Scroll Saw Eye Bowl

This pattern is for a reasonably complicated segmented eye bowl featuring the Japanese symbol for "beauty".

eye bowl segmentation

The segmentation is of 1/2" (12mm) thick wood in a 5 (or 7) piece glue-up with contrasting stripes which when finished will form 2 (or 4) decorative swags around the bowl.

segmented eye bowl overview

Download the Sketchup Plans

If you don't have sketchup you can right-click the following image and select "save image as..." to download it to your computer - then print it out at 100% to produce a bowl approximately 260mm long, 180mm front to back, and 124mm tall.

segmented scroll saw eye bowl

If you like the Japanese theme a good alternative text you might like to carve in the middle of the bowl is to do with the Japanese "second eye open" story as told through daruma dolls...

second eye open

... the idea being to carve an open eye on the bottom of the bowl (inside it) and a closed eye under it's base, and when the recipient has reached the goal they set for themself (when the bowl was presented or bought) a pupil may be painted in the second eye thus "opening it" to signify the achievement. Note that the eye which signifies achieved status should be on the bottom of the bowl (not inside it) so that your goal status is not immediately revealed to casual viewers.

THE BUILD;

If you want "swags" in the bowl you need to make a segmented glue-up along the lines of the one pictured below - otherwise the bowl can be cut from any piece of suitably thick timber and even sheet goods such as 12mm ply gives excellent results.

scroll saw eye bowl

Whatever type of wood you are making the bowl from I heartily recommend the use of regular wood glue over epoxy as (especially cheap) epoxies have been known to fail unexpectedly due to the vibration induced by the scroll saw.

scroll saw eye bowl

If you're having swags, transfer their locations accurately into the paper pattern so that by cutting the pattern diagonally as shown below you get an opportunity to accurately align the pattern with the glue-up.

scroll saw eye bowl

The finished glue-up ready to cut:-

scroll saw eye bowl

 

Transfer the location of any 2 adjacent rings on the pattern onto the edge of the wood so that you can tilt the table of the scroll saw to the correct angle. Any inacuracy in doing this will result in lots of extra sanding so use a tri-square to transfer the lines across and take your time.scroll saw eye bowl

What you see below is the entire usable part of the glue up which you now need to cut into separate rings.

scroll saw eye bowl

I use a small rotary tool to drill the starting holes for the cut while I hold the piece flat onto the saws table:-

scroll saw eye bowl

Whether you start cutting with the inside ring or the outermost one is a matter of personal preferance:-

scroll saw eye bowl

With all the rings cut out they can now be stacked to give an excellent impression of what the finished bowl will look like:-

scroll saw eye bowl

Take your time over gluing the rings together... I highly recommend you glue them together in pairs and give the glue time to set properly before gluing adjacent pairs together to eventually form the entire bowl minus it's base.

I had a bad breakage on the bowl shown here (caused by an entire epoxy glue joint coming apart) which necessitated using rubber bands in an attempt to close it. DO NOT USE EPOXY OR RUBBER BANDS the stresses involved are simply too great.

scroll saw eye bowl

Had I used the right glue throughout and taken more care alligning the swags I would have got a much nicer glue-up. Hopefully if you heed my advice yours will be considerably better:-

scroll saw eye bowl

This is the point at which many hours of sanding must take place:-

scroll saw eye bowl

The initial sanding can be quite rough, but eventually you will find yourself needing finer and finer grits and more and more delicate control as the bowl gets ever thinner and more fragile.

scroll saw eye bowl

In the photo below the interior has been rough sanded and the outside has been finished to 320 grit and it's time to start the finish sanding on the interior with 240 grit.

scroll saw eye bowl

At last we're down to 320 grit on the interior and the base can be glued on and carefully sanded to match the bowl's profile:-

scroll saw eye bowl

Even a single coat of boiled linseed oil will darken wood significantly and bring out the grain.

scroll saw eye bowl

I finished mine in linseed oil and wax but could just as easly used shellac based products or laquer.

scroll saw eye bowl

If you want to see how I set about converting this bowl into the lovely 2 piece dish and bowl set shown below click here.

Download the Sketchup Plans