Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 1, Issue 3
March 2007
Turning Bowl Feet – Design

When used on the foot of a bowl, care must be taken to ensure that the inlay doesn't come across as a means of hiding the mounting method, such as screw holes or an inside dovetail. A ring that sits proud of the base makes an excellent foot, especially if it is made from different material or a contrasting wood. Adding a shape that isn't round can add a distinctive touch as well.

Artistic Techniques
Many other techniques can be used to create a striking effect on the design as a whole. Turning a deep concave in the base and cutting out parts of the resulting ring that is formed can give the appearance of legs.

Another method to achieve the look of legs is to turn the bottom of the bowl fully round and add turned spikes into holes drilled around the bottom. It's easier than it seems and can add an artistic flair to the right bowl. However, remember that if your bowl rests on more than three of these spikes, it will probably wobble.

For a change, try this design with a different material for the spikes or create your bowl without a foot at all and use a complementary material to act as a holder. Choices can include brass, Corian, acrylic or even painted wood.

The Signature
As an added element of style, a finely written statement of the type of wood, the date and your signature or initials may be included on the base. This shows the pride of an artisan in his or her work and provides an intangible feeling of collected artwork for its eventual owner.
  Cherry bowl with signature.
This turned bowl, made from cherry, displays a signature and date on its base.

Choose a fine felt-tip marker or wood-burning pen and write or print neatly. Experiment with your finish to determine at which stage you should write on the foot and whether your finish and pen are compatible. A pencil will also work well for this task the lead won't run and it's generally compatible with all finishes. Of course, the writing will be lighter. Select what works best for you.

Michel Theriault

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