Rounding/smooting bowl blank without a lathe? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 1 Old 02-01-2013, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Rounding/smooting bowl blank without a lathe?

So, I own a lathe, and have a whole shop for that matter - just 2,800 miles from where I will be living until approximately a year from next month.

What I have up here, where I am now, is a Workmate 425, a Foredom TX with a model 44 handpiece and a Foredom LX with a model 50 reciprocating chisel handpiece. I've got a bunch of hand chisels and other hand tools as well. Other than the Foredoms, the only powertools I have are a cheap black and decker L'ion power screwdriver/low-power drill and a Dremel 4000 (more about the Dremel below).

I recently bought a medium-sized bowl blank. I need to round it well so that carving it will result in a somewhat evenly rounded decorative bowl. To round it, I used the circle cutting attachment that came with the Dremel 4000 w/ flex shaft that I bought last year for pumpkin carving (didn't want to get sticky wet pumpkin guts on the Foredom units).

The result wasn't as clean as I'd hoped. It's round, but imperfect.

What I was thinking of doing, was somehow mounting it on a power-drill (I'd have to buy one), and then running it against a very rough piece of sandpaper. I was thinking of buying a 6x48 sanding belt, cutting it, and somehow mounting it flat on the Workmate 425 for this. My hope is that this will be like sanding on a lathe, just somewhat in reverse given my lack of an actual lathe. Also, before anybody asks - I don't own a drill press up here either. I have a great one at my shop on the other side of the country, but not here.

Here are my questions:

First, I know this is kind of a stupid thing to do. Let's move past that part. Are there any suggestions as to a better way to achieve my goal?

Second, assuming I do this the way I was thinking, what's a good way to mount the blank on a handheld drill? A spade bit hammered into the center maybe? Or would it be better to tap a hole and make a mandrel with a modified steel bolt (cut off the head and give it more of a hexagonal shaft)?

Third, any thoughts on whether this idea would work, and also on any safety issues that I may not have thought of yet (aside from the drill breaking, or the piece flying off)?

I also want to mention, in case it's relevant - the wood I'm using is Ambrosia Maple and is slightly green. The plan was to rough carve the piece, then put it in a large paper bag surrounded with its own sawdust and shavings and give it some time to dry.
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