November 2011


At the November meeting Joe Laird showed us how to create two square bowls using the technique of turning on two separate planes.   


Joe Laird turning 2 square bowls

Joe Laird turning 2 square bowls


Starting with two blocks of Ash each measuring 150 x 150 x75mm, he glued both blocks together using hot melt glue to form a cube, ensuring that the end grain was orientated to face each other, and also to have level gluing surfaces.   

Joe marked a circle on the end grain and removed the corners with the band-saw.  It is essential to turn the end grain first, and this was achieved by mounting between a steb-centre at the drive end and a ring centre in the tail stock.  This was then turned to a cylinder using the roughing gouge coming in from the side and above centre.  The cylinder was refined using a skew chisel which was slightly rounded towards the points – an interesting technique to minimize the dreaded dig in.  Joe power sandied the end grain which saves a lot of time, sandpaper and frustration.  Accuracy of measurements is essential throughout the project. 


Change axis of cylinder and remount between steb and ring centre.  Mark the centre point of the cylinder all the way round and mark the finished size of the bowls.  Using the skew on its side, start cutting at centre point first, gradually working out to each side of the cylinder.  While introducing the skew above centre remember that chisel contact will only be at centre when starting to cut.  Use the tool rest as a guide to maintain a straight edge.  Holding the skew handle tight against your hip will give maximum tool control.  When the flats meet at the centre – you are back to square shape.    


Joe Laird with jig for holding square bowl

Joe Laird with jig for holding square bowl


With the outside of the bowls turned to shape, the glue joint was then prized apart.  A bowl cradle jig was constructed from two half circles of flat assembled at right angles to each other with a face plate fitted to the back of the jig for fixing to the chuck.  The first bowl was glued into position in the jig and the ring centre in the tail stock was engaged as a safety precaution.  Clean the face and remove the steb and ring holding marks by reducing the dept of the bowl by about 10mm, or alternately the top edge can be coved, or if the marks are not too severe they can be carefully sanded out.  Mark out the size of the bowl – leaving as much as possible in the centre for tail stock ring support.  Cut centre support to cone shape working towards the centre of the bowl.  Break out cone and clean centre of bowl with bowl gouge and finish.  Cut along the glue line with a Stanley knife to remove bowl from jig.  Finally, fit bowl into Button Jaws to create finished base.  Repeat process for second bowl.  There you have it - a pair of twin bowls achieved in one project.  


Joe concluded the last few minutes of the demonstration by turning a Christmas Tree from a piece of 2”x2”x7” Sycamore. Mounted in the chuck it was turned to a cylinder and subsequently shaped to a point at the tail stock end. Using the heel of the skew he cut uphill against the grain creating a series of flares of shavings which remained attached to the tree trunk. A bucket was shaped at the bottom of the tree, and green spirit dye was applied to the attached shavings and tree trunk, while the bucket was decorated in red and black. 


Thanks Joe for an entertaining and informative evening, and also for presiding over the critique session which included the following items:- 


Peter Donagh’s Ash Bowl with 5 Anjan decorative buttons. 

Ash bowl with Anjan bottons - Peter Donagh



Cecil Barron’s Yew Goblet with 2 captive rings.

Yew goblet - Cecil Barron



Noel Byrne with Yew Bowl, Yew Clock Bowl, Jarrah Bowl and 3 turned figures. 


Bob Dier – Iroko Tooth Pick Holder Box. 

Iroko tooth pick holder - Bob Dier