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How to Make a Wooden Bowl | 11 Steps Must Follow

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A wooden bowl is a classic woodworking project. People have been making bowls from different kinds of wood for thousands of years! A wooden bowl will be the perfect addition to any kitchen. They come in many shapes and sizes, so you will find one that fits your needs! Some bowls are made from wood such as walnut or cherry, while other types like bamboo or cedar can also be used. You’ll enjoy using these bowls because they won’t scratch easily and don’t need to be washed with soap before use. These bowls are easy on the environment and can last for years even without being oiled! With just some wood and tools, almost anyone can carve their own bowl! But what if you don’t know how to make a wooden bowl and where to start? In this article, we will cover 16 steps that will help make the perfect wooden bowl.

Step-By-Step Guide for Carving a Wooden Bowl

Step-By-Step Guide for Carving a Wooden Bowl

If you are looking for a woodworking project that is perfect for beginners, then this woodworking guide will help you make a simple wooden bowl. This woodworking project is easy to do and requires minimal tools.

Tools for Carving a Wood Bowl

For making a wooden bowl, you need some power tools and hand tools.

  1. A wood lathe to make the bowl’s form, but you could also use a hand drill with an old belt from a vacuum cleaner.
  2. Wood chisels or Adze for carving out deep areas, intricate cuts, and small gouges for detail work.
  3. Fine grit sandpaper or emery cloth is needed as well as steel wool to get rid of any rough edges on your wood bowls after they are carved out.
  4. An electric drill or Angle grinder; various drill bits for drilling holes in the wood (Spade bits and Forstner bit are common).
  5. Hook knife hand tool for detail work with bowl turning.
  6. Rubber mallet to hammer the chisels in place
  7. Saws like for cutting out the shape of a wooden bowl from a pattern or board (hand saw, coping saw, Jaw chuck). A metal bench vise will do as well.
  8. Rubber bands to hold pieces in place while clamp is tightened.
  9. Tool rest or Tailstock lathe to hold wood in place when carving.
  10. Ruler and compass for measuring and drawing lines on wood to carve out a bowl shape.
  11. The woodworking project requires patience and skill; it will be worth it when you get that perfect wood bowl!

Safety Gear

There are some safety gear needs besides woodworking tools you need to wear before working.

  • A good pair of safety goggles are a must have to protect your eyes from wood chips and debris while working with wood.
  • Work gloves will also be needed as they offer protection for your hands, both when you’re cutting wood and handling the finished bowl after completion.
  • Face shield is necessary if there’s any chance that sawdust may fly into your eye during wood carving work. Sometimes this can happen because some types of wood such as cedar emit fine particles of dust even without being cut. These materials should never come into contact with skin (that means either on our body or our project) so it’s important to wear long sleeves.

Wooden Bowl Making Process

Here are the detailed instructions on how to carve a wooden bowl using wood carving tools.

Finding the right wood

Fallen wood from trees is perfect for this project. You can also use a piece of green wood that has been salvaged or cut down to size and shaped into the round bowl shape you want. If using wood with knots in it (called “figured” wood), try to orient them so they will show on top when finished, as these are attractive features in bowls.

Wood thickness

Make sure your wood is at least ¾ inch thick; thicker pieces may need more shaping before carving begins because there’s less flexing room than thinner boards have around their edges once a design is carved into them.


For initial trimming, make four cuts about an inch oversize all the way around the board.

Drawing a circle on wood

Use a pencil and compass to draw a circle (or any other shape) on top of the bowl blank.

Cutting the wood

Use band saw or jigsaw to cut out wood inside your pencil line, then use chisels and bowl gouges to knock away wood outside the pencil line until you get a rough bowl shape that’s round enough for what you’re looking for. This should create an edge around the bottom of your bowl so it can be turned as one piece without having to glue together two halves after they’ve been carved. You may need particular tools or techniques if using wood with knots in them. Forstner bits are excellent choices when working with figured wood because these push apart wood fibers rather than cutting through them like standard points do.

