Hi! I’m Kent
Hi, I’m Kent Weakley and I bet you are a lot like me. You probably do a bit of woodworking and at one point, perhaps
But where do you start?
Then it happened…
You began imagining what YOU can make on a lathe. I know, because I did the same thing. Then my imagination started envisioning
That’s how I got started and I’ve had a very fortunate journey that led me to develop the skills needed to turn the wooden bowls I only dreamt possible.
Now, I make the bowls I once thought were impossible! And you can too!
That journey took me some time and effort but it was worth it!
Now, I’ve put together this entire website to share my wood bowl turning journey with YOU, down to the last detail.
As I learned wood bowl turning skills and techniques I realized something.
There was no one place online to find good information about turning wood bowls.
So, I decided to make that place. And now you’re here.
Oh, and if you don’t see something you’re looking for here, send me a comment. I read them all and I will do my best to help you personally!
A little more about me
I’m a dad, a husband, an artist, and I’m addicted. I’m addicted to making wood bowls! Of course, I’m saying this jokingly, but it really is true.
See, since I was a little kid I’ve always loved to work with wood. My dad was a mechanic so we always had tools around, but not too many woodworking tools.
The little town I grew up in had a classic old school hardware store across from the post office. I can still remember the way that store looked and smelled.
They carried basic woodworking tools and, as a kid, I saved my money to buy this or that tool. The thrill of owning an instrument that could help me create something out of wood was exciting.
In my teenage years, I had a friend that enjoyed woodworking too and his family had a small workspace in their basement filled with woodworking tools. Together, we made all kinds of things, but nothing on a lathe.
I’m an artist and a have a bachelors degree in advertising and graphic designer. I love everything visual and I always have had a craving to create three-dimensionally.
However, traditional woodworking projects, as satisfying as they can be, have never left me eager for more. Usually after a project, like building cabinets, I’m pretty much done. If ten years passes before I do another cabinet, I’m ok with that.
When I turned my first bowl, the energy of seeing the shape form so effortlessly was captivating. I still catch myself thinking about the bowl I want to turn next while I’m currently turning a bowl.
When I’m away from home and haven’t turned for a few days, I crave getting back to my lathe. I actually dream about turning bowls.
I’m a bowl turning addict!
Why Do I Love Turning Bowls?
That’s a good question.
I think with each bowl I make, I can remember that first bowl I turned. And as the bowls have dramatically improved since then, I know I’m always learning more and more.
The bowls teach us, if we listen.
Turning a wooden bowl is relaxing and satisfying on a psychological level. I think it can almost be considered a form of meditation.
There’s the magic of making something from salvaged and saved raw material that would otherwise decay or go to waste.
Then there’s the surprise and mystery of what a piece of wood might look like when turned into a bowl or vessel.
And let’s not overlook the compulsive nature of the process, taking enough time but not enough to discourage yet another turning soon, very soon, like right now.
I think I need to go turn a bowl now! No, seriously, I’ll be back in a bit.
A few things you might like to know about me:
- I’m a husband and a father to two amazing young men.
- When others are cleaning after a big storm, I’m searching for downed wood!
- I’m a hands-on, visual learner.
- My superpower is “seeing volumes.” For example, I seem to know if the leftovers will fit in that particular container or not.
- I love America and American History.
- My GPS is named “Lola”.
- I enjoy cooking.
- When I was eight I saved my money and bought my first handsaw and hammer.
- I was raised in a town with fewer than 300 people in Illinois.
- I photograph landscape and travel locations everywhere I go.
- My family and I have traveled to all 48 continental states in our RV.
- I love teaching and sharing skills.
- My first wood turned bowl on the lathe was cherry, then a lot of
- I have endless admiration and respect for people who are passionate about what they do, regardless of career (gourmet chef or garbage collector)
- Painting watercolors is a form of meditation for me.
- I’m a huge Chicago Cubs fan. It’s ok if you are a fan of another ball team, perhaps even the Cardinals. 😉
- I volunteered and photo documented three different Honor Flights to Washington DC that brought over 300 WWII vets to see their WWII Memorial in person.
- Dark Chocolate is an addiction of mine (as well as turning bowls).
- I run and have completed full (6) and half marathons (40) around the United States.
- My main bowl gouge bevel angle is 55° (or pretty close to that).
- I volunteer at our local soup kitchen once a week.
- Airports are one of my favorite places.
- I’m a graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design.
- I love maps!
- My first car was an antique 1961 Plymouth Belvedere.
- I love trees but suffer heavily in the spring from tree pollen.
- My Belvedere was in several episodes of the TV series “Crime Story.”
- Road trips are the best!
- I’ve traveled over 2,000 miles (round trip) just to fill my trunk and back seat with wood for turning.
- I believe in personal responsibility.
