Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Bowls from pallets (and a bit of scrap wood)

Now that the weather has turned a bit colder (and wetter) I've been experimenting with various wood turning projects I have wanted to try for a while.

Having seen similar things online I decided I'd have a go at making some bowls from some scrap bits of wood, in this case the scrap wood is bits of pallet, and some old lengths of pine (the sort of thing used for stud work) I mainly used the pine as a filler for the pallet wood (which is a type of gum) because I didn't have that much of it.

Here are the bowls I've made so far -

They turned out good.
These are quite large bowls (about 30cm across) and about as big as I can turn with my current lathe, they take a bit of prep work to make in the form of gluing the wood together, but they do have a nice look to them once turned and given a good coat of oil (Danish oil in this case)

To make them all I've done is take a load of wooden planks and glue them together, by arranging the wood in different ways you can create some interesting patterns in the finished piece, although these bowls are pretty simple compared to other segmented items I've seen.

Cut your planks to roughly the same size, and try to get an equal sized square, so if your planks are 20cm long then arrange enough planks to give you a finished block of 20cm by 20cm, it's best if you can use the same width of plank, but if some are a bit bigger than others its not a problem.

My planks arranged in a way I was happy with - 

I marked each bit so I could remember which way up they needed to be.

You can see the wood isn't all the same thickness, but by lying them all on a flat surface I was able to create a nice flat face, which helped when it can to mounting the face plate for turning, I've also tried to get the grain of each bit of wood arranged in a more or less symmetrical way, it's easier to see in the turned bowl.

Now onto gluing, I glued each piece together and made sure that each bit of wood was nicely coated with glue, I used a paint brush to apply the glue, I'm using a good quality wood glue for this to make sure it's all stuck together, really don't want it falling apart when I turn it, big chunks of wood at high speed, not great.

Once I'd glued all the pieces and stacked them it was time to add some clamps, the more the merrier to be honest, I clamped the wood together as tightly as possible, I put a clamp on each corner and used a ratchet strap for the middle as I only have four of these clamps.

Wood clamped - 

Just go to wait for the glue to go off.

Although this glue takes about 24 / 48 hours to set fully I waited a week before removing the clamps to make sure that all the glue had set.


Once the glue was set taking the now solid block of wood I marked it out to find the centre and using a make shift compass I marked a circle onto the block making it as large as possible, this way I figured I'd have guide so I could see how much wood to take off before it was round, the idea being that I could take off the bare minimum and keep the bowl quite large.

Centre marked out - 

Quick and easy compass, just a flat bit of wood with a few holes.

Face plate mounted, one more thing to do before turning - 

More or less centred.

To save a bit of time I cut some corners - 

Not the best picture, but you get the idea.

On to turning, didn't take long to get it to this state - 

Bit of a sand and this side is done.

Slight oversight on my part, bit of wood missing, but left it as it is, we'll go for the rustic look -

It adds to the character.

Now for the inside, I'd turned a recess so that I could mount the bowl on my expanding chuck -

Looks like a bowl, so that's good.

And here's the bowl after some sanding and a bit of an oiling - 

Bit more oil and it's done.

Hopefully you can see what I mean about arranging the wood so that the different grains make different patterns, the other thing I like about these bowls is that I can make them using one tool, I've made three so far and for each bowl I've only used one of my Oland tools to make them all.

Okay so they aren't fancy bowls, but they are very sturdy and not bad to look at, they make great fruit bowls and I'm quite happy with them, considering it was a bit of an experiment I think it worked out okay, which is not always the case for some of the ideas I have.


The three bowls - 

Better than chucking the wood on the bonfire.


Thanks for reading.

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