Canadian Woodworking

Textured bowl

Author: Paul Ross
Published: April May 2004

This is a fairly plain, semi-shallow bowl. However, add a little texturing on the bottom, and a lovely bead just below the rim, and you have a much more attractive bowl.


To really show off the texturing, I selected some fairly clean maple for the project. The timber I started with was about 8 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick.

Face cut

Create spigot with parting tool

Scrape with a ¾” square-end scraper

Pull the gouge toward yourself

Use ¼” parting tool as skew to create bead

Apply mineral oil to raise grain

Sorby texturing tool

Use ¾” skew to form “V” grooves at texture borders

Highlight texturing with heavy tipped black marker

Scrape, using your hand for support

Turn off spigot for smooth, round bottom

Mount Blank On Lathe

Bandsaw the blank round. Choose the side that will be opposite the bottom, and drill a 3/8″ pilot hole. This hole accommodates a 1/2″ screw chuck, which fits into the ‘ONEWAY’ stronghold chuck. After mounting the chuck on the lathe, lock the spindle of the lathe, and screw on the bowl blank. Make sure that the wood of the blank is FLAT against the jaws of the chuck. Doing so ensures the screw chuck’s tremendous holding power. Once you have the blank mounted on the lathe, set the rest to the outside of the piece and make the outside cuts.

Face Cut

When you have trued the outside, move the rest to the face, and cut from the outside, into the middle. A few things to consider: this cut should be as flat as possible; you are just preparing the wood, not shaping. Also, the centre is spinning more slowly, so you must slow down the speed as you move across the rest towards the centre.

Create Spigot

Next, use a parting tool to create a spigot, so that you can grab the blank with a stronghold chuck. Start with the tool in a low position and lift the handle. Let the tool fall into the wood.


To make sure that the chuck jaws sit flat and square on the chuck, scrape a little area with a 3/4″ square-end scraper.


After preparing the wood, move on to shaping. The direction of cut, for shaping the bottom, is from the centre out towards the edge. The reason you cut in this direction, is so that you cut with the grain, not against it. Start the first cut from the edge, a little in towards the centre, and pull the gouge towards yourself. The next cut brings you a little closer to the centre, and the next a little closer and so on. Finally, the last cut will be as close to the centre as the design allows.

Create Bead

Next, create a small bead slightly below the rim on the outside of bowl. To do this, I used a 1/4″ parting tool, using the same technique as I would use with a skew.

Apply Mineral Oil

All the tool work left to be done now is scraping the “imperfections” or “high spots” with a 11/4″ scraper. I used some mineral oil here, to lubricate the scraper, and to raise the end grain so that it shears off more cleanly.

Use Oil To Sand

Using oil to sand accomplishes two things: it eliminates dust as the oil mixes with the dust, and it raises the grain, allowing it to be sheared off more cleanly.

Texture The Bowl

Although there are many ways to texture a bowl, I chose a ‘Sorby Texturing Tool’. There are many patterns and variations that can be achieved with this tool. I created a herringbone pattern by slightly tipping the tool and pulling it towards me.

Form Grooves At Corners

I found that the texturing looked great, but it didn’t stand out enough on the bowl. So I put ‘v’ groves on either side of the texturing to define the bowl from the texturing. I did this with a 3/4″ skew, using the toe or the long point.

Highlight Texturing

There are also many ways to highlight the texturing (i.e. India ink, special effects wax, etc.). I decided to use a heavy tipped black marker.

Flip the bowl into the stronghold chuck and make a facing cut across the face. Clean the front of the bowl. First, with a 1/2″ bowl gouge, rough out the inside, outside to centre.

Finish Cuts And Scraps

For the last few finishing cuts, use a 3/8″ gouge. Use your hand behind the bowl for support. Then scrape, using the same technique for support.

Turn Off Spigot

After sanding, flip the bowl onto a vacuum chuck, and turn off the spigot to create a smooth round bottom. Sand this area to conclusion. You can leave the texturing dark, or lightly sand over it to remove some of the colouring, as I did with this bowl.

This is a simple, straight forward bowl, but with the added texturing and beading, it becomes an exquisite piece.

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