Turn a Rustic Bowl From a Fallen Branch in Just 6 Steps

One thing I really like about the lathe is that beginner woodturning doesn’t have too steep a learning curve. In one afternoon you can master enough skills to turn out a simple, yet beautiful project. I also love simple lathe work because you can often start and finish an entire project in one day. Turning green wood bowls is also a lot of fun, and an added bonus is that the wood for these projects is usually free, so it’s a lot easier to justify plenty of practice.


Wooden Bowl


Something that needs to be mentioned up front is that green wood is a lot less predictable than dry wood when turning. Wet wood can act funny as tension is released from the structure of the wood while you turn away the interior and exterior of the bowl. You need to be a lot more attentive and careful when turning green wood. Your workpiece needs to be tightly secured to the lathe at all times to avoid flying off and breaking something across the room or, worse, hitting you.

Turn off your lathe on occasion and check to ensure your workpiece is still well attached. Always wear eye protection, always use sharp tools, and ALWAYS keep an eye on where and how your chisel coming into contact with the wood. If you have long hair, keep it securely tied in a bun or, better yet, covered entirely with a hat.

This method is best used only on very small bowls. We want to start and finish this project in one afternoon and skip the year (or more) drying times required for larger bowls. Depending on the species of wood and the finished thickness of the bowl, it is likely to distort, warp, or crack as it dries but since this is a small, decorative piece with a rustic feel, those things will only add character.

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