Ever wonder what to do with some left-over material that just seems too good to throw out? Make a bowl!
I had a small slab of walnut glue-up leftover from a previous project. Not wanting to toss a chunk of perfectly good walnut, I first thought to make a simple pattern-routed dish, but nothing seemed to go right.
First, my only pattern bit was just too long. Then, I didn’t have the correct collar to use with my round-nosed bit for the inside corners. To top it off, my largest round over bit turned out to be too small to make the bottom round enough to look good. So, I abandoned the pattern-routing idea, and decided to free-style it!
To begin, I hogged out most of the interior with a forstner in my drill press. You can do this with a router as well, but I find that doing so just adds unnecessary wear and tear to the bit, and is no faster than the drill press method.
To form the inside, I freehanded up to the inner edge with a straight router bit. If you try this yourself, use a base plate on your router that spans the full width of the dish. If your router is too narrow, it will be all but impossible to balance it steadily on the edge of the dish.
To shape the inner corners, I used a Kutzall ™ power carving disk on my 4 1/2″ grinder, using a light touch to form the bottom curve. While it was fast and relatively easy, sanding out THAT surface out was a serious pain.
I routed simple round overs on top of the rim. It looked OK, but I thought it needed more. To add a small touch of flair, I used the table saw to cut a shallow groove just below the rim, and filled it with a shop made inlay of epoxy and brass powder pigment. This sort of of inlay is easy to do, but easy to ruin, if taken to far. Too much of this type of fill looks like cheap plastic. Use at your own risk.
I made the outside bottom edge more rounded with the power carving disk, followed by rasps, files, and lots of sanding. LOTS of sanding.
The final finish came from a rattle can of spray lacquer, in the classic style of Steve Ramsey, of Wood Working for Mere Mortals. The inside developed a bad case of ‘orange peel’ (did I mention I hate spray finishes?), so I rubbed it out to a fine mat sheen with Johnson’s paste wax, 400 grit paper and steel wool.
The finished piece is simple, yet elegant in its simplicity. It became a Christmas gift that year, and seems to be liked. What more can one ask?
Thanks for reading!