I was getting ready for a
bowl turning class
recently and had no wood for the bowl blanks. I called a friend who I knew had wood and arranged to have ten bowl blanks cut out for the class. I didn't tell him what size, my mistake. I picked them up and when I got to my shop and measured the blanks, I found they were too large and thick for the class. I usually use a 6” x 4” blank.
What to do? Cutting a smaller circle was not the problem. We are taught not to try to cut a round bowl blank because it will probably roll, catching the blade and could pull your hands into the blade…not wise.
I realized I could put the blank back into the wood it was cut from and cut a flat portion of the waste wood. I then had a surface to support on the table and the gap created by reducing the circle would pinch the new blank and hold it steady. It worked like a dream.
Yes, I know that the thickness could have been removed in the turning, but the class was for newbies and we didn't have time to reduce turn the blank. I now know that anytime I need to reduce the thickness I can use the waste wood as a cradle. It works for me!
Phil can be reached directly via email at
The Highland Woodturner