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Turning a Green Wood Bowl Granite Falls NC

Making a functional object directly from raw material in its natural state is incredibly satisfying. Just ask any potter. For woodworkers, green woodturning captures that feeling. You literally start with a log and end up with a beautiful bowl. If you’ve never turned green wood before, you’re in for a treat.

The Home Depot
(828)327-9200
1530 8th St Dr SE
Hickory, NC
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Lowe's
(828) 304-6420
1450 2Nd Street Ne
Hickory, NC
Hours
M-SA 6 am - 10 pm
SU 8 am - 8 pm

Bethlehem Do it Best Hardware
(828) 495-8351
9771 N.c. Hwy 127
Hickory, NC
 
Ace Home & Auto Store
(828) 754-4091
101 Mulberry St NW, on the corner of Harper Ave. & Mulberry St
Lenoir, NC
 
Lenoir - Auth Hometown
(828) 757-0505
112D Wilkesboro Blvd Se
Lenoir, NC
Store Hours
Hometown Dealers
Store Type
Hometown Dealers
Hours
Mon:9-19
Tue:9-19
Wed:9-19
Thu:9-19
Fri:9-19
Sat:9-18
Sun:13-18
Store Features
Mon:9-19
Tue:9-19
Wed:9-19
Thu:9-19
Fri:9-19
Sat:9-18
Sun:13-18

Klingspor’s Woodworking Shop of Hickory
(828) 326-9663
856 21st Street Dr. SE
Hickory, NC

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Ace Hardware
(828) 322-3492
2310 N Center St
Hickory, NC
 
LOWE'S OF LENOIR, N. C.
828 726-5246
1201 HICKORY BLVD S.E. LENOIR, NC, 28645
Lenoir, NC
 
Lowe's
(828) 726-5246
1201 Hickory Blvd. S.E.
Lenoir, NC
Hours
M-SA 7 am - 9 pm
SU 9 am - 7 pm

Fastenal- Hickory
828-323-9153
370-B 16th Street Place SE Hickory, NC, 28602
Hickory, NC
 
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Turning a Green Wood Bowl

Turning a Green Wood Bowl

By Alan Lacer


Making a functional object directly from raw material in its natural state is incredibly satisfying. Just ask any potter. For woodworkers, green woodturning captures that feeling. You literally start with a log and end up with a beautiful bowl.  If you’ve never turned green wood before, you’re in for a treat. Green wood is easier to turn than kiln-dried wood. It cuts cleaner and produces very little dust. To top it off, the wood itself often costs nothing. 

TOOLS AND SUPPLIES: 

• 1/2” bowl gouge 

(from a 5/8” rod)

• 1-1/4 to 1 -1/2-in. 

heavy scraper  

(usually 3/8” thick)

• Jacobs style chuck 

• A 5/8” to 1” drill bit

• Double ended calipers

• Vernier style caliper

• Sanding discs and soft pads (5” and 

2” dia.)

• Flexible shaft tool or flexible shaft for a drill

• 1/8” rubber router mat material

• CA glue

MATERIAL

The process works best if the wood is wet and freshly cut. Storm-downed trees, areas being cleared for development and tree service dumping sites (often called “bone yards”) are all good sources of green wood.  For ease of handling and cutting, choose logs or limbs that are smaller in diameter than your lathe’s swing.  

Almost any species is worth trying, but here are some of my favorites: maple, walnut, butternut, ash, birch, locust, white oak, cherry, beech, Osage orange, and pear. My rule for green bowls is to try whatever is locally available—you may be pleasantly surprised by the abundance of material in your own backyard.   

SAFETY FIRST!

Wet logs weigh a lot! You don’t want one flying off the lathe. Use a faceplate that’s made from one piece of steel and is at least 3/8” thick at the screw hole flange. For bowls less than 10 inches in diameter, I use a 6-hole, 3-in.-diameter faceplate. The type of screw is also critical: Use #12 sheet metal screws. Avoid dry wall, deck and wood screws. Be sure the faceplate sits flat on the log’s surface—if it doesn’t, use a small hand plane across the grain to create the desired fit. Last but not least, be sure to wear a full-face shield—goggles are not sufficient for bowl turning. 

FINISHES

Is your bowl functional (made for food) or decorative?  If it’s decorative, choose any finish that gives the look and feel you prefer. My favorite finishes for functional bowls are mineral oil, walnut oil and pure tung oil. Mineral oil looks great on light colored wood, as it adds no color of its own. However, it never dries so it needs to be reapplied regularly, especially after washing. Walnut oil adds a little color and will dry in time. It’s available at health food stores.  I also like pure tung oil. It adds a deeper color that looks great on dark woods and...

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