Vortex bowl - a hybrid project

I thought that I would post this one to show how the Long Mill could be used with more traditional wood working to create final pieces.

I’ve done these bowls pre: LongMill and never really enjoyed cutting out the rings on my scroll saw. Keeping them round-ish was never my strength. With the Mill, that is no longer an issue.

Before the Mill comes into play, the various woods need to be milled, and then glued into boards. The boards are re-sawn into thinner boards – then planed down to final thickness – in this case ¼”.

Then, I used the Mill to cut out the rings using a 1/16” down cut end mill. Even though the Mill is not involved a lot, it sure saves a lot of time, plus the resulting rings are perfect.

After the rings are cut out and glued, this becomes a turning project.


Beautiful work. Have you thought about recording a video of your process?

That’s lovely Grant! What size is it? Might give that a go. I have a feeling it’s not in my usual turning range (huge and scary) but might be challenging.

@stevendq Tks much, Steven. I have toyed with the idea from time to time, but do not have the equipment to do a good job of it. In the case of these “vortex” or “dizzy” bowls, there are very good videos on Youtube showing the entire process. If you are interested, the best ones are by Tom Lohman. He is a master of all things segmented.

Here is a link to his vortex bowl

As you can see, his are much more detailed and complicated than mine.

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@Br5d Tks much, Brad. This one is quite small at about 9" in diameter and 6" high. I have a Vega bowl lathe that will turn 26", so it does not work up a sweat turning something like this. :grinning:

I have a vb36 for bowls and an old wadkin that will do 20" spindles and up to about 6ft diameter bowls outboard. Mind you I’ve never turned bowls on the wadkin. I’m going to give your vortex a spin, it’s a great way to use up all the offcuts and odds and ends that have been accumulating in the shop over the years.

@Br5d That vb is a beautiful machine, Brad. I love old iron like the Wadkin. I don’t have any, though. I have the Vega, a mini Jet with an extension for spindles and a micro Taig for very small metal work.

These are an excellent way to use up offcuts. They are time consuming and a bit of a pain to glue up, but since I do this as a hobby/pastime, I’m in no rush. The key to these is to have a good plan at the start so that you know how many boards you are going to need to get the rings you will need.

I’m assuming that you increase/decrease the diameter of the next ring by 1/2 the width of the current ring if you follow my drift. Or am I missing
something obvious?

@Br5d I do this manually. I draw the profile of the bowl. Then draw inside that at the thickness that I want the walls to be. Then I draw horizontal lines at the thickness of the boards I will cut. In the case of my bowl, I have a wall thickness and a ring thickness of 1/4". Of course, the wall thickness ends up thinner than that when the bowl is turned. That’s where the Mill was good, as the rings were perfectly round. When I cut them on my jigsaw, they were not and that meant that I had to cut them larger than necessary in order to end up with the final wall thickness that I wanted.

When cutting the rings, you need to take in to account the kerf of your cutter and the overlap you want. I guess that it’s obvious that you can’t get two adjacent rings out of the same board. In the video, you will see that Tom needed 9 rings.

I don’t know if any of this has helped, Brad, or just confused matters.

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Thanks Grant for to explanation, I’ll let you know how I get on. I’ve never tried segmented turning as I have a large stock of big tree trunks to work through. But I like to try out new ideas to see if there is something I can gain from the experience that can be used elsewhere. :wink:

@Br5d You’re very welcome,Brad. I got into segmenting because, unlike you, I don’t have a large supply of logs. On the other hand, I am spoiled by two friends who own a woodworking shop. So, I have an almost unlimited supply of hard wood offcuts. My designs are limited only to my imagination and my competence - or lack thereof. I only need to buy small quantities of some of the more exotic species, like purple heart and bloodwood.

Have fun and please post pics of your projects.

That is beautiful work!

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@Bill Tks much, Bill.

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Every time I think I’m getting a handle on this CNC thing it bites me in the butt, then I see what you can accomplish and I get encouraged to keep going. Guess I’m old school, set up your Jointer = Done, Square up your table saw = Done, same with all in the shop except the CNC, check the wheels, check the anti back nuts, carve on scrap, carve on good wood, Opps! S _ _ _, makeup another piece of good stock, start carving looks good opps, here we go again.

Again beautiful work, any chance you coud do a youtube of your next one?

@Bill Tks for the compliment, Bill. I completely understand where you are coming from. Like you, I have a quite fully equipped wood shop. Also, like you, I set up my jointer, planer, table saw, mitre saw, band saw, etc years ago and aside from routine cleaning and maintenance, they have stayed as I set them up. Hobby/grbl CNC seems to need more TLC.

On the subject of the vortex bowls, I do not have the equipment or skill to video the process. However, if you go to the link that I posted to Tom Lohman’s video, you will see the entire process in great detail. Tom does incredible work and his videos are very instructive.

Wow Grant, that is beautiful. Thanks for sharing this, I thought this was possible but had nit seen someone do it.

Like you, circles are not my thing. I imagine to some other folks setting up a whole CNC to cut circles seems like overkill, but not to me and I totally understand.


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@mikecmp Thanks much, Mike. I enjoy doing these bowls, but failed at making jigs for the scroll saw to cut accurate rings. I made a good jig for the bandsaw, but of course you had to cut the ring to get the blade on the inside of the circle. The Mill makes it very simple.