Carving a Bowl

 
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                         The Basics

Green woodworking uses freshly cut logs, which contain a good deal of moisture. This makes it much easier to carve than dry wood.

 

The wood is sourced close by and used fairly quickly before it dries. The ends of the log are sealed to help keep the moisture in and reduce cracking.

 

The bowl is usually roughed out in one day while the wood is green. Most of the material is removed at this stage to achieve the shape and wall thickness, and then left to dry.

 

Finish cuts are taken after the bowl has completely dried, which leaves a much smoother feel and look.

 

Every final surface comes straight off the edge of a sharp hand tool.

 


                               The Tools

An adze and carving axe a responsible for most of the roughing work, removing large portions of waste wood very quickly and efficiently. 

Sometimes a mallet and gouge are used to rough out portions of the bowl that the adze and axe have trouble reaching.

A lighter carving axe reduces arm fatigue while helping to remove small sections of wood to achieve the right wall thickness.

A series of gouges of different sizes and shapes are used for finish cuts. Different gouges produce different textures.

A spokeshave or block plane are used on flat surfaces on the outside of the bowls.

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               How Should a Carved Bowl Be Used?

People have used these bowls for food, serving platters for parties, holding keepsakes, and as art on their own. One became an inadvertent cat bed. Go wild.

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Some bowls have painted interiors that are not suitable for food, or made from wood that has inclusions or cracks, which would not be great for liquids. That wood is saved for art bowls and vessels and is always noted.

                     How Do I take care of it?

If you're using a bowl for food, it can be washed with warm water and soap and air dried upside down or dried off with a towel. 

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Do not wash in the dishwasher

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Don't let the bowl soak in water.

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If the bowl's finish appears dry after prolonged use, it can be reconditioned with food grade walnut, linseed, or tung oil. These oils are curing oils, which means they will penetrate the wood, dry, and harden to form a protective layer. 

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Wipe a thin layer on, allow to soak for 20 minutes, and then wipe the excess off. Allow it to dry overnight before resuming use. Olive oil and mineral oil are not curing oils and are not recommended.