How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe | N°1 must-see simple hack


This woodworking hack on how to make a wooden bowl is an experiment with a table saw.
This idea can be used as an alternative way for making wooden bowls without a lathe.

On the internet, looking for wooden bowl ideas, I could find many blogs or videos where they make beautiful wooden bowls.
The only downside, at least for me, is that they use a lathe all the time.

Due to the fact that you are reading this blog, chances are you want to start making wooden bowls, but you don’t own a lathe, just like me.
Luckily, in your search for wooden bowl ideas that are easy to make, you found this article.

In the past, I saw a few ways on how to make a wooden bowl without a lathe.
But in some cases, they looked very unsafe.

Since safety is a priority for me, I have come up with a simple and easy solution on how to make DIY bowls without a lathe.

In short, you can make a wooden bowl without a lathe by making a simple template that fits on top of the table saw.
In that template, you can turn around a block of wood while raising the saw blade.
That handling will hollow out the inside of the bowl.


I will go more in-depth on this technique for making wooden bowls in this article.
So be sure you do not miss a step if you want to make a beautiful bowl like this yourself.

Note!
The technique I use to make a wooden bowl may look strange and not a normal way to use a table saw.
But I can guarantee you, I never felt unsafe during the process of making a wooden bowl.

Making this bowl actually went smoother than I thought!

That is why I would like to share my experiment with you so that you can get started making this beautiful wooden bowl yourself.

What do you need to make a wooden bowl?

To prepare you for building this DIY wooden bowl, I have made a few handy lists.

In addition to a few personal protective equipments that I use*, I also list the materials as well as the (power) tools you will need to build this wooden bowl.

* Safety is always your own responsibility!

Safety first! Protect yourself!
Materials I used for this
(power)Tools I used for this
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Watch the video & learn how to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

Here you can watch the video and see how to make a wooden bowl without a lathe.
After watching the video, you can continue reading the step-by-step guide to making this DIY bowl on a table saw yourself.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe?

Now that we have gone through the materials list, I will explain step by step how to make a wooden bowl with this table saw experiment hack.
After reading this, you can start making wooden bowls yourself without a lathe.

Let’s go!

Attention!

Working with a table saw always involves risks.

If you want to start making wooden bowls yourself, always use small intermediate steps and do not force the table saw.

If you lift the saw blade slowly, you will not experience any tension on the workpiece.
That way, you can comfortably make this wooden bowl.


If you don’t feel safe with this, don’t make this bowl. 
Safety is always your own responsibility.

Step 1 | Preparation

To start making wooden bowls, you need to know the dimensions of your saw blade.
On these dimensions, you can base the final dimensions of the finished bowl.

Since you’re stuck by the dimensions of the saw blade, this is a major limitation when making a bowl with a table saw instead of a lathe.
Keep this in mind!

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

For this table saw experiment, I have used pine wood that was laminated.

To be sure that the wood will connect perfectly to each other during gluing, it is important that the wood is as flat as possible.
That is why I use my thicknesser to prepare the wood and obtain a flat surface.
If you don’t have a thicknesser, you can use a hand plane as an alternative.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

Tip:

Be sure to watch my  blog and video where I review my planer/thicknesser: 
Affordable planer & thicknesser Belmash SDR2200 Initial thoughts.
I can recommend this power tool because of its compactness and affordable price. 

As you could read above, it is important to know the dimensions of the saw blade before you start laminating the wood.
In this way, you can determine how wide the wood should be.

I took the dimensions of the saw blade and added 3 cm along the sides (saw blade width + 6 cm).

To make this block square, I determined the number of wood layers by dividing the length of the wood by the thickness of the wood.

However, this does not have to be completely correct.
As long as you can cut a full circle from this block, you are OK.

To give you an example, in my case the boards were 30 cm long, and I needed 10 pieces.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe
Cutting the pieces to length with my homemade crosscut sled (FREE PLANS HERE)

To connect these boards together, I used wood glue.

The fastest way to glue these boards is to place them side by side and spread the glue.

To distribute the glue evenly over the wood, I used an old bank card.

Tip:

Don’t just use any wood glue for your projects!

To find out which different types exist and for which applications wood glue serve, check out my blog Understanding Wood Glue + 8 awesome tricks you should know.
Here you will discover everything you need to know about wood glue.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

After gluing, it is important to assemble the wood as soon as possible and let it dry under high pressure.

To apply as much pressure as possible, use as many clamps as possible.
In this way, you can exert equal pressure on each part of the block.

Allow the block to dry for at least a day to ensure a good connection.

Check out my post — what woodworking clamp do I need? — to learn more about what clamps you should have in your workshop. There are numerous ideas in that post on how to choose the appropriate clamps for your workshop and never waste money on clamps you never use. Don’t forget to read the article.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

Step 2 | how to make a wooden bowl, the outside

After the glue has dried, you can cut the base from this block for the bowl.

First, determine the center of the block by simply measuring on 2 sides and placing a mark on half the measure.

Then take a (thin) board (I used a 6 mm sheet of MDF for this).
Measure half the width of the saw blade from 1 side (the side that will make contact with the saw blade).

Mark this point and drill a small hole through which you can place a nail.

Place the board with the nail on the block and hit the nail in the block at your center mark.

