pgtruspace's blog

about things that interest me.

Offering Bowls


Offering bowls

A number of finished and semi finished offering bowls.

Offering bowls are created for two handed display or offering and are wonderful for center place display of food or art.

    Over several years of trial I have developed a style and technique that suits my needs and the material at hand, massive pieces of solid wood!

This is a view of a cut of a cottonwood or popular log, and a semi finished bowl of the same cut. All green wood. I have the best luck, rough shaping  the bowl and then letting it dry out over the winter. By the next winter it is dry enough to finish shaping and then surface finish. Linseed oil is a good sealer to slow the drying so the warpage and cracking is reduced.  On the right is a dry semi finished bowel of Oak  and my shadow!

A bowl of this size takes me about 50 hours to complete.

This is the back or reversed view of the same pieces. I try to create the bowl as dictated by the log piece rather then try to find a suitable piece of wood to create a preconceived bowl. These bowls were created from a clean straight cut of wood. Generally I take cuts from the stump or a large branching crouch. The more gnarled the grain the better. If it is a piece that you don’t want to have to split and too large for the stove it is perfect for working into a display bowl using my technique.  More later as I get better at my posting and my photography.    😎   pg


19 responses to “Offering Bowls

  1. P.G. Sharrow December 6, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Man this post took me over 3hours to complete. I need to improve my grasp of this wordpress stuff. At least I think I have the picture and type system figured out. Grumble Grumble gr gr gr ;-I pg

  2. Ralph B December 20, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Nice pictures. I am no woodworker but wonder about the method to carve symmetrical pieces like your bowls. A round one is pretty easy with a lathe but oblong? Dumb question…but could you is a wooden dutch oven possible? For use in a lower temp oven not over open flame of course. Seems like you could get some fancy flavored roasts using apple or cherry wood that way.

  3. P.G. Sharrow December 20, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    @Ralph B December 20, 2011 at 9:42 pm
    interesting question about cooking in a wooden bowel. Many woods can impart flavors to their contents, specially when heated. Wood can tolerate heat up to 250F without much damage depending on species. Our ancestors cooked in wooden bowels by heating stones in the fire and then using the heated stones to heat the food in the bowel such as stew and soup. Cherry wood tastes of cherry!
    I am not sure I would want to cook in one of my bowels as they take 20 to 30 hours to rough carve and as many more to finish. They would generally be used for serving prepared food or display.
    I hope to do a page on my technique now that I have every thing ready to do a layout. pg

  4. Pascvaks January 8, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Very much looking forward to more on your woodworking (et al). You have a very keen and curious mind and very good hands, don’t get the impression that you’re into TV –not that there’s anything to watch even if you were. Best again!

  5. p.g.sharrow January 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    @ Pascvaks; Ah yes! The boob tube. We have Direct, over 900 channels, generally nothing worth watching. ;-(
    I generally have it on Fox business news when I am inside. Got to keep abreast of the world. The web is a great help, specially The Chief Information Officer’s blog. 😎 pg

  6. P.G. Sharrow January 23, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Well, I just bought two new electric sanders. A 5 inch orbital and a 2 inch detail sander. Lots of wood to sand tomorrow. New toys to play with! And I also need to return to work on the FRP disk as I got more resin to do the needed detail and finish work. pg

  7. Judy F. July 26, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    P.G. Sharrow,

    Are you interested in selling any of your bowls? They are gorgeous and I would love to have one. I can see it filled with warm bread or a harvest centerpiece.You can contact me at my email address. Thanks.

  8. p.g.sharrow July 27, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    @Judy F. that was a part of the reasons for starting this blog. But after I explained the cost in time and effort in the creation of one of my bowls people lose interest in buying one. It takes over a week of labor to create a 22″x10″x by 3″ deep bowl and finish it. We do use them for table needs or display and they are impressive house warming gifts. pg

    The brown bowl at the top of the heading picture is of pine-24″x11″x5″deep and took 24 hours to create. We use it for bread making and serving. It would sell for $500.00. The Oak display bowls take a lot longer to create.

  9. Simon Derricutt August 2, 2012 at 2:32 am

    pg – If you can take the noise, there are wood-cutting blades available for 125mm angle-grinders. Basically chainsaw-type blades on the circumference of a metal disc, and sharpen using a chainsaw file. I haven’t had the need to get one myself – my wood ends up as guitars so various normal planes and chisels do the job, but have done rough carving with the tip of a chainsaw so the technique should be much the same but much more controllable and quieter. I’d expect it will be very much quicker for the roughing-out stage before initial drying. Since it doesn’t need chainsaw oil, the chips produced would work well in the smoker.

  10. P.G. Sharrow August 2, 2012 at 7:22 am

    @Simon; Yes that cutter for an offset grinder works very well for hogging out a large bowl cavity and a heavy power plane is also useful for outside rough shaping. I also use sanding disks on the offset grinder for a lot of the finer shaping work.

    That cutter head is a real alligator, very dangerous.
    But it does make huge piles of fine wood chips that cover every thing within 5 or 6 feet. My first cutter head unit was totally home made based on reading about them, no pictures! no instructions! Just figure it out. The first few attempts to use it was exciting, until experience and modifications got the bugs out.

    Definitely not something for an power tool amateur to use. That thing can maim and kill!

    The creation of a 12×24 inch work of art, that is also useful, out of a piece of fire wood is quite satisfying way to spend a few days.

