Make a Wooden Bowl From a Log

Cindy Hagemann
by Cindy Hagemann
3 Materials
3 Hours
I took a class recently to learn how to make a bowl or tray from a piece of a log. Not having any skill with carving wood, I was a little apprehensive, but learned so much from the instructor and know that I can do it now!
Here is the piece of walnut wood that I chose for my bowl. It measured about 9" x 14" and 2.5" deep.
First thing I did was to grind off the bark on the back of the log and give the log a bit of a flat surface to rest one. You have to clamp the log down well and use an angle grinder with a wood carving disc attached.
After you get a bit of a flat surface on the back, you flip it over (clamp it well) and start forming the shape of the actual bowl using the grinding angle. It takes a long time to grind this down and wood chips and saw dust is everywhere! Be sure to wear a mask, safety glasses, and an apron.
In this photo, you can see the bowl actually taking shape. I wanted to round the corners, so I used a bench sander to round the edges slightly.
After sanding with an orbital hand sander using several different grits from 120 - 220 - the bowl was smooth enough for a good overview with a very fine hand sanding block. I sanded both the back and the front to this smooth finish.
I wanted to apply an oil that would bring out the natural beauty of the walnut wood and be food safe too, so I used Flax Seed Oil and conditioned it with Beeswax. So excited with my final product and ready to make more bowls and even trays on my own!
I love looking at the BEFORE photo on the left and comparing it to the completed bowl AFTER photo on the right.
Suggested materials:
  • Wood log
  • Angle Grinder
  • Flax Seed Oil
Frequently asked questions
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  3 questions
  • Karan Bowen Karan Bowen on Apr 14, 2018

    It is beautiful bowl❤️❤️ It would look good on my kitchen table with apples in it❤️❤️ Was the log dryer out or a fresh cut one?

  • Web Web on Jan 12, 2019

    would like to try this.....where did you take the instruction? Thanks for sharing.

  • Becky Meeks Carlin Becky Meeks Carlin on Sep 10, 2020

    this is beautiful! i can't wait to make one.

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  • Bob MacKenzie Bob MacKenzie on Mar 19, 2019

    I have made several bowls from logs. I use a chain saw disc attachment to rough out the shape then I use a 3" or 2" loop and hook backer in my hand drill with a variety of sanding papers from 40 grit down to 220 grit to get my final finish.

    I use 5" sanding paper on the 3" or 2" backer pads so the paper molds around the side to give me a nice smooth contour on the work.

    I hand sand the final finish and coat it with vegetable oil to be food safe.

  • Tolko Vaira Tolko Vaira on May 14, 2021

    My husband uses these plans from Woodglut and is very happy with them. However. I love yours!