For part of the gift I sent through the Secret Santa exchange at work this year, I decided to make a bowl with the Automattic company logo inlaid in the bottom. I’ve never made a bowl or done an inlay before, so this was definitely a wise decision that would not backfire.
I started by using my X-Carve to carve out a deep recess in some walnut to receive the inlay. The plan at this point was to have the inlay visible on both the outside and inside bottoms of the bowl, so I carved it about an inch and a half deep to give me plenty of room for error. (<– Foreshadowing.)
I cut the inlaid pieces out of some maple, since it would have a natural contrast with the dark walnut.
I glued the maple in, flattened the surface, and cut the walnut to a roughly circular blank on the bandsaw.
I mounted the blank on the lathe and carved the outside profile of the bowl. Because I made the blank by gluing two pieces of walnut together (top to bottom), I added three decorative grooves: one on the seam to hide it, and one on either side for good measure. The grain lined up well enough that it’s hard to tell that it’s not one solid piece.
The lathe chuck I was originally going to use would have tightened around the tenon.(In the photo above, the tenon is the protruding portion on the right side that contains the inlay.) Unfortunately, it broke, and the chuck I ended up using (shown below) needed a recess to expand into, so I cut all of the tenon off (and then some). Because of this change, there wasn’t enough of the inlay left to have it visible on both the inside and outside of the bowl.
I hollowed out the inside of the bowl, being careful not to go too deep.
After finishing the bowl with Watco Danish oil, I let it cure, and then I mailed it off to my unsuspecting coworker along with some treats to fill it. If he doesn’t like corporate wooden dishware, I hope he at least likes American candy.