Building a Bowl From a Board

Updated on November 13, 2017

How to Build a Bowl From a Board

Yes, you can build a bowl from a flat board. In this article I will show you how to make a compound miter bowl from a flat board.

In most cases you can get more than one bowl from a board.

This is a way to use highly figured domestic and exotic hardwoods. It's much less expensive to make a bowl from a board than it is to buy a figured one piece turning blank.

Board Layout

This photo shows a section of a board that was laid out to show how to cut two bowls from the same board. The numbers are one bowl and the letters are another. If your board is long enough for two bowls, you should use this cutting method because the grain will match better.

You don't need to actually mark out the board being cut but you do need to mark the segments after you cut them so you can keep them in order. Especially if you're making two bowls.

The first step in designing these types of bowls is to decide on a diameter, a slope, and the amount of segments you want to use.

I usually go with 12 segments because I think it looks the best.

A slope of between 30 and 45 degrees looks normal. Anything less looks flat and more looks too steep. I would suggest staying in this range.

Diameter is totally up to you. It can be anything as long as you have the correct material.

The board I used for the bowls below was 48" long, 4-3/4" wide and 1/2" thick. You can go thicker if you want.

To cut the segments, I set my tablesaw blade to 9 degrees and the miter sled to 12 degrees. In this case the segment length was 2-5/16". The segment length is measured on the upper outside of each segment. I will end up with 8" diameter bowls.

Compound Segments

The segments seen here for these two bowls were all cut from the same board using the dimensions given above.

I cut thin zebrawood dividers and glued them between the segments. Then I added a zebrawood bottom. The end result was the bowl (top left) in the Design alternatives pictures below.

Cutting Segments

This picture shows how to mark the segments. After the cut is made you flip the board, mark the length and cut again. Keep flipping and cutting until you have enough segments.

I use the first segment as a template for marking all the rest.

Once you have them all cut it's a good idea to clean up the edges. I do that by hand with a piece of sandpaper glued to a flat board. I use kitchen sink cutouts because they are very flat.

If you don't have access to a sink cutout you can buy small pieces of melamine at most all lumberyards.

Design Alternatives

This photo shows a few different ways to do compound bowls. There are lots of ways you can do these.

  • Top left- Curly oak with zebrawood dividers and a zebrawood bottom..
  • Top right - redwood burl with dyed veneer dividers and a gaboon ebony bottom.
  • Bottom left- claro walnut with black dyed veneer dividers and claro walnut bottom.
  • Bottom right- quilted maple with no dividers and quilted maple bottom.

Compound Miter Bowl Examples

The bowl on the right is the one we built in this article. The other one is tulipwood.

These three bowls were all made with the same quilted maple board. I dyed them with a water base dye then lacquered them.

Compound Mitered Zebrawood

Tulipwood With Gaboon Ebony Staved Wood Bowl

Nested Compound Bowls


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    • turner-bob profile image

      turner-bob 2 years ago

      Mount the bowl on a concentric disc attached to a faceplate. I do it with superglue. Then you can turn the bottom flat and glue on a flat bottom.

    • profile image

      Josiah brown 2 years ago

      awesome bowls!! Ive already begun creating my first one. Just one question though. How did you attach the base of the bowl to the rest of the piece? On mine, the pieces angle in and it almost looks like I will have to turn a base that fits the piece. Any advice?

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Holy cow, these are beautiful. I don't have the tools or skill to cut wood, but these are so impressive. Great job, voted up!

    • KandDMarketing profile image

      KandDMarketing 6 years ago

      And another great lens!

    • turner-bob profile image

      turner-bob 7 years ago

      @anonymous: I think my site here should answer your questions. Bob

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      what bevel do you cut to make the bowl flat on the bottom? how do you do glue up? how do you clamp the vessel without it sliding up and out of center or gouging the sides of it? thank you looks like a great project!

    • profile image

      resabi 7 years ago

      Just stopped back to tell you that I still love this lens.

    • ManojBala profile image

      MANOJBALAKRISHNAN 7 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Very nice lens. I loved It!

    • DallasNicole LM profile image

      DallasNicole LM 7 years ago

      I am not sure if I could ever do this but the bowls here are beautiful.. Great lens

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 7 years ago

      Visually stunning lens you must geat satisfaction out of building these bowls

    • mochimo profile image

      mochimo 7 years ago

      Great ^^. I'll gather some tools. That is an interesting crafts idea.

    • profile image

      KDimmick 7 years ago

      Another stunning, highly informative lens! Blessed by an angel :)

    • kimark421 profile image

      kimark421 7 years ago

      Beautiful bowls and a very nice lens. Thanks!

    • kimark421 profile image

      kimark421 7 years ago

      Beautiful bowls and a very nice lens. Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Lovely! Blessed.

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 7 years ago from Australia

      These are absolutely beautiful! Well done. And thanks for the instructions.

    • eclecticeducati1 profile image

      eclecticeducati1 7 years ago

      Beautiful bowls! Great lens.

