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Bowls from Firewood to Finished

One of the dreams of a woodturner is to make a bowl and see it used.

new bowl ready to come off the lathe finishing a bowl on the wood lathe green wood bowl blank ready for the lathe firewood ready to be turned to bowl blanks
firewood lengths waiting to be cut into shorter pieces

While some say there are three stages to turning a bowl, for me there are four. Number one is getting the wood supply. Most of the time this is green wood because wood thick enough to make a bowl is too expensive to dry. If you go to the wood store it can be expensive in a hurry. While that may be okay for the occasional special piece, I like to start with green wood at the firewood pile.

small log on a sawbuck ready to be sawn to working form

Green wood is a term used for wood that has been recently cut and is not yet dried or "cured" and thus green. Firewood comes in log form and must be prepared as a green bowl blank for the lathe. This usually requires a chain saw or a really large bandsaw or a bow saw along with a lot of time and energy. On the other hand, companies have not invested time, space and energy into getting the wood precut and dried, thus it is cheaper than a commercial, dried, thick piece of wood.

octagonally shaped bowl blank ready fo the lathe

From this you end up with a bowl blank which may be either a half round piece of log or have the corners cut off to an octagon or be cut into a circle, depending upon turner preference.

green wood mounted on the lathe for roughing

Finally this gets mounted on the wood lathe for rough turning to a bowl blank ready for drying. Drying as the log section leads to waste wood as it cracks. Drying as a partially turned blank leads to a blank ready for finish turning.

finished bowl ready to be removed from lathe

Once dried, the blank gets remounted, final turned, sanded and finished.