Making a Bowl Without a Lathe

I was asked to take part in a challenge on YouTube to make a bowl without using a lathe. I had no idea how I was going to do this, but it was really fun to figure out....

Check out the full video below and make sure to watch all the other No-Lathe Bowl videos on the YouTube playlist. I know I can't wait to see how everyone else made theirs!

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TOOLS

Router

Upcut Spiral Bit

Pattern Bit

Benchtop Sander

Collet Extender 

(NOTE: This collet extender bent on me, I added the link so you know which one NOT to buy...)

Dremel Sanding Discs

Mineral Oil 

I started by preparing the blank. I decided to use this chunk of Poplar left over from my Train Table build. First I split it in half on my cross-cut sled.

3x3 Custom Bowl Without a Lathe

Then glued it together to make a thicker blank.

3x3 Custom Bowl Without a Lathe

After the glue dried, I cleaned up the blank on the table saw. 

3x3 Custom Bowl Without a Lathe

I found the center of the rectangular blank and drew the biggest circle I could get. 

3x3 Custom Bowl Without a Lathe

Then used a circle cutting jig attached to my router to make a perfect circle on the top and bottom of the blank. 

3x3 Custom Bowl Without a Lathe

I didn't have a router bit long enough to completly cut out the circle, so i finished the cut on the bandsaw. 

3x3 Custom Bowl Without a Lathe

To clean up the bandsaw cut I used a pattern bit in my router on both sides. Again, I didn't have a bit long enough to complete this clean up...

3x3 Custom Bowl Without a Lathe

So I finished cleaning it up on the bench top sander. 

Now I had a perfectly round blank ready to be carved out for the bowl!

3x3 Custom Bowl Without a Lathe

I've seen chair makers use a similar kind of jig to carve out seat bottoms. It is a router sled of sorts that is curved so the router will follow the lines of the curve and it will carve out the bowl. 

At least that's what I was hoping...

I used the cut off's from the circle to create the jig and I really had no idea what kind of curve I was going to get. In the end it was a bit too shallow, so I adjusted it to make it deeper. 

3x3 Custom Bowl Without a Lathe

I tacked placeholders on the jig so the router only ran in the center of the bowl.

3x3 Custom Bowl Without a Lathe

Then carved away! 

I would run a line down the bowl, then rotate the bowl slightly and run the router again. I repeated this process until it carved out the bowl.

This wasn't a quick process at all. It took a while...

I also had to add a collet extender so the router can reach down into the bowl even further. 

3x3 Custom Bowl Without a Lathe

To clean up the the router lines I used a Dremel with a sanding disk attachemnt. This worked great. 

3x3 Custom Bowl Without a Lathe

Then I had to figure out how to shape the bottom of the bowl...

I rigged up this quick little jig that's just a scrap piece of MDF with a runner tacked on the bottom and a pin sticking up through the top. 

I eyeballed the angle of the blade and put the bowl on the pin. I rotated it around until it carved away as much of the bottom of the bowl as it possibly could. 

3x3 Custom Bowl Without a Lathe

When I couldn't go any further on the table saw, I removed the rest of the material on the bandsaw. 

3x3 Custom Bowl Without a Lathe

And when I couldn't remove any more material on the bandsaw, I removed the rest on the bench top sander!

This was really final step in shaping the outside. I eyeballed the angle on the sander and sanded away until the bowl was nice and smooth!

3x3 Custom Bowl Without a Lathe

I wasn't sure if I was going to use this for food, so I decided to use a food safe mineral and wax finish just to be sure.

3x3 Custom Bowl Without a Lathe

And it's done! I am really happy with how this came out. I love a good challenge, but honestly, the whole time I kept thinking.... I wish I had a lathe to do this... ha!

This wasn't easy but I love that I figured out a way to make it work!

3x3 Custom Making a Bowl without a Lathe