So for this project I used a piece of firewood that had the fewest cracks in it from my pile outside. You want to make sure your wood is dry or else it will split and crack once you turn it. Video of finished product: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWZ7M-7GEbc&feature=youtu.be
- Any sort of log that is dry (I used Firewood)
- 1/4" Dowel
- Piece of scrap wood( for Lathe faceplate mounting)
- Assorted Turning Tools
- Forstner bit
- Assorted Sandpaper
- Drill and Bits
- Wood Glue
- Paper Towels
- Finish of your choice
Step 1: Cutting Out Pieces
So you are going to want to cut out your main body piece that will later be hollowed out on the lathe. However keep in mind that if you are going to want to be able to reach a tool down into the bowl and if it's too deep it will be very difficult to do so. If you have a bandsaw use it, all i had was a hand saw and it does the trick. However I borrowed a friends to cut the top piece which I made about a 1/8"-1/4" in. thick. However it is totally personal preference how thick you want it to be.
Step 2: Boring/Drilling
Before we can put our log onto the lathe we will want to securely mount it to a faceplate. To do this grab a scrap piece of plywood and cut it to a square. Now glue it to the log and try as best you can to get it onto the center. Now screw the faceplate onto the center of the piece of plywood once it has dried. However since your log is not a perfect circle you will have to play around with mounting the faceplate. This took me a quite a few tries, but when you get it close to the center it will make a much better bowl.
Now to get the bulk of the work out of the way we will use a forstner bit to bore out the log to your desired depth, but don't make the bottom too thin. So used a tapered chuck and put it into the stock in the lathe and lock the stock down. Tighten the forstner bit it with a chuck key and make sure everything is secure before you turn the lathe on. Now turn on your machine and slowly start to bore out the log. Go very slowly and clear the chips constantly. Every time you run out of forward movement stop the machine and push forward the stock and then keep drilling. Also your wood will burn, it is inevitable because the bit is so big and just creates so much friction. The smoking and burning is not a bad thing because we will fix it later with gouges. However the slower you go the less burnt your wood will be and use a very sharp bit too.
Step 3: Turning and Sanding
Now comes the fun part turning. This can take a bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it it becomes a lot of fun. However it can be very dangerous so be cautiuos and take your time. The first thing your gonna want to have are sharp tools, this is key because otherwise they will catch the wood and not cut. The tools I used were the skew and a round nosed scraper, these are pretty common and versatile tools. Now to get started remove your stock and slide on a tool rest onto your lathe. Place the rest as deep as it can go into your log, but without hitting your log either. Now turn on your machine and steadily start to even out the bottom and the sides. Make sure to get rid of all the burnt wood we created while drilling out the log.
Once you have turned your log to your desired shape and dimensions it is time to start sanding. You are going to want to keep your log on your lathe to speed up the sanding process. Start with 60 or 80 grit and work your way up. Be sure to always have fresh sandpaper or else the friction from the clogged paper will create a lot of friction and polish your wood making it hard to sand, also you could possibly burn it too. Also to sand the bottom I taped a bit of sandpaper to the end of a piece of scrap wood so I could safely reach into my log and sand. But for the walls of your project, just use your hands to hold the sandpaper while the lathe does all the work for you.
Step 4: Swivel Lid
Ok now use the thin piece of wood you cut on the bandsaw and sand it smooth. It would be nice to have a drum sander because it would be done in a minute. However not all of us have that luxury and hand sanding does the trick too. So just use some elbow grease and sand away until it feels nice and smooth.
Now for the drilling, cut your dowel to about a 1/2" long. Now securely tape your lid to where you want it to be on the log. And carefully drill down through the lid and into the side of the log. Then glue the dowel into the lid with a very small amount of glue. Then check to make sure it swivels ok.
Step 5: Finishing
Now unscrew the face plate and using a handsaw or bandsaw cut off as much of the plywood block as you can. Then sand all the remaining glue off until it is all smooth and level. Then hand sand everything with a fine grit sand paper and finish with your choice of finish. I used paste wax which is a simple rub on finish and looks and feels nice.
Now your done !!!!