Wood Bowl

This is my second wood bowl!

Table of Contents


  • Start: December 27, 2019
  • End: April 25, 2020
  • Wood Species: Jack Pine

After completing my first burl bowl, I decided to take on more bowls-from-burls projects. This past winter, while hiking in Minnesota, I stumbled across an easily accessible burl on a Jack Pine tree.
I proceeded to extract it with a hand saw (poor tree) and transport it back to my home on the West Coast.

Bark Removal

My first step was to remove the bark from the burl. Because I allowed the burl to dry with the bark attached, removing the bark was difficult. I had to progressively move from using a flat head screw driver to finer and finer sanding paper until I felt comfortable with the amount of bark removed.

Side View: After Flat Head Screwdriver Removal Of Bark
Top View: After Flat Head Screwdriver Removal Of Bark
Side View: After Flat Head Screwdriver Removal Of Bark
Remove the bark immediately after extracting the burl from the tree.


Next, I needed to find a way to safely and accurately remove any remaining bulk wood from the bowl and to evenly hollow it out.
Precise control here was critical because penetrating through the bowl edge was a non-starter. I considered my dremel a prime tool for this task. After my experience gained on my first burl bowl with various bits (smoother wheels tended to simply burn the wood), I used course-grain sanding drums1 and a laterally cutting bit from Home Depot2. This task was tedious and required complete focus so as to avoid penetrating too deep through the wood. This burl is very small and as such, its small recesses were difficult to evenly extract material from. Unfortunately, the bowl was small enough that I couldn’t remove material in a way as to allow the bowl’s center of mass to be positioned such that is was balanced when rested on its bottom. This step took ~4hrs.

Pre Sanding: Carved Bowl
Constantly check the bowl thickness. Calipers are very handy for checking thickness. It’s better to work more slowly and cautiously when coring out the burl.


Next, I moved on to sanding the cored out burl using 220, 320 and 600 grit wet/dry sand paper (in that order). This sanding was all done by hand and took ~4hrs.

Post Sanding: Bowl and Sandpaper/Grits

Wipe Down

Before applying the finish coats of oil, I wiped-off as much of the residual sawdust from the burl as possible. I made the mistake of first wiping the bowl down with a lightly damp paper towel. This raised the grain of the wood enough to be noticeable to the touch. So, I then performed one final light sanding with 600 grit paper followed by a light wipe down using a dry paper towel.

Top View: Before Application Of Finish Coats And After Light Wipe Down Using Dry Paper Towel
Side View: Before Application Of Finish Coats And After Light Wipe Down Using Dry Paper Towel
Don’t wipe with a damp fabric as this will raise the grain. Instead wipe with a dry fabric or use a vacuum to remove the residual sawdust.

Finish Coats

The last step was to apply finish coats to both stain and protect the bowl. For this I used Watco Natural Danish Oil3 following the instructions on the back of the can.

Side View: After Application Of Oil And Before Dried
Top View: After Application Of Oil And Before Dried
Front View: After Application Of Oil And Before Dried

Finished Bowl

Side View: Finished And Dried
Side View: Finished And Dried
Front View: Finished And Dried
Top View: Finished And Dried


  1. https://www.amazon.com/Dremel-407-Drum-Sander/dp/B00004UDGV/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=dremel+sanding+drum&qid=1588277399&sr=8-6 ↩︎

  2. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Dremel-1-8-in-Multi-Purpose-Rotary-Tool-Cutting-Bit-for-Wood-Plastic-Fiberglass-Drywall-Aluminum-and-Vinyl-Siding-561/202263174?g_store=6603&mtc=Shopping-B-F_D25T-G-D25T-25_9_PORTABLE_POWER-Multi-NA-Feed-LIA-NA-NA-PortablePower_LIA&cm_mmc=Shopping-B-F_D25T-G-D25T-25_9_PORTABLE_POWER-Multi-NA-Feed-LIA-NA-NA-PortablePower_LIA-71700000044155732-58700004615424082-92700051389149201&gclid=Cj0KCQjw7qn1BRDqARIsAKMbHDZXeK2O-piyDd4PnQGrw3kONUvxlGfu_1uRgcSn6VzRwH7K4mXz86IaApzfEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds ↩︎

  3. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Watco-1-pt-Natural-Danish-Oil-265503/203164644 ↩︎

Software Engineer

My research interests include computer vision and deep learning.