Giant turned spruce wood bowl measures 13 feet wide
October 14, 2016 | 3:27 pm UTC
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Some woodturning enthusiasts in Austria took the philosophy of "go big or go home" to extremes. They decided to turn a giant spruce wood bowl measuring more than 13 feet in diameter and more than 3 feet deep.

Of course, the first challenge faced by Peter Andres and Werner Rumplmayr of Gurtis, Austria, was finding a woodturning lathe to spin such a massive piece. Their solution was to use a tractor mounted on a stacked wood crib platform. Then they removed a tire and wheel to mount their turning blank directly to the tractor drive hub.

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Another challenge was creating the turning blank itself. Using a technique known as segmented turning. They created a blank by gluing together 486 segments of spruce in a bricklaid pattern using special glue. The gluing process alone took 430 hours.

Then they had to mount a metal ring on the back of the turning blank so it could be mounted to the tractor hub. The mounting itself required a special framework and a forklift to move the giant blank.

When it came to the actual turning, they did everything with handheld gouges on heavy-duty metal tool rests. By the time they were done (20 hours later across three days) they had created more than 650 pounds of wood shavings.

In the U.S. the largest turned bowl reported so far is for a 5 foot version produced in Alaska

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William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editor of FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.