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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why you need a bowl press

I had to glue up a tiny lamination, about 3" x 3", so I put it in my bowl press to dry. By using a piece of wood under the lamination and spacers, it worked pretty well. I wanted to do another one, and didn't want to wait until the first was dry, so I tried to do it conventionally, by using various clamps. What a nightmare! And even worse, the glue-up wasn't as tight as I wanted.

While making the press (which can't be called a bowl press in my box book, for obvious reasons) takes a little effort, it is extremely useful for any small project that needs firm, even pressure and is susceptible to slippage. I think the picture tells it all.


  1. The bowl pres was the first 'tool'I built when I started making the bowls from your Book. Took longer to get the parts then to built and I've used almost daily. I recently saw a Vacumn Press used mostly for veneer, and was wondering if this might be suitable for not only the bowls but for the new boxes. But be careful what you buy one store has it for $350 and other for $60 I'm sure size has someting to do with the price but the $60 one looks like the size you would need.

  2. I have built 4 of the bowl presses in different sizes and shapes...I make allot of scrolled retangle bowls and boxes and they do come in handy...but I might be interested in looking at that vacuum system you speak of Doug. What website did you find them on...of course the lower price item sounds like the better one.

    Carole, when I can not use the bowl press, I have a weighted stack of heavy magnets I set on top of two pieces of sandwiched around what I am gluing...seems to work fine.

  3. I've used heavy weights, too, when a press won't fit. Most of what I glue isn't that critical as long as the wood is straight.

    I know veneer presses are used for marquetry, when you need a really tight bond using a number of different pieces. It would accommodate slight differences in thickness, which a press doesn't. However, for now, I find that if I'm careful, my low-tech, inexpensive solutions work well enough.