Woodturning Blog: Articles, Tips & Ideas

7 Ways NOT to Turn a Bowl

by Paul Carter | September 23, 2016

Basic wood lathe bowl turning tips.

In the midst of how-to videos and articles, Nick Cook offers a different type of insight. 

  • Too big. Start by mastering crucial techniques on smaller, shallow bowls. 
  • Too hard. Start with green wood, it can be found inexpensively and will provide smooth, easier cuts.
  • Big gap at the tool rest. If the tool extends more than an inch over the tool rest it's time to stop the lathe and adjust the tool rest.
  • Wrong direction. For face grain bowls cut uphill. On the interior of your bowl, cut downhill or from rim to center. 
  • Wrong tools. Remember to never use a roughing gouge on bowl work. A 1/2" or 5/8" bowl gouge makes great beginners' bowl gouge. 
  • Rushing into finishing. Don't worry about finishing a piece, focus on basic shape and confidence. Practice pieces are most important as you begin turning bowls. 
  • Lack of body movement. Notice how most turners move with their work. This allows them to produce fluid curves. 
Find more insightful tips from Nick Cook here.