Now your block can rotate freely on this board.

To install this on your table saw, place the board against the saw blade and clamp this board firmly on the saw table.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

Switch on the saw with the saw blade just not touching the overhanging block.

When the table saw is running at full speed, you can carefully lift the saw blade.

When the saw blade touches the wooden block, rotate the wooden block one full revolution.

You can lift the saw blade again and rotate the block for another revolution.

Continue in this way until you have reached the desired height of the bowl.

For your own safety and not to force the table saw, use small steps to cut out the circle!

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

In my case, the height of the wood I used was higher than the final height of the bowl, so I had to update the edges until I had a full circle.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

Step 3 | how to make a wooden bowl, the inside

The principle for hollowing out the inside of the bowl is super simple.

By rotating the round block over the saw blade, the bowl can be hollowed out with a perfect arc.

To keep the round block in the right place, you need to use a board with a hole in it.
That hole must have the correct dimensions so that the round block can be held firmly in place.

I explain how you can make that board.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

Place the round block on the plank and mark the shape.

When you have marked the shape, you need to determine the center of the circle.
Not only as a reference point for cutting the circle out, but also as one of the next steps.

If you don’t know how to determine the center of a circle, below, you can see step by step how you can do this easily.

How to determine the center of a circle?

Start by drawing a line anywhere on the circle, with the line crossing the circle twice.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

Make your compass larger than half of the line.

Place the compass where the line and circle intersect, and mark a point both inside the circle and outside the circle.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

Repeat from the other point where the line and circle intersect.

When you have marked well you will now get a marking cross both inside and outside the circle.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

Now connect the two mark crosses with a line.
This gives you a perpendicular line to the line you drew earlier.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

Repeat all these steps from another point of the circle.

Try to determine that point so that the two perpendicular lines cross each other.

The place where these two perpendicular lines intersect is the exact center of your circle.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

Now that you know where the center of the circle is, you can use this point as a reference point to cut out the circle.

For this, I used my router circle cutting jig.
This allowed me to accurately cut out the circle in which the block fit.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

Tip:

Be sure to watch my blog and video where I show you step by step how to build this router circle cutting jig (no center hole).

This jig is easy to make, and you can make perfect circles without a center hole!

The next step is to place the board with the hole over the saw blade.

Make sure to center the saw blade perfectly in the hole.
If not, the cutout will not be centered nicely in the bowl.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

To make the hollowing of the bowl, work in the same way as if you made the outside of the bowl.

Rotate the bowl for one revolution, lift the blade, and repeat until you reached the depth you want.

Also, here, work in small intermediate steps and do not force the table saw.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe
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Step 4 | Finishing the wooden bowl​

Once I was done making the cuts, I noticed that in a few places, I had small cracks where I had glued the boards together.
I filled these cracks up with the gap filler from Starbond.
This is a thicker heavy fill that solidifies immediately when sprayed with the accelerator.

Using this gap filler from Starbond not only closes the crack, but also strengthens the connection.
This Starbond gap filler is an absolute must-have for your workshop.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

To finish the wooden bowl neatly, I have chamfered the edge at the bottom.

By placing the saw blade at a 45-degree angle, and sliding the board with the hole so that the saw blade almost touches the side of the circle, I was able to finish the edge.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

With the same circular movements, I turned the bowl over the saw blade until the edge at the bottom was chamfered.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

Now I had the perfect shape of the wooden bowl, I sanded it in several steps.

First, I removed all coarse irregularities with P80 sandpaper.
Afterward, a sanding with P150 and P220 followed.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

Tip:

If you want to know more about how to determine the right sandpaper for your project, be sure to check out my blog: The perfect sandpaper grit guide for woodworking.

Everything you need to know about sandpaper can be found in this article. It will no doubt give you a better understanding of the proper use of sandpaper.

There is also a FREE downloadable guide available to help you determine the right sandpaper grit.

Highly recommended!

To saturate the wood and finish the wooden bowl, it was rubbed with olive oil.

I used olive oil because this bowl will come in contact with food products.

To spread the oil I used the wood stain applicator from stainpad
This is a handy tool that absorbs the product and distributes it evenly over the surface, without leaving streaks or lint.

If you want to know more about wood finishes, check out the article – 4 Types of wood finishes. What to use when and how? A clear guide – that I wrote earlier.

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe

How to make a wooden bowl without a lathe – conclusion

There you have it! It’s that easy to make a wooden bowl without a lathe.
If you follow the easy and simple steps described in this article, you can make a wooden bowl without a lathe!

The design is simple and can be used as decoration in both a modern and rural interior.

In another video and blog, I made a jig that I can use to hollow out wood with my wood router. With this jig, and a little creativity, it should be possible to also make wooden bowls.
Keep following my channel and website for more ideas and inspiration to make unique items with simple tools.

Check out these wooden bowl ideas!

If you are looking for more wooden bowl ideas, check out this website.

There you will find 19 different wooden bowl ideas. 
I’m sure you will definitely recognize number 6, LOL.


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I hope this information on how to make a wooden bowl without a lathe was helpful, and that this blog and video inspires you.
Let me know in a comment below.

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It will be much appreciated.

I’m looking forward to seeing you soon in another blog or video.

Greetings,
Christophe, founder of Christofix.com
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration

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