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-  The Carving Process  -

"Cherry Lace" - Carved Cherry Bowl

by Steve Schmeck
March 2005        14" x 7-1/2" x 5"      

This bowl is now in a private collection.

This piece began it transformation as a 46-pound black cherry log section. It was heavy and green which I like best when working on a larger, deeper bowl. The first cuts released a strong aroma reminiscent of Wild Cherry Cough Drops. The log was split in half with steel and wooden wedges. The next step was determining the bowl's orientation within the log; in this case, I decided to take advantage or some very nice grain coloring in the last few years of the trees growth.

 The Carving



Above: I've laid out the rough shape of the bowl's legs/feet and chopped away some of the wood to get the bowl's shape. This is a critical time as the overall shape, and to  some extent, its size, are determined here. 2/28/2005.


Here are a few of the gouges used at this stage of the carving. Some folks use power carvers to speed up this phase but I generally prefer to take it slow to better control the emergence of the shape.

Here I'm marking out the profiles for the feet. Even at this point I allow myself the freedom to alter the design and in this case decided to make the feet more delicate than the outlines would suggest.


The outside of the bowl is pretty much shaped and I've chipped away the waste wood above rim height. 3/6/2005

Pretty well cleaned out, with a thickness of about 3/8". I will try for about 3/16" unless it starts to look too thin for the overall design. 3/8/2005


When the bowl was thinned and smoothed out it looked OK but needed something to help show off the nice swooping rim line. I decided to carve a lacey, open rim treatment. A significant time commitment but it feels better already.

Here is the bowl in its final form with one coat of oil finish. Only another couple of weeks of finishing and the transformation from log to bowl will be complete. I'll let the finish cure beside the wood heating stove and on a sunny window sill for a couple of days between applications. I've sanded down to 400-grit to get that smooth, smooth feel. By hand sanding one can actually feel and hear the progression towards this level of finish. 3/23/2005                                        Click on graphic above for larger images.

Updated 02/15/2022