Making A Wooden Bowl Without A Lathe

Typically, when creating a wooden bowl a crafts person would do so on a lathe. A chunk of wood would be bolted to the head stock and the bottom of the bowl turned to an appropriate shape. Then the half-bowl-shaped wood is flipped around on the lathe so that the material on the inside of the bowl can be removed. This traditional method of bowl turning requires a lathe, turning tools, and the serious technique and skill required for the task.

The master maker of weird wood working tools, [Izzy], decided to make a wooden bowl without the use of a lathe. He created a unique fixture to cut the shape of the bowl on a table saw, a piece of equipment that is a bit more common for the average DIYer to have. The fixture itself is made of wood and supports a standard hand drill in a vertical position. The soon-to-be bowl is bolted to the drill and hovers just above the table saw blade. The table saw is turned on and the fixture allows the work piece to rock back and forth creating the bowls outside shape. The drill rotates the piece so that the contours are consistent around the bowl.

The bowl is then flipped over and re-attached to the drill. This time to cut the inside of the bowl, the fixture is locked in the vertical position and the wood is dropped straight down on the spinning blade while being rotated. The saw blade cuts a perfectly hemispherical cavity in the wood. The final bowl looks great after a little sanding and an application of oil. Check out the video after the break.

This isn’t the first time [Izzy’s] projects have been here on Hackaday, check out his DIY Band Saw and Wooden Sphere Cutter.

32 thoughts on “Making A Wooden Bowl Without A Lathe

  1. This seems like less “how to make a bowl without a lathe” and more like “how to make a lathe out of a drill”. Regardless, it does show just how handy knowing how to make versatile jigs is. Kudos.

        1. Yeah, no, I have to concur on this with experience in the wood shop, jig or no jig this is incredibly dangerous. Interesting ‘concept’, but still not a ‘good idea’.

    1. Hardened saw blades are rather brittle, what this guy is doing is NOT a good idea. Heck, he came right out and showed us a knot in the workpiece he did not know was there! Flying shrapnel is inevitable. Be smart, only use tools as intended; especially big high-speed spinning sharp tools.

        1. Using a table saw to cut a parabola by passing the material over the blade with a sled set at an angle isn’t uncommon.

          Usually the cutting teeth on modern tool bits are made from something like tungsten carbide, brazed onto a tough & softer steel back, so they are unlikely to shatter.

          Meanwhile, here is something truly both reckless and dangerous!

        2. Using tools as intended to hack things without hurting or killing yourself seems quite Hack-a-Day-ish. Using tools NOT as intended and hurting yourself (or worse) is Bad – for any reason. This guy got lucky, this time…..

    1. It is the same jig. The screenshot at the start of the video is from 3:06 in the video when he is almost done shaping the bowl. You can’t see the top bracing for the drill because the jig is rotated.

    1. I have heard that people in countries who control or ban satellite TV dishes turn locally made parabolic antennas by attaching blank sheet aluminum discs to car axle tire lugs and bending the discs with a hand tool against a bending guide. When they are done turning antennas they put the tire back on a drive the “factory” to somewhere else to avoid being caught.

  2. I’ve done the safety callout myself before but I really don’t see a serious problem here. Circular saw blades aren’t brittle, they’re made of brittlte bits welded to a ductile core. The high speed and hardness difference mean that the blade removes material from wood very quickly. As long as you don’t advance the work piece enough to jam the saw everything should be fine. You should of cousre wear eye protection and keep parts of your body you like out of the plane of the saw’s rotation as a general principle, but this isn’t that egregious an abuse of the equipment.

  3. Having spent 35 years in wood shops
    And making jigs to get tools to do things
    They were NOT meant to do this doesn’t
    Seem all that crazy or dangerous.
    Anyone ever put a chain saw chain between
    Two washers on a bolt chucked into a
    Die grinder and carved out a bowl

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