After the lathe – FineWoodworking

As a wood turner, I cherish the process of transforming raw timber into exquisite bowls on the lathe. However, the turning process is merely the beginning of my creative journey. Beyond the lathe lies a realm of endless possibilities for enhancing wooden masterpieces with texture, color, and intricate design elements.

A padouk bowl with a rounded edge at the top and divots carved into the sides of the bowl. The rim of the bowl is left natural and the rest of the bowl is dyed black.

Texture is a tactile language that speaks to the soul of woodworking. Beyond the smooth finish achieved on the lathe, I introduced texture and design through power carving. Padauk wood, known for its striking vibrant color, is traditionally used for carvings. It was the perfect selection for applying modern-day techniques. With a rotary tool and a sphere burr, I carefully carved superficial divots in this bowl, leaving a rounded finish on the upper quarter of the bowl.

Char turns a padauk blank on a lathe. Char uses a rotary tool to carve divots in a padauk bowl.

Color is a powerful tool for evoking emotion and enhancing aesthetic impact. While many wood species boast natural beauty in their grain and color variations, staining, dyeing, or painting can be used to further enhance or alter these characteristics. Dyes offer a more vibrant and translucent option, allowing the wood’s natural beauty to shine through while introducing bold hues and gradients. Experimenting with different techniques and color combinations allows wood turners to create pieces that resonate with their artistic vision and personal style. There is something about the joining of the red hues and black that pair so nicely here. I brushed in a polymer-based paste specifically for substrates to bring out the power-carved effects.

Char applies a black paste dye to the bowl with a toothbrush. Char brushes a black dye onto the padauk bowl to highlight the carved divots.

Design is the culmination of craftsmanship and creativity, shaping the visual and functional aspects of a turned bowl or platter. Before removing my tarara (also known as canary wood) platter I created a small channel to add contrast and visual interest against the yellow-hued Brazilian species. With the introduction of a two-part epoxy and pigmented micas, this platter was transformed into a bright, joyous rainbow.

Char pours epoxy mixed with colored mica powder into a channel on the top of a bowl. Char uses a rotary tool to add texture to a bowl attached to the lathe.

In conclusion, the possibilities for enhancing turned bowls after the lathe are limited only by the imagination and creativity of the woodworker. By exploring texture, color, and design, we can transform simple bowls into extraordinary works of art that delight the senses and inspire admiration, like this walnut bowl in which I added a complementary inlay. Whether through carving, staining, or innovative design, let us embrace the opportunity to elevate our woodworking craft and create pieces that leave a lasting impression.A bowl with a channel on top that has a rainbow of epoxy filled in.

Add color and texture to a turned bowl

Mark Gardner demonstrates the steps involved in making one of his colorful bowls, from cutting a log to the initial rough turning and drying, to the final finishing touches with milk paint and gouge work for the texturing.

Video: A textured and carved cutting board

Mark Gardner adds an aesthetic and tactile touch to the edges by pulling the board across the bandsaw blade on a diagonal. In this video, he shows exactly how it’s done.

Use a Scrub Plane to Create a Textured Finish

Scrub planes can do more than just rough work.





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