Another Resource: Guidelines on cutting hexagons from wood

Sanding the wood

Use a wood lathe to turn wood inside and outside into a rough bowl shape. Sand wood until it’s smooth on the outside. Sanding is as much art as skill, but you can do this with a power sander if you prefer powered tools or just by hand.

Protecting bowl from water

Add a wood sealant to protect the bowl from water stains and spills.

You Can Also Read: A Complete Guide To Staining Poplar Wood

Smoothing Blank bowl

Carve with chisels and gouges until the bowl is smooth enough for your desired shape, then sand again.


Once you are satisfied with the wood’s finish, use a rag dipped in mineral oil or wax to polish it up.

Adding glue

Turn the piece on its edge so it’s facing you, then glue up all but one inch of wood along the bottom by applying wood glue with a brush and spreading evenly in that area.

Adding wood glue on Fingers

Be sure your fingers are coated with wood glue before touching this glued section. Because if they’re not accidentally sticking them together when making the last turn around part way through the gluing process.

Repeating wood glue process

Repeat the wood glue process to seal up the remaining one inch of wood.

Using clamps

Use clamps to hold wood until adhesive dries overnight (or at least 12 hours). Make sure the clamp is underneath the outside surface of the bowl for best results!

Varnishing wood

Varnish wood in order to protect from damage due to wear and tear of everyday use over time.

Making durable

Finish wood with Linseed or Tung oil for added protection and durability.

Placing wooden bowls into boiling water

Place your wooden bowls into boiling water before using them in order to sterilize them between uses. You don’t want any bacteria growing especially since these are being put near food!

Frequently Asked Questions

Wooden Bowl

Can I carve a wooden bowl without a wood lathe?

The wood lathe is a woodworking machine that includes means for rotating wood around a longitudinal axis, with the use of three or four faces (chucks) on either end to hold and turn the wood as desired by the operator. Yes, you can make a wooden bowl without using a wood lathe.

An Interesting Topic: The Complete Guide to Making a Homemade Lathe

Which types of wood are best for wooden bowls?

The wood type is personal preference. Some varieties may be better suited for certain projects such as cutting boards, furniture or bowls because of the wood’s grain and texture. Wood also has a weight to it, which is important when considering what will work best in your project. If you’re unsure about the wood types that are available at your local hardware store, ask an employee who specializes in wood products before purchasing any lumber!

Which types of wood are best for a salad bowl?

Different wood types will affect the finished look of your wood bowl. For example, oak is a popular wood for cutting boards because it’s durable and looks nice with food on top. Maple wood bowls are popular as well because they have different colors in them that can add some visual interest to your piece!

  • Oak Wood Bowls: They’re known for being sturdy and looking great with salad or other foods on top!
  • Maple Wood Bowls: These woods come in more than one color which adds another dimension to these pieces and make each individual bowl unique!

Can I apply the same process to carve a segmented bowl?

No. You would need to use a wood lathe and very sharp woodcarving tools for this kind of bowl.

Can I apply the same tools and process to carve a wooden dough bowl?

Yes, you can use the same woodworking tools and process to carve a wooden dough bowl. However, there are many woodworkers who prefer carving bowls out of wood because they find it more difficult than dough bowls. They also have an easier time finding wood in various styles that is suitable for their purposes. Dough bowls come pre-prepared from stores or bakeries so anyone with access to kitchen supplies like cookware, utensils, appliances etc. could be able to do them without any prior experience necessary.

Another Resource: A Beginner’s Guide to Building a Wooden Bucket

Can I restore my old wooden bowl?

Yes, you can restore your old wooden bowl by sanding it down. You can use wood filler to cover up any dents or gouges in the wood, and then sand that down too before applying a new coat of finish. You can paint a wooden bowl with colors that are so bright they will make your morning.

Wooden Bowl Making Process


Wooden bowls are a beautiful woodworking project that can be carved out of many different types of wood. It is also a great piece for kitchens that can be used as an alternative to plastic or metal bowls. They make for great gifts, and can even be used as decorative pieces in your home.

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