for. This leaves some time for my voluntary Heritage Crafts Association work and some time for playing in the forge, I am continually experimenting with new tools, this is a spoon hook knife. I have a big forge for my turning hooks but for the small spoon knives this set up with just a few firebricks from an old storage heater and a blowtorch is perfect. After forging the shape I harden it, then temper it then a final sharpen and put a handle on, this one worked well.

5 Responses to lots of wooden bowls

  1. Brian September 7, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    You have been busy Robin I love the big nests of bowls they look great 🙂

  2. Steve Byrne September 7, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

    How many of the little beech ones do you manage a day?

  3. Gorges Smythe September 7, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

    You're right about ANYTHING collectible. Look at Hummel figurines; you can hardly sell them for half what was paid for them. Luckily, I've always been too poor to "invest."

  4. WeirdWood September 10, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    Loving your work and I totally agree about the 'functional art' I try to push that with my own work 🙂 Check me out at:-http://weird-wood.blogspot.com/

  5. Joseph September 10, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    It is better to have loved and lost a functional piece, than to still have some piece of rubbish you can't get rid of.