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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Swag bowl tutorial

I'm nearly finished with a fairly complex swag bowl--just needs one more coat of finish. Rather than post just the completed project, I decided to post pictures of its earlier stages as well, so you can see how rough the bowl looked before sanding and finishing.

The pattern for the blank was based loosely on one used for a really high-end lathe-turned bowl. The glue-up was sanded with a drum sander, then finished on the SandFlee to get it really smooth and even. The main wood was ipé, the strips padauk, and the end pieces yellowheart.

The blank was then cut into four rings, at a 20˚ angle. The base was re-cut to a 35˚ angle for ease in shaping. The rings are stacked to illustrate how they look assembled, but are actually glued up one at a time.

To stack the rings so that the swags will line up properly, you must anticipate how they will meet once sanded.

Once the rings are glued together, the inside is sanded smooth, and the base is glued on.

Then, the outside is shaped and sanded, and the upper rim is given its final shaping.

I then applied several coats of Waterlox to finish the bowl. I usually use a combination of spray shellac and lacquer, which works quickly and easily, but decided to give this a try. Although the wood does look nice, I have conflicting sets of instructions on the best way to apply it, and will need more experience before I make a final decision about it. I still have one final coat to give it before letting it cure and giving it a nice rub out.

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