Saving bowls

2 weeks ago I visited a lady close to Bath to buy some tools from the workshop of her husband who had passed away a while ago. Among them was a brand new set of Kel McNaughton medium size bowl savers, complete with post. They still had the original rubber protection on the tips of the blades.

As luck will have it, on the very day before that, my tree surgeon left two huge cherry pieces on my doorstep, with a note asking me for a quote to turn two big bowls from them. Each piece as easily big enough to get a 16″ bowl and about 5-6″ thick. Obviously I put two and two together and decided to give my bowl saver a go.

First I cut the corners off the blanks (with the chainsaw, my bandsaw isn’t big enough for that), then mounted them on faceplates and rough turned the outside, including a recess for my biggest jaws. Then reverse onto the jaws, face off the front, and off we go.

I read up the user guide on the McNaughton website, and that was quite useful. I also remembered that there was a video on youtube, but at the moment there’s no sound on my computer, so I couldn’t consult that. I thought the worst that can happen is that I ruin a blank and have to go back for another.

I can tell you, this is serious work. I managed to get 6 bowls out of the 2 blanks, which I reckon isn’t too bad for a total newbie. I am pretty sure a more experienced turner (with the bowl saver) would have gotten 4 or 5 out of each blank, but I was pretty happy. Having said that, I did go through the bottom of one of the big bowls, so I now have to decide whether to fix that (with another piece of cherry) or throw it away. In any case, here’s the haul:


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