After turning a bowl on the lathe, one always has the chore of cleaning up the base – the foot. Over the years I’ve developed this simple, effective method that requires only a short length of 4″ PVC pipe and a few different sizes of rubber balls. I first screw a 5″ disc of birch plywood to a faceplate and true up the circumference. I then turn a 1/2″ deep rabbet on the outer edge to fit the inside diameter of the pipe, glue the two together, and finish the open end of the pipe to a smooth round. Choosing an appropriately sized ball, I mount the bowl between headstock and tailstock as shown. Using a prudent speed and a few light passes with a 1/4″ bowl gouge, I can shape and finish the base of the bowl in minutes.
– Jim Vasi