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  Bird's Mouth Bowl by Dave Leader 1 of 3  

I've been talking this over with a friend who couldn't visualize how to make a Bird's Mouth Bowl.  He did a search on the net and came up with one picture of a more oval than Bird's Mouth bowl.  Since I told him that I'd take pictures the next time I made some I figured that I'd include the rest of you, who also do turning in on it. 

This is a set of sequential pictures starting after I used the bandsaw to cut a branch to length.  The length ratio is approx 1 1/2 times the diameter of whatever branch you use.  Obligatory ELECTRICKERY warning, lots of electrons gave their all to do this, but it could be done on a pole lathe without any problems.  I cut arcs into each side, with my neanderbuddy, so that I wouldn't have to remove as much with the lathe.

I'm aware that most beginning turners don't have huge budgets for a hobby that they aren't sure that they'll like.  As a result I'm trying to teach how to do things with a minimal set of standard tools.  As a result I won't use chucks or high end equipment, although, those might make the job easier.  The tools will be a SMALL version of a spindle gouge, parting tool or skew and a junk chisel ground into a fair curve to use as a blending scraper.  If anyone has questions, write and I'll answer them. I'm doing this between centers, no faceplate.  That means that you can do it on almost ANY lathe. No chucks, faceplates or any fancy stuff needed.

The chisel was ground and very frequently quenched to preserve the temper into a long arc, not a "C" shaped end.  Start at the top corner and swing your magic marker about 1 1/2 times the width of the chisel back from the bottom corner.  Mark that spot and draw an arc between the top corner and that mark.  If you can swing something more parabolic, that'll work better for you since it'll give you a choice of curves to match to what you want to scrape. 

When you grind the edge for sharpness rather than shape, make the edge angel almost 90 degree, 80 is good but don't go any lower.  Also grind it backwards so that the grindstone is going back to front.  That way any hook will end up on the top edge of the curve and you can use it to do the scraping.  Exactly the way you'd sharpen a cabinet scraper.

The first picture shows the raw branch on the lathe.  Notice that CARE will be needed, for the same reasons that it's needed when you do a square bowl, which can also be done between centers.  That being, those wings can hurt if you stick the pink bits into the whily bits. Wear goggles and a cheap dust mask, you know why.

Picture 2 shows the initial shaping, mainly of the bottom of the bowl.  You're going to turn it until it's almost round, the amount of bark that you want to leave for appearances is up to you.  Remember that the higher that you make the base, the flatter the mouth will be.

Picture 3 shows the initial shaping of the inside of the bowl.  Don't start at the very edge, you won't have a natural edge if you do.  The ring of bark around the top, BTW is called a natural edge, and is considered a neat thing if you can manage to keep the bark there despite the G forces.

Woodworker's Guide to Wood Collection only $79.99 at Shop Woodworking
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