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Bowl shapes (Read 2,542 times)
 
Norbert Dupas
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Bowl shapes
Aug 17th, 2009 at 4:12pm
 
I often wonder when I'm standing at the lathe, what shape to give my bowl.  Eventually I just start turning and when the "junk" is removed and the piece is round, I usually follow it's shape and round here and there tilll I have some sort of shape to my bowl. 

Do you guys have some kindof guide you follow when making your bowl-shape?  I wish I had more variety, but my knowledge of bowl-shapes is limited.  OR do you guys stick to one shape, that's done you fine for years?  I find that most of my pieces are not exciting shape-wise.
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« Last Edit: Aug 17th, 2009 at 4:13pm by Norbert Dupas »  

...Bert

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Re: Bowl shapes
Reply #1 - Aug 17th, 2009 at 4:15pm
 
I'm not crazy, I listen to what the wood says.  And take it from there.  There are some chunks that you will never make it do what you want. 

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Re: Bowl shapes
Reply #2 - Aug 17th, 2009 at 4:47pm
 
Hi Bert,

I have the same problem, I can't 'see' what's inside the wood.  However, I know where I made one mistake that really affected my designs - when I had roughed the blank to get to stable wood I then tried to make a bowl according to the shape that resulted from the roughing because I didn't want to cut away 'good wood' and I was always trying to maximise the bowl size.

Now, when I rough a blank I forget about the search for all the stable wood and just cut a basic shape that is fairly well in proportion until I get to all stable wood.  At that stage I have my basic bowl shape and just make refining cuts.

I have found that the simpler I keep my designs the better the results I get.  Some day I will maybe be able to turn stuff that I admire on here but I remind myself that the 'superturners' weren't making those exquisite bowls at the very start of their woodturning journey.

It's all about patience and experience - and I have very little of either.
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Re: Bowl shapes
Reply #3 - Aug 17th, 2009 at 5:09pm
 
A couple of years ago I got stuck on formulas for bowl making.  The base was supposed to be a certain percentage of the diameter and the height, relative to a raised base if the bowl was turned with a base extension, and the base height relative to the overall height was likewise supposed to be a certain percentage.  It was, the literature said, important to use these formulas to achieve a bowl that represented the best in art form.  Hogwash ...
I tossed out the literature and started letting the wood tell me what it wanted to be.  I'm happier, the wood is happier, and I have less paper filling my file cabinet.
Of course, my bowls probably wouldn't win an prize in some art exhibit.  But I turn for pleasure, not profit or ego.  So that's not important to my turning experience.
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Re: Bowl shapes
Reply #4 - Aug 17th, 2009 at 5:44pm
 
I try to "become one with the wood" and see where that gets me, or I just listen to my wife Grin Grin Grin
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Re: Bowl shapes
Reply #5 - Aug 17th, 2009 at 6:09pm
 
Steve Bistritz wrote on Aug 17th, 2009 at 5:44pm:
I try to "become one with the wood" and see where that gets me, or I just listen to my wife Grin Grin Grin


Steve,
Smart man. Do you give lessons I could use some.  Grin
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Re: Bowl shapes
Reply #6 - Aug 17th, 2009 at 7:14pm
 
I tried to get the maximum size bowl out of the blank when I first started.  Now, I try to balance the bowl by making the pit of the tree run through the center bowl, either the bottom or the rim.  I am kind of an Allstate person in my bowls and try to make the curve fit the hands.  If the bowl is for use, I try to leave the foot 1/3 or larger to the diameter for stability.  If it is intended for art work, then I leave the foot smaller than that and elevated.  I will usually turn a flat rim on real shallow bowls and platters.

I always make the inside contour follow the outside shape.  Sometimes I find something in the wood as I turn that will effect the size, but not usually the shape.
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Re: Bowl shapes
Reply #7 - Aug 17th, 2009 at 7:41pm
 
Go to a store where they specialize in high end glass and ceramic kitchenware. Walk over to where the have bowls. Look around and find what you like and copy it.  Also, look at what you don't like and figure out why you don't like it and try to avoid copying that shape.

Be prepared to get some strange looks. damhikt
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Re: Bowl shapes
Reply #8 - Aug 17th, 2009 at 8:02pm
 
I try to replicate good shapes that I like but some how I do what the wood wants to do.
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Re: Bowl shapes
Reply #9 - Aug 17th, 2009 at 10:20pm
 
I agree with letting the wood " tell' yo what to do.
But there are also any number of books on bowl design, with some great ideas.
Also, look at what the master turners do, not the real arty stuff but the basic bowls that they turn.
This is one place where it's OK to steal [an idea] especially if you do it better


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Re: Bowl shapes
Reply #10 - Aug 18th, 2009 at 1:18am
 
I just cut everything off that doesn't look like a bowl. Grin
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Re: Bowl shapes
Reply #11 - Aug 18th, 2009 at 6:26am
 
For me, the shape is dictated by the blank. If there's a prominent feature to the wood, I'll try to highlight it if possible. Just tonight I was roughing a piece of walnut, figuring all along it would be a platter. After I got a little ways into the wood, I saw some great crotch figure, so I did a hollow form instead. Bowls are the same way...I may be thinking of one shape when I start, but after a bit of digging into the blank, I might change directions completely.

I don't care much for wide-bottomed bowls. I was given good advice early on in my turning about not trying to save wood, so I'm not bashful about removing a bunch of wood from the outside to get a smooth, flowing form from foot to rim. I try to avoid the 'dog dish' look with straight sides.

I don't pay attention to the formulas and such...I took up turning to get away from the math and dimensions.  Grin

Keep in mind these a just my personal preferences. What appeals to you is what's most important, so experiment around and find the shapes that you like. Ron's suggestion of looking at high-end glass and ceramic work is a good one, too. I find myself scoping out (and/or critiquing) forms wherever I go.
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Re: Bowl shapes
Reply #12 - Aug 18th, 2009 at 8:53am
 
I do mostly segmented turnings.  My bowl designs need to enhance the segmented design and visa-versa.  At least that is what I atempt.  But mainly I have a huge ice cream bowl that I like to copy.
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Re: Bowl shapes
Reply #13 - Aug 18th, 2009 at 9:25am
 
Jim:
I'm not crazy either. I also listen to what the wood says. There have been times when a sudden design change opportunity presents its self, then I talk back to the wood. My wife has caught me doing this and says I should always talk nice to the wood. Gotta go. I think it's time for my medication.
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Norbert Dupas
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Re: Bowl shapes
Reply #14 - Aug 18th, 2009 at 11:41am
 
Thanks for the advice all.  I also kindof listen to the wood, but I wish I had some shapes in mind to make something different.  Thanks goodness I'm not talking to the wood like Jim  Grin  I'm already taking too much medication for my age without adding the one's he needs  Cheesy Grin Wink
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...Bert

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