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Tips: Keeping Bowl Rims Flat
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Keeping Bowl Rims Flat

A friend and member of St. Louis Woodturners, Gary Hinegardner, showed me some nice looking bowls he had turned from green wood. He told me that he had put the bowls upside down with weight on top to help keep the rim flat during the drying process with good success. I came up with a space-saving way to add pressure to, as well as stack, plates, and bowls during the drying process.
For this setup, I use ¼" (6 mm) all-thread rods and pine boards, 1" × 2" (2.5 cm × 5 cm). I drilled a hole in each end of each board so that the rods will slide through.
When finished turning, I place a bowl or plate upside down on the first set of two boards, then add two more boards, one for each side, and add a washer and nut. I tighten the nuts just enough to make the boards snug. I keep adding bowls and boards until I run out of rod length, and then start another stack.

I put each stack into a large cardboard box to let the wood dry slowly and leave it there until the wood is stabilized.  As moisture leaves the wood, the assembly helps keep the bowls and plates from warping out of shape.
I leave a tenon on some of the turned items so that I can put them back onto the lathe for final sanding after they are dry.

The photo below on the right shows two ash bowls, one stacked with pressure, the other left to dry on its own. I have had excellent success over the years with this assembly, with no cracking of the bowls.



The pin is then pressed into the hole at the end of the fixture so that the pin is at the proper depth and will also be perpendicular to the fixture’s surface, which is important in the assembly of the tape measure. Using the razor saw, I cut the slot in the pin to the surface of the fixture. When the pin is fitted into the side of the tape measure, the slot will be flush with the side so that the tape will fit the new case properly.
~ Dan Burleson
Troy, MO

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