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How to Make a Wood Pedestal Bowl
  Free Woodworking Plans from Lee's Wood Projects

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If you love wooden bowls, you will enjoy the accomplishment of designing and turning your own bowls on a wood lathe. It is relatively quick and easy to do once you get the "hang" of using the lathe and the specific tools required. This decorative wood pedestal bowl can be used for many purposes, such as a salad bowl, storing fruit, shells, etc. The dark, rich Koa wood pedestal and overall design will compliment other furniture and decorations wherever it is displayed in the home.

Click On Image to See Larger Scalable Drawing

Technical Information for Building a Pedestal Bowl

A. Materials List:

3 3/8" x 12 1/2" Dia.

Base Stand
3 3/8" x 6" Dia.

B. Pattern:

    Increase drawing to actual size and use carbon paper to trace bowl onto poster board. Cut out poster board with scissors.

C. Cutting and Gluing Procedures:

  1. Use a planer to make a trim cut on one side of a 2" x 13" x 26" Koa board. Turn the board over and plane board to exactly 1 11/16" thick.
  2. Use a radial arm saw to cut the board in half, forming two 2" x 13" x 13" pieces.
  3. Repeat step #1 for a 2" x 6 1/2" x 13" Koa board.
  4. Use a radial arm saw to cut the board in half, forming two 2" x 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" pieces.
  5. Place a liberal amount of wood glue on one side of each 2" x 13" x 13" board and clamp together to form bowl (A) using eight hand screw clamps. Place a clamp on each corner and a clamp in the middle of each side. Extend the clamps into the center of the boards in order to exert equal pressure on all areas. Tighten the clamps securely.
  6. Repeat step #5 for the 2" x 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" boards to form base stand (B).
  7. Clean up excess glue and allow to dry for 24 hours.
  8. When glue has dried, scribe a 12 3/4" diameter circle on the bowl (A) and a 6 1/4" diameter circle on the base stand (B).
  9. Use a band saw to cut out the circles for bowl and base stand (A) & (B).
  10. Glue the bowl and base stand (A) & (B) together using large wooden hand screw clamps. Make sure the upper and lower bowls are perfectly centered and clamped as tight as possible.
  11. Allow glue to dry 24 hours.
  12. Cut a 1" thick piece of scrap hardwood stock to 6" diameter. Glue the scrap stock and the bottom of the bowl stock together with a piece of wrapping paper between them so they can be separated easily afterwards. Locate the center of the scrap stock and place a 6" metal faceplate over it. Mark the hole locations and fasten the faceplate to it with 3/4" screws. The screws should be long enough to penetrate the majority of the scrap stock but not so long that they penetrate the bottom of the bowl. Allow the glue to dry for 48 hours.

D. Shaping Procedure:

  1. Securely screw the faceplate onto the wood lathe headstock spindle.
  2. Adjust the tool rest about 1/8" from the bowl stock (A) and about 1/8" above center. Turn the stock by hand to make sure the bowl clears the tool rest.
  3. To rough cut the bowl (A) portion use a 3/4" wide gouge. Set the lathe to a slow speed and cut toward the tail stock. The gouge should be twisted slightly so shearing cuts can be taken. Take thin cuts until the bowl is a cylinder. You will have to stop the lathe and measure the diameter periodically. After the bowl is a cylindrical increase the speed slightly. When the bowl is approximately 1/16"over sized use a skew to finish cutting to the desired diameter.
  4. Cut the base stand (B) portion to size in the same manner as stated in step #3. A shorter tool rest will be required to reach the smaller diameter portion of the bowl. Use an outside caliper to measure the diameter.
  5. With the lathe set at a slow speed use a pencil to mark the exterior shape lengths.
  6. To shape the outside of the bowl, first cut the two beads at the top of bowl using a skew to cut two V's to the proper depth and then use a spear point to round the beads to the desired shape.
  7. To form the large convex curve on the exterior of the bowl (A) Use a gouge to round the desired shape and then use a skew to finish the job.
  8. To shape the base stand (B) use a round nose tool to shape the large concave curved surface. Cut the bottom bead using a small skew to cut the depth and then use a spear point to round the bead. Use a small skew to round the final convex arc of the base.
  9. To shape the inside of the bowl (A) position the tool rest 1/8" from the top of the bowl. Cut the concave shape with a large gouge. Finish the final 1/8" with a large round nose tool. A smaller tool rest will be required to fit inside the bowl as the recess gets deeper. Periodic adjustments of the tool rest will be required to maintain the proper distance from the bowl. Remove stock to within 1/16" of finished size. Always keep the gouge and the round nose tool positioned on the side nearest you. Never attempt to cut across the entire diameter, because once the tool passes the center, it will move up and away from the tool rest. This could be dangerous and cause injury.
  10. Slightly round the top edge of the bowl with a skew.


  1. Use outside calipers to determine diameter sizes for the base stand (B).
  2. Use inside calipers to measure the inside design of bowl (A).
  3. Use a template to check the progress of the interior design.

E. Sanding Procedure:

  1. Remove the tool rest from the lathe.
  2. Use a slow speed and complete all sanding by hand.
  3. Rough sand the fruit bowl using 80 grit sandpaper.
  4. Intermediate sand using 120 grit sandpaper.
  5. Finish sand using 220 grit sandpaper.
  6. If desired, a very fine 400 grit sandpaper could be used for a smoother finish.
  7. Use a tack rag to remove dust after each sanding procedure.

F. Finish Procedure:

  1. Turn the lathe to a slow speed.
  2. Many finishes can be applied including: stains, waxes, and clear finishes such as Varathane, Polyurethane, lacquer, shellac, etc.
  3. If the bowl is to be used for food, use a rag and apply mineral oil as the finish material. Other types of finishes my be caustic and vegetable oil may become rancid.
  4. Separate the scrap stock from the bowl base by driving a chisel between them with a hammer.
  5. Some finish sanding will be required to remove any paper and glue from the bottom.
  6. Remove dust with a tack rag and apply mineral oil to the bottom.
  7. If desired, attach four 3/8" diameter surface savers to the bottom to prevent marring after the mineral oil has sufficiently dried.

*Congratulations, your pedestal bowl is finished and ready to use!

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