Sapele segmented bowl


PRO Member
I haven't made a segmented bowl in a while, been doing other things. The attached is mainly sapele with a walnut base, feature ring of lacewood sandwiched between hard maple, and a mahogany rim. I haven't turned sapele before and soon experienced the potential tearout problem with sapele where the grain is somewhat figured. You must take lite cuts or you will have an ever diminishing wall thickness, perhaps leading to disaster!

I also turned a bowl (sorry no photos - gave it away to the woodworker who gave me the material) made from bamboo flooring planks. That stuff is sure hard and chips easily. It gets even harder when sanded. The heat from sanding seems to create a surface reaction which makes it like turning concrete. Only the sharpest tools will have any chance! However, it finishes very nicely if you make it all the way to the end, which I didn't on my first attempt. That turned into a small platter (the bottom part of the bowl). The rest went elsewhere :(.


  • P1010489.JPG
    223 KB · Views: 20
  • P1010490.JPG
    142.3 KB · Views: 21


Super Moderator
Staff member
Nice bowl.
thanks for the writeup and sharing your bamboo plank experience.

Had a Texas Ebony I removed from our backyard a few years back. Couldn't believe how quickly it dulled my chainsaw. Tried to turn a blank of the texas ebony. Dulled my tools like ironwood does. Gave up and gave the blank to a fellow woodworker.


PRO Member
I don't have anything exotic growing in my backyard :(. I do have a good and very generous woodworking friend who makes acoustic guitars and he has all kinds of exotic wood, a lot purchased up to 20 yrs ago when it didn't cost the earth to buy it. He has a beautiful piece of rosewood 6" x 6" x 4 ft (frets for his guitars) and a large piece of jet black ebony. I dare not think about how much they would cost today, assuming that you could even get it. If I visit him (10 min walk) I rarely come away empty handed. What he calls off-cuts make perfect material for my pen making, which I took up about 9 months ago, and for trim on my bowls (eg. mahogany in this case). His generosity should be rewarded with some woodworking gifts. I plan to make another sapele bowl (similar to this one) and gave it to his wife.