Making A Plywood Bowl - Bowl Without A Lathe Challenge #BWALC

Bowl Without A Lathe Challenge Playlist:
And how to draw a perfect hexagon video:
In this video I’ll be making a bowl for the “bowl without a lathe challenge” that I am hosting.
You’ll find a link in the description box below to the playlist featuring all of the video submissions – there are some fantastic entries and some really creative ideas from makers ranging from established and well known YouTubers, to those who are just starting out making videos on YouTube.
For my build, my idea was to use up some offcuts of plywood that I had left over from two projects which were also covered in videos on my channel – the plywood armchair, and these custom desks.  Plywood is not a material that is typically associated with making bowls, for obvious reasons, and that’s kind of what made the idea for this project appealing to me.
I first used sketchup to design what I wanted to make, and the drawing a well as a cut list with full dimensions for this project will be available via my Patreon page if you’re interested in making one.
First I set my tablesaw fence to rip the plywood in to strips.  
I set my mitresaw to cut at a 30 degree angle, and I cut off the end of one of the strips to create a 30 degree angle stop block which you'll see that I use later to make the rest of the cuts.
And with the longer piece, I measured and marked up the length of what would be the top segmented hexagon that will form the shape of the bowl based on the measurements from my drawing.
I then lined up the pencil mark with the blade on the right hand side of the mark which was the waste side of the line to give me the length I wanted. I could then hold the piece in place and position the stop block where I wanted it using a spring clamp to hold it in place.
Then I could make the cut, rorate the workpiece 180 degrees, make the next cut, and so on and so on to give me the 6 pieces needed to form the first hexagon.
The next segmented hexagon layer would need to be cut slightly shorter, so again I marked up based on the measurements from my drawing and cut another 6 pieces to form that hexagon in the same way, and so on until I had all the pieces cut to form each layer for the bowl.
For the lower layers of the bowl the pieces were quite short so I used a stop block to keep my hands a safe distance away from the blade.
I cleaned up the plywood end grain on each segment using the bench top sander to get everything nice and smooth - it was much easier to do this now rather than try to sand it once the hexagons are assembled.
I also gently sanded the sharp corners of each segment to round them over slightly just so that the bowl will feel nicer in the hand once assembled.
I applied glue to the end of the segments to form each hexagon, and positioned them to form the shape.
I'm making multiple bowls at the same time, so here you'll see I'm using some clingfilm so that I can glue up two of the same size hexagons at the same time. The clingfilm will help stop the hexagons sticking to each other.
For the larger hexagons I used a ratchet strap to pull the shapes together and get nice tight glue joints.
And I did the same again to assemble the rest of the smaller hexagons.  There was quite a bit of repitition in this project.
I only have two ratchet straps so I'd use a different method for the rest of the hexagons, so I used some of this jointing tape which I had laying around - usually I'd use masking tape for this but I wanted to find a use for this stuff anyway and it actually worked really well.
Onve glue was applied to the end of each segment I positioned them end to end and then I could roll up the tape to pull the shape together.
And then I could cut off the excess tape and I actually re-used that for the next segmented hexagon,
I made sure that the segments were sitting level with a few taps from a mallet, and then I added some elastic bands to apply even pressure around the hexagon.
After a couple of hours I could start pulling off the elastic bands, tape and ratchet straps and at this point I sanded the faces of each hexagon at 120 grit.  These hexagons wouldn't have been particularly strong because all the glue joints were end grain to end grain, so I had to be a little bit careful with them.
I sanded the face of each hexagon, and also gently softened the sharp corners
But the next phase of the glue up would add a lot of strength to the bowl.
Starting with the biggest hexagon I positioned the next layer on top where I wanted it and once it was all lined up I made some pencil marks to help me see where I needed to apply glue.
I added the glue, positioned the layer on top, and then I could do the same again for the next layer.
I lined up all of the layers by eye, and you can see from this camera angle that it's pretty easy to get everything lined up and positioned centrally.
I then added some weight to the top until the glue set.
Then I could make the bottom hexagon for each bowl, and I set my compass to half the length that I wanted each edge to be using a ruler, and used that to mark up the hexagon shape.  I found a YouTube video that helped me with the method for drawing a perfect hexagon and I'll link to that video in the description box below.
I used the bandsaw to cut out those hexagons.
And then I sanded the edges and softened the corners.
Because I was making multiple bowls at the same time, I could use the first hexagon as a template to mark up the others which I could then cut out and sand in the same way.
And again I marked up where to apply glue, added glue, and then applied weight to fit the bottoms.
I used some wood filler to fill any small but visible imperfections such as small gaps in between the segments, or voids in the end grain of the plywood, and then sanded smooth.
And then I added my maker's mark to the bottom of the bowl.
I blew away any dust with the air blower and then I could 
And then I could apply finish, and I decided to use spray varnish for this to pop the grain and also give a good level of protection from moisture, as I thought that would be best for when the bowls need to be cleaned.  Not that I'd ever recommend submerging these bowls in water to clean them, but wiping them down with a damp soapy cloth and letting them air dry should be absolutely fine.
I gave them three thin coats of the varnish, then I did some handsanding at 400 grit to de-nib and applied a final coat.
So I made four of these bowls and it took me about 6 or 7 hours.
And these are not going to be the most practical bowls in the world, but that's ok because that's not what I was going for - I wanted to make something that looks interesting and sculptural, more of an art piece, I guess...  But it does function well as a bowl, as you'll see in these photos.
I really like how they look.  These bowls are for sale via my Etsy page so if you're interested in checking them out you'll find a link in the description box.
As I mentioned at the start of this video, this is just one of many projects as part of a make a bowl without a lathe challenge - so if you want to see more bowl projects then check out the playlist link in the description box below.