WoodCentral's video reviews
Beyond the Basic Bowl

Beyond the Basic Bowl
by Bill Grumbine

LB Productions: 2006
DVD, 1 hr. 40 min., $29.95

    Bill Grumbine's second DVD, Beyond the Basic Bowl, builds upon the woodturning skills he taught in his first video, Turned Bowls Made Easy. In this new production, Bill demonstrates and explains three somewhat more advanced bowlturning techniques - natural-edge bowls, winged bowls and "square bowls" - as well as how to core multiple bowls from a blank using the Kel McNaughton coring tool. In his inimitable style, Grumbine combines clear explanations of the techniques with a generous helping of his straight-shooting, tongue-in-cheek conversational style.
    The video begins with a short segment on blank preparation, with Bill showing how he rips log sections in two with a chainsaw and how he uses a plastic disk as a guide for bandsawing a perfectly round blank from an irregularly shaped piece of wood.
    Turning a natural-edged bowl is the first main technique Bill discusses, beginning with talk about mounting the blank between centers to turn the outside shape and the spigot for the bottom. He also explains that he wears an apron while turning to avoid "wardrobe malfunctions." I got the willies just thinking about that. :-)
    Bill proceeds to explain the various aspects of hollowing out the inside of the bowl, including how to use the bowl gouge. Clear camera shots from several angles show the presentation and motion of the tool through each type of cut. As he nears the bottom of the bowl, he trots out his depth finding contraption, made of several dowels connected at right angles. This would be a handy item to have at any lathe. Then, to finish the bottom of the bowl, Bill reverse-chucks it in a vacuum chuck, describing his method of cushioning the bowl on the chuck.
    Turning a "winged bowl" from a tree crotch is next on the DVDs agenda. Again, Bill goes through every step of the process: attaching the faceplate to the bowl blank, truing up the bottom, turning the outside, turning a spigot, turning the inside of the bowl, and finishing the bottom.
    The square bowl, a regular variety of winged bowl, is turned much like the free-form winged bowl. Here, Bill adds some talk about using a detail gouge to create a raised foot on the bottom of the bowl.
    The chapter on bowl coring is a revelation to anyone who has not seen this process in person. Using the Kel-McNaughton coring tool, Bill makes short work of coring three nested bowls from a single blank.
    Throughout the video, Bill pays particular attention to safety issues, including determining the ideal lathe speed: "If you're not shakin' and the lathe's not shakin', the speed is fine." He wears proper safety garb and gives appropriate warnings for all operations that might be dangerous if you aren't careful. The video also includes short sections on sanding and finishing, but these are only a nod to the possibilities of these operations.
    Overall, Beyond the Basic Bowl is a satisfying and informative look at some bowl-turning processes that are not easily understood without a detailed explanation like this. Interspersed with the main object lessons are many small tips, tricks and revelations that bring perspective to the whole process of turning, including generalized instruction that can apply to other turning endeavors as well.

. . . Ellis Walentine