    • profile image

      resabi 7 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • profile image

      SofiaMann 7 years ago

      Amazing what you can do. Thanks for sharing. Congratulations on LOTD.

    • lisaherbik profile image

      lisaherbik 7 years ago

      These are gorgeous! Love this lens :)

    • burgessvillian profile image

      burgessvillian 7 years ago

      I have done one intarsia project and one scroll portait. These were relatively easy. Your work looks great and congratulations on the lotd.

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 7 years ago

      Wow, you do a very great job with these, they look incredible! I know it can't be as easy as you explain either, I'm sure there is a high level of acquired skill. Well done!

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 7 years ago

      Absolutely gorgeous and so worthy of LOTD. Congratulations

    • FlynntheCat1 profile image

      FlynntheCat1 7 years ago

      Fascinating! I can certainly see a use for this - my parents are always pulling good wood out of their house! (it was massively overbuilt ^_^ )

      Once question - how do you old the pieces in place? Is it a very strong glue? Or pegs? Do you need some kind of frame while it sets, or does it balance itself?

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 7 years ago

      These are beautiful designs! I see you also work with musical instruments. With two bass players in our household, we're constantly doing minor repairs. Your tips will come in handy. Congratulations on LOTD.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      What a beautiful bowl. You are immensely talented.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 7 years ago from Vermont

      The best of both worlds: art and function. You make the process of turning a flat board into a bowl look almost easy enough for me to attempt. Beautiful designs and great lens of the day. Congrats and kudos!

    • northamerica profile image

      northamerica 7 years ago

      These are all works of art. An excellent lens.

    • profile image

      Navuud 7 years ago

      You're Art work is wonderful, thank you for sharing your creative inspiration with the world.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      What beautiful bowls, Bob ... thank you so much for sharing your skill and artistry with the world! If I may be slightly critical, I found some of the "how-to" instructions a bit confusing - could do with a little more clarity and detail ... however, I still think this is a beautiful and informative lens, which definitely deserves its LOTD status. Congratulations! :-))

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      Very clever and a helpful step-by-step guide too. Love that blue bowl! Congratulations on LOTD.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      Very clever and a helpful step-by-step guide too. Love that blue bowl! Congratulations on LOTD.

    • calendarsblog profile image

      calendarsblog 7 years ago

      Great idea, but how do the pieces come together?

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 7 years ago

      Excellent tutorial! I just am two-lefthanded, therefore I couldn't do such a fantastic job but really enjoyed to read this page.

      Congratulations on your LOTD.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Nice bowl making guide you have here! Congrats on Lotd!

    • modz profile image

      modz 7 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD!

    • Airinka profile image

      Airinka 7 years ago

      wonderful idea

    • hsschulte profile image

      hsschulte 7 years ago

      Wow, these are amazing. Love it!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Really cool idea. Nice photos, congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      Fun_And_Entertaining 7 years ago

      Excellent and highly detailed! Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Congratulations on your LOTD! These bowls from a board are most lovely! I really like the one from tulip wood, what striking grain it has!

    • taliamurphy lm profile image

      taliamurphy lm 7 years ago

      Congrats on being LOTD! Great lens! I sent it on to my 95 year old father, who is also a woodturner. He'll love it.

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      Sheilamarie 7 years ago from British Columbia

      Wow, this lens is amazing. I so admire those who can make beautiful things out of wood! Great job -- beautiful bowls.

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 7 years ago

      Nice! Very creative. Seldom do I see unique and artistic bowls.

    • profile image

      resabi 7 years ago

      Fabulous lens -- clear and informative and a visual knock-out (uh, and do you sell these segmented bowls? I checked your sites...). Well deserved LOTD. Thanks for this.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 7 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      awesome workworking lens! I love woodworking too. The bowls are beautiful! Contrats on LOTD!

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 7 years ago

      So cool! Congrats on LOTD

    • Laura Schofield profile image

      Laura Schofield 7 years ago from Chicago, IL USA

      Beautiful bowls. I want to get my husband started on some of these! Thanks and congratulations on Lens of the Day!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 7 years ago from Concord VA

      Very interesting info. Congratulations on LotD!!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 7 years ago

      Congratulations for LOTD! what amazing bowls! thanks for sharing on how to build them...

      a ~"Squid Angel Blessing"~

    • profile image

      GrowWear 7 years ago

      Congratulations for LOTD! Your bowls are absolutely beautiful pieces of work.

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 7 years ago

      Congratulations on a well deserved LotD. Love those blue bowls!

    • profile image

      myraggededge 7 years ago

      You are so clever, Turner-Bob! I love the bowls. Congratulations on LotD. Well deserved and blessed by a Squid angel :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Congrats on your LOTD! You have a gorgeous selection of woodworking patterns and pieces. Thanks for sharing your designs and directions on Squidoo!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 7 years ago from Scotland

      Wow I do believe I have learned something very clever today! I love the blue bowls - You should sell them!

    • KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 7 years ago

      That is a very impressive project -- no, I wouldn't have guesses you could make a bowl that way. The set of blue bowls is quite striking looking.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Love the images!


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