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-  The Carving Process  -

'Loopy' - Carved Cherry Bowl
by Steve Schmeck

April 2007     12" x 14"

I don't always start out with a plan as complete as this one but I needed a little help in visualizing the idea of having the 'loops' penetrate the bottom of the bowl to create feet.

 The Carving



This project started out as a cherry log section about 14" in diameter and 18" long, split in half with wedges and sledge. The half-log was very green and weighed about 35 lbs.

I started out by drawing the rough shape and features, in this case the areas to be left uncarved for a while, and chopping down to a rough shape with a hatchet and the 60mm wide gouge shown in the tool photo below.

Above: The bottom has been smoothed with gouges and Surform Rasps to help visualize the overall shape of the bowl.


The bowl blank is securely fastened to the bench and shaping of the top and rim continues.

The looping shapes are more defined here and the thickness of body of the bowl is roughed in to about 3/8".


Coming along now. The blocks left for the feet need to be shaped next. Quite a way to go yet to get the bowl thickness down to 3/16" or so.

Here is a small "Chisel Plane" I made today to help clean up and thin the bowl bottom. Those loops kept getting in the way of larger tools. 


Thinning down with the help of a goose-neck scraper (in bowl, above) and a couple of custom made sanding sticks. Bottom is about 1/4" thick, about 1/16" to go once the inside shape is done.

The rim and 'loops' are now their final shape and I'm in sanding mode. The 35 pound half-log now weighs about a pound. We'll use all those the chips to help heat shop. Last step is to apply an oil finish.


Just about done! Final sanding and a few more coats of oil, final inspection, then sign it. I like to let a bowl like this sit in a sunny spot for a week or so to allow the finish to completely cure. Also, if there are going to be any surprises - like dull spots, blemishes or cracks, I will find rather than have a new owner be disappointed.


These are the main tools used on this bowl.

   Updated 02/15/2022