    I generally rough shape in green wood and then linseed oil it, place it in a cool dry area for a year or so and then finish the bowl. I now have 6 roughs to finished when I have time. pg

  11. Simon Derricutt August 3, 2012 at 5:14 am

    pg – one other shaping tool I’ve found useful is a sanding-belt pushed on to a foam core and driven by a power-drill. I have a couple, but haven’t seen them for sale for years. It allows sanding inside curves but doesn’t leave the hard edge that a solid-backed belt does. Should be easy to make.

    Tungsten-tipped tools used in metal shops might also be useful for you. Diamond plates for sharpening are now cheap and easy to get, and the cutting-angle is close to 90° so less problems with sudden bite on a knot or whatever. I’d see that as a problem with your “alligator” above. It would tend to produce more dust than shavings – not as good on the barbecue (but better at soaking up blood).

    If you’ve never tried them, the Japanese chisels and knives with bimetal construction (high-carbon steel hammer-welded to low-carbon steel) are good as finishing tools. They have a fine rake, and if sharpened on a 3000-grit Japanese waterstone you can see your face in the edge – even better than Arkansas white. The cut looks polished. You can’t lever with them (the edge breaks) but for a straight push-cut they allow very fine control, and you can normally even cut end-grain towards the edge without chipping the wood by taking fine enough cuts. It’s a bit like working with an open razor.

  12. P.G. Sharrow August 3, 2012 at 7:06 am

    @Simon; I have used expanding drum sanders but have not seen foam cored sanders. Sanding a smooth true inside curve without tool marks is difficult. I have to scrape and sand by hand to get the finish that I want.
    I am pleased with the style and shape that I have created.The next part that I want to develop is decorative carving of the outside bosses. This will require small, high quality, gouges and chisels. More tools to acquire or create. I often find that commercial available tools are unsatisfactory for my needs and so have to create the ones that I need.
    At least I’m not bored with having nothing to do. 😎 pg

  13. Judy F. August 16, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. Your bowls are lovely, unfortunately, the price is little more than I can manage. I do understand why you price them the way you do. I know how much handwork is involved. I make quilts and when I tell people how many hours it takes to put one together they are amazed. Some local ladies got together and made some simple quilts for the church bazaar. When they got there the person in charge had put $25 on each quilt. When the ladies complained, he commented that “it was just a bunch of old fabric sewn together.” The ladies don’t donate quilts anymore. 🙂
    At this point, I will have to admire and covet your bowls from afar, but thanks for making such things of beauty.

  14. P.G. Sharrow August 16, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    @JudyF: I have assisted Quilt and Braded Rug making and can appreciate the effort needed to create such a work of love. $25 is an insult! 😛
    I need a quilt but It would have to be tough as our cats insist on sleeping with us. 😎 pg

  15. Simon Derricutt August 23, 2012 at 1:01 am

    pg – assuming you can get them, springs from auto suspensions are pretty good chisel-making steel. You’ll probably want to do some hardening and tempering to get the best edge, but generally they have no inclusions (it would cause the spring to snap) and they will take and keep a good edge. Maybe most useful to get a 3″ heavy-work chisel you can hit with a lump-hammer rather than having to use a mallet – weld some extra soft iron at the top.

    Another source of high-quality edge is the inserts used in modern lathe cutting tools. There’s a problem mounting them if you want to avoid the screw-fixing they use, but some can be brazed to the end of a piece of steel. Sharpen and shape with diamond gritted sheets – normal stones won’t touch them. If you know a machine shop you may be able to get scrap ones you can shape to what you want. You may also be able to acquire broken/worn-out machine-hacksaw blades which will be either high-carbon or high-speed steel – I have one around 18″ long by 2″ by 1/8″ in HSS. It’s amazing what you can find in the scrap bin.

  16. p.g.sharrow August 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Hi Simon; I often make the tools I need from the scrap pile as well as things other people need. Old files are a good source of high carbon steel for cutting edge tools but leaf spring is one of the best for a tough edge that is hard to break.
    A year ago I needed a good brush knife and could not find a heavy tough blade to suit me. So I decided to create one. After much digging in the scrap pile and visualizing what I needed, I stopped, I realized I had several worn out Stil chainsaw bars in the shop, 25 inch size. Now I have a “Stil” brush knife. Good tough alloy steel blade, heavy enough to cleave a 2 inch limb and will not break or bend. Even encounters with rocks cause little damage. Just the thing to “widen the road” or “pick blackberries”. pg

  17. Simon Derricutt August 24, 2012 at 1:40 am

    pg – chainsaws last about 2-3 years before they cost a lot in maintenance or work to keep them running well, and it’s cheaper to get another one, so I have a few scrap ones by now that wait to get built into something else. Nice use for the blades – I hadn’t thought of that. I’d thought of hammer-welding files to mild steel backing to make samurai-type blades with high-carbon edge, but need to get a forge together to play with that. Later….

  18. Judy F. September 25, 2012 at 5:45 pm


    I emailed you some pictures at the end of August. Did you get that email, or do I need to re-send it?

  19. p.g.sharrow September 25, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    @Judy:Hello. I got your Email and the link to Elizabeth’s pictures. I get the “boxes” but no pictures of quilts inside. Elizabeth’s other photos work just fine. I just now checked the link and still the same problem. I want to have my wife see your work before we can continue. Sorry that I have been lax in a reply to you. pg

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