- So far, my favorite woods to turn are; pecan, cherry, honey locust, hickory, osage orange, sycamore, magnolia, white oak
My Idea of Turning
Before I started, the idea of turning wood and especially making a bowl had long intrigued me. However, I didn’t initially have enough information to confidently get started.
This is the main reason I’ve created this site, to help anyone interested in or even wondering about turning wood bowls learn more and start their journey. I know how difficult it can be to locate all the right information in one place.
Woodworking has always been a passion of mine, but nothing compares to turning wood bowls on a lathe. I can tell you now, after creating countless bowls, that no other woodworking project(s) come close to the satisfaction of taking a beautiful turned wood bowl off the lathe and rubbing the freshly exposed smooth grain.
The funny thing is, it never gets old. I find many times I’m thinking about what I’ll turn next before I’m even done with the current bowl.
HOW I GOT STARTED TURNING
I was fortunate to find a local chapter of the AAW and a particular Wednesday night group that meets sorta near me. When I say sorta, it’s an hour and fifteen-minute drive one way, and worth every mile.
The turning group is comprised of beginners, masters and everyone in between, some turning, many congregating and socializing. Danny Hoffman, the person who hosts this motley crew at his well-appointed
Through the vast knowledge shared by everyone at these meetings, the endless tools and supplies, and the open attitude of “give it a try”, I was able to quickly excel and learn like a sponge, soaking up knowledge, tips, and techniques.
One thing that I quickly learned is that woodturning is like pregnancies and horses. Everyone has an opinion and most of those people think their opinion is the only way. When I was first learning techniques, I’d hear things like, “this is the only way to do this” or ” always do it like this”.
Later I’d have someone different show me a different way to accomplish the same thing. And many times that person’s suggestion would counter the previous technique. Lol. Because of this, I try to keep an open mind with the information I share on this site.
In my articles I will deliberately use terms like usually, typically, and traditionally to indicate there are other options. There are usually many more than one way to do things and I’ll show you options where appropriate. If you have a different way of solving an issue, please share by leaving a comment.
The main reason for sharing this information is to help you start turning bowls too and excel to become a bowl turning master. Understanding the particulars for any given issue during the bowl making process and building confidence is critical to mastering bowl making.
WOOD BOWL MAKING IS TOO FUN NOT TO SHARE WITH EVERYONE!
The process of learning to turn a wood bowl well is filled with hurdles and obstacles. At times it can be exhausting and overwhelming.
I was blessed to have experienced minds all around me so my negative turning experiences were minimal and plenty of assistance was available to me. I want to provide that
From the moment I learned my first wood bowl turning suggestion, I’ve been obsessively taking notes and cataloging all the best turning tips and techniques.
I remember most of them, but I always love going back through my list and being reminded of so many gems.
I’ve compiled some of the best tips and tricks in this ebook. You can download it right now if you’d like.
After some time and many hundreds of bowls, I was able to look back and see the unique value of my ongoing training and experience.
None of my bowl turning training was formalized in a traditional manner. Instead, consistent and relentless experience and persistence was my main syllabus.
Looking back, I can see all the subtle details and nuances that I gathered along this journey, and they were numerous! Looking forward, I’m always learning and we all need to be open to continued learning.
The graphic designer and communicator in me itches to detail, catalog, and present the layers of my bowl turning journey. This is where you benefit.
I need to fill an overwhelming urge to share all my knowledge about wood bowl turning on this site and share it all with you.
I know the path that is required to go from curiosity to your first bowl, and from your first bowl to your hundredth bowl, and from your hundredth bowl to the truly amazing bowls you dream of making.
It will not happen overnight and it will require work, but I’m here for you the entire way along your path to YOUR wood bowl turning mastery.
This site is for YOU to learn from, engage with and develop your inner bowl turning wickedness.
I only ask two things from you…
1 – Engage with my site. Leave comments for anything that comes to mind. Please share with me and all other readers, any issues or troubles you’re having when turning bowls. I will do my best to help. I need to know what you need help with specifically. That’s what this site is for. I read every comment!
2 – If you like this site and have gained value from it, please share my site with others through word-of-mouth, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, any other social media, your local turning club, etc. Use my advertisers and product links in the Recommended Equipment Guide section. Everything helps! You get the idea.
Help me help you
All of the information in the pages of this site are free to read and learn from at no charge to you. I also have products available in My Shop that help to offset the hundreds of hours of time I spend making and maintaining this site.
I share links to relative products with affiliate agreements. When you use these links, no additional charge occurs for you and you help me out. Thank you!
The knowledge on this site was created to help you start, continue and master wood bowl turning. I’m thrilled you are here and I’m excited to be a part of your bowl turning journey!
Now, what are you waiting for? Let’s go TURN A BOWL!!!