George Vondriska

Turning Large Wooden Bowls

George Vondriska
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Duration:   1 mins

Turning large wooden bowls is a blast! However, it requires some special setup. In this instructional video, the bowl blank started as a log, which is then mounted on a four-jaw chuck for turning. We’ll provide you with what you need to know about special requirements for turning large wooden bowls. Important aspects of working with large chunks of wood include speed control, working with off-center blanks, and taking advantages of the ability to reverse.

Buying advice

Different lathes offer different features. For turning large bowls, look for a heavy machine with variable speed, a robust tool rest, and reverse capabilities. For really large work, it’s also great if the headstock can slide into a position that allows you to turn a bowl outboard.

Working with green wood

In all likelihood, a large blank like this will come from a log, meaning the wood is green and dripping wet. We’ll discuss some options for preventing the bowl from cracking as it dries.

More on woodturning

WoodWorkers Guild of America has lots of woodturning videos. Need to advance your skills? Check out our large variety of woodturning technique videos. Looking for lathe projects? Have a look at our many woodturning projects.

For more information on the Laguna Revo 18|36 Lathe, go to or call (800) 234-1976.

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7 Responses to “Turning Large Wooden Bowls”

  1. James Marcantel

    What model lathe are you using?

  2. norman Marentette

    What size of motor 1.5 or 2 h.p. I would like to buy a laguna 1836 lathe but I wonder if the 1.5 h.p. 110volt is as good as the 2h.p. 220 v. for turning 16 inch dia. bowls. Thanks. Norm.

  3. Paul Brennan

    With my 1836 laguna reverse turning my chuck will often unscrew what am I doing wrong ? Suggestions and advice greatly appreciated thanks

  4. cwstonex

    I am a new member finally and I hope to have a Laguna 1836 with in the next few weeks. Thanks for the great video. I have been watching several of the you tube videos and I am thankful to finally be a member. I live in central Texas and mesquite wood is very plentiful. I took about 20 trees from my property and sent them to a saw mill so now I have plenty to work with. I'm not only doing wood turnings. I also plan to make lamps, toys, games, boxes, shelves and pens to mention a few.

  5. Charles

    What kind of lighting do you recommend and where did you get yours? Seems one can never have enough light when turning. Also, where can one get a filtering face shield like yours? Ive only been turning a couple of years. Wished now I'd bought bigger and beefier than my Rikon vspeed midi lathe. But my shop is small. Thanks in advance.

  6. Joseph Anderson

    Do any of you videos show how to mount the four jaw chuck on a bowl. I am a beginner at bowl turning.

  7. Guy Gorget

    Hi George! thanks for this interesting video. I have 2 questions: - how do you precisely determine the centers of both faces of the rough in order to get them well aligned on the lathe? - how do you machine the recess on the bottom side or (same question): how is the chuck holding the rough?? thanks and regards, Guy

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