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The worlds pre-eminent woodturning teacher provides everything you need to know to turn bowls. Richard Raffan draws upon his 30 plus years of experience to lead you through the key elements -- from planning to completion.

With the help of detailed text and step-by-step photos, Raffan covers wood and tool selection, design advice, surface embellishment and finishing techniques. For the more experienced turners, there are chapters on advanced techniques, decoration, and form and balance. Youll also find extensive appendices, troubleshooting charts and advice on selling bowls. Perhaps best of all, Raffans contagious respect for the craft comes through on each page, and it will stir you to do your best work.

Turning Bowls gives you:

  • thorough coverage of tools, wood selection and design
  • advice on how to avoid and solve common turning problems
  • information that ranges from the basic to the advanced
  • expert-level instruction in an easy-to-understand format

About the Author

Internationally acclaimed for both his turning and his teaching, Richard Raffan is a leading figure of the woodturning revival. Well known for his gallery-quality production work, he is the author of the best-selling book Turning Wood with Richard Raffan, the new book Turning Boxes with Richard Raffan, as well as the classics Turned-Bowl Design and Turning Projects with Richard Raffan.

Additional Information
Cover 191
Publication Year 2001
Photos color photos
Drawings and drawings
Other Formats 70617
Isbn 978-1-60085-645-7
Author Richard Raffan
Pages 192
Format eBook (PDF)

Turning Bowls: An Overview

Weight and Balance
As Work Proceeds
Basic Tool Handling
Support and Advice

Tools for Turning BOWLS
Choosing a Lathe
Equipment for Health and Safety
Fixings: Chucks, Faceplates, and Drives Tools
Ancillary Tools

Wood and Bowl Blanks
Converting Logs, Boards, and Burls into Blanks

Rough-Turning the Profile
Fixing a Blank on the Lathe
Roughing the Profile
Preparation for Hollowing

Remounting the Bowl for Hollowing
Saving the Center: Bowl-Coring Techniques

Completing the Profile
Remounting Roughed-Out Bowls
Truing the Profile
Final Decisions Concerning the Profile
Completing the Base
Completing the Profile
Scrapers and Shear-Scraping
Working the Angles
Final Inspection

Completing the Inside
Remounting the Bowl and Truing the Form
Initial Cuts and the Rim
Cutting the Midsection Wall
Across the Bottom
Scrapers inside Bowls
Green-Turned Bowls

Completing the Base
Jam Chucks
Rechucking between Centers
Mechanical Chucks
Vacuum Chucks

Sanding and Finishing
Oil-and-Wax Finishes

Decoration and Surface
Beads and Grooves
Holes, Bark Inclusions, and Recut Forms

Afterword: Design, Form, Balance, and the Marketplace



I began turning wood in January 1970, and after more than 30 years I continue to enjoy making bowls. Mostly I relish the quest for truly satisfying forms but, like most turners, I also find addictive the rush of shavings from the tool and the magical way dull surfaces come to life in a few seconds when oiled and waxed.

It is no wonder, to me, that bowl turning is so popular, especially given the speed with which a rough chunk of wood can be transformed into an object that can be used for decades and could easily survive centuries. In Turned Bowl Design (1985), I discussed what constitutes a good bowl. In this book, I concentrate on the how of making bowls: how I select wood, how I fix it on the lathe, how I use my gouges and scrapers to best advantage, how I sand and finish, and even how to price (should you wish to sell your work).

On the hardware side, there is information on the range of self-centering four-jaw chucks that have been developed since the mid 1980s to revolutionize the way we fix wood on the lathe. I show you how to get the best from these wonderful tools, which have become an essential lathe attachment.

In addition to all the chopping boards, plates, scoops, and some odd jobs I've done during my three decades as a professional woodturner, I've turned about 21,000 bowls, ranging from little 2-in. (50mm)-diameter salt bowls to one 28-in. (710mm)-diameter yew fruit bowl that I made on a borrowed lathe. Apart from that one, all my bowls have been less than 2334 in. (600mm) diameter, which is the capacity of my lathe. About half have been from 6 in. to 12 in. diameter, nearly 2,800 more than 12 in. (305mm), and the rest smaller than 6 in. (150mm). I've turned bowls in a variety of ways, using all manner of cutting techniques and tools and a variety of faceplates, then chucks. I have always been looking for more fluency, convenience, and economy of effort so I can concentrate on the form rather than having to worry about technique. With all that comes speed and the ability to make the best use of your time, or even earn a living from the craft.

My aim is to provide you with a solid set of skills for turning bowls, whether you are just beginning or refining those techniques you have already. I describe the methods I employ using standard and readily available tools and equipment.

No matter what your level of expertise, you should gain something from this book because, with woodturning as with anything else, there are always ways to improve the status quo. And having found those ways, you'll need to practice them assiduously if you are to create the work of which you are capable.

My first bowl was 12 in. (305mm) in diameter and made of rippled ash. It took me 412 hours to make and I expended a lot of nervous energy. Today it would take me well less than an hour and, I can guarantee, would be much better conceived and made. You might not feel pressured for time like a professional turning for a living, but learning how to make bowls efficiently will certainly increase your enjoyment of the craft.

Measurements are somewhat loose; even well-seasoned bowls have a habit of warping slightly or changing shape with changes in humidity, so I feel very precise measurements are pointless. For this reason, as well as for the sake of convenience, metric measurements have mostly been rounded to the nearest 5mm and imperial to 18 in.

Since the early 1980s, I have done quite a lot of teaching in 'hands-on' workshops, and I have become very familiar with all the run-of-the-mill problems other turners typically experience when making bowls. (No surprise--they're the same that I had!) This book is structured so that when you have a problem, you can go to the section dealing with that stage of the bowl-making process and find out the probable cause and a definite solution.

Although I've made many delicate bowls that require handling like fine glass or porcelain, my main interest is in making utilitarian bowls that can be used for generations. This is not really a desire for some sort of immortality, although the idea of someone wondering who I might have been in a few hundred years as they gaze at my signature has its appeal. No, it's more an attitude of making things as well as possible so that they last. Wood is a resilient material that, if cared for, will last hundreds, if not thousands, of years. You might as well take advantage of its possibilities.

Finally, remember that craftsmanship has as much to do with knowing what to do when things go wrong as getting everything right all the time; that seldom happens. But the more experienced you become, the earlier you'll be able to spot impending problems and confidently overcome them. Only those who don't know will think there were no difficulties.

Turning Bowls (eBook)

  • by Richard Raffan
  • eBook (PDF)
  • Product Code: TP-FWW61077969
Availability: In Stock
Today's Price: $19.09
List Price: $24.95
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