Making a Natural Rim Bowl Item 3

With the outside of the bowl shaped to your preferred profile, we need to set the bottom of the bowl so it can be placed back on the lathe. This will allow removal of material from inside the container. This is called a reverse chuck and a four-jaw offset chuck is used to clamp the bowl to your lathe with the inside of the bowl facing the tailstock. The bottom of the bowl has been turned flat and square on the wheel; turn a faucet about ½ inch high into the bottom of the container. I prefer to use a large diameter dowel and then create a recessed dovetail cut in the dowel about 3/8 inch deep. The diameter of the dovetail must be within the travel range of your Scroll Chuck Jaws. For heavy bowls, I prefer the recessed dovetail; this method is stronger. Smaller bowls can be turned with a smaller faucet and clamp the outside of the faucet.

Remove the bowl from the lathe and remove the face plate and set the chuck in the dovetail hole. better way; is to connect the chuck to the bowl before connecting the offset chuck to the lathe, this ensures better alignment. Then connect the chuck to the head. If the chuck is not placed correctly in the dovetail hole, the bowl will wobble. A slight wobble is okay because the bowl will reset itself after it dries. The jaws are numbered on the scroll chuck; mark the bottom of the container to correspond with one of the clamps so that it can be replaced in the same position after drying.

After the bowl has been attached to the scroll chuck and connected to the lathe headstock. Natural rim bowls have an even surface and will put a lot of strain on the chuck’s holding power when it starts to turn inside. For safety and to help support the bowl, use the tailstock as a support, same procedure as in item 2.

Place the banjo between the bowl and tail; With the tool rest at the proper height, rotate the bowl by hand to ensure the bowl can rotate freely. Using a bowl gouge and starting near the live center of the 60 degree cone, carefully and slowly start cutting into the inside of the bowl, once you have some depth and the cut is even you can move faster. As you get deeper into the bowl, you will need to move the tool rest closer to the surface of your work area. If any tool extends beyond the tool rest, it will cause a lot of vibration.

The distance a tool can extend beyond the tool rest is related to the size of the tool you are using, it is best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Large diameter tools can extend further in the tool holder than a small diameter tool; same thickness.

The container should be dried after the material inside the container has been removed; this will be discussed in the next article. The thickness should be about 1 inch thick, the sides and bottom, except for the dovetail gap, which should be thicker. At this point much of the weight has been removed and you can get the tailstock out. The tap left inside the bowl can be removed using a bowl gouge or I prefer to use a large Forstner bit. Using a chuck mounted on the tailstock shank, you can advance the bit and remove the remaining wood; a horizontal drill. When the interior of the container is uniform; use the round end scraper to smooth the inside of the bowl.

The attached link is a glossary of terminology for the lathe and associated tools;

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