Wooden bowls in our kitchen are one of the most used pieces of equipment. And while they’re sturdy and last long, they are not immune to wear and tear.
Over time, repeated use can cause bowls to crack, especially if they’re made of thinner wood.
Wooden bowls can also get cracked or chipped while turning on a lathe. While this is not a common occurrence, it can happen if the bowl is not properly secured while turning.
If you have a cracked wooden bowl, don’t despair! There are several ways to fix it so that it can continue to be used.
In this detailed guide, I will show you how to fix a cracked wooden bowl using three different methods: wood glue, epoxy, and wire.
Each method has its own strengths and weaknesses, so be sure to read through all of the options before deciding which one is right for you.
No matter if there’s a crack appearing in the wall of the bowl or along the bowl’s rim or base, there are a couple of quick solutions for fixing them.
However, do note that they can only be fixed if the crack is not too big. If the crack is more than a few inches long, then it would be best to discard the bowl and get a new one.
So, the first thing you need to do is assess the damage. If the bowl has only some hairline cracks, you may be able to get away with using wood glue.
If the bowl is cracked and chipped, you’ll need to use epoxy. And if the bowl is cracked and broken, you’ll need to use wire. These solutions will, however, tend to leave the bowl with a noticeable repair.
Once you’ve determined which method is best for your bowl, follow the instructions below…
Method 1: Using Wood Glue
Wood glue is the simplest way to fix a cracked wood bowl. You can even use this method to fix ceramic or plastic bowls.
For small hairline cracks that run along the bowl wall, you can use wood glue to fill in the crack and hold the bowl together.
To do this, start by cleaning out the crack with a toothpick or other sharp object. Then, apply wood glue to the crack and use a putty knife or other flat object to spread it evenly.
Allow the glue to dry completely before you use the bowl.
TIP: Cyanoacrylate adhesives (CA glues), or white glues like Gorilla Super Glue, are much stronger than wood glues.
Since they are white or clear, they can be used to fix wood, ceramic, or plastic bowls if you do not want to leave behind the colors on the surface.
Method 2: Using Epoxy to Fix a Cracked Bowl
Epoxy is a stronger adhesive that can be used to fix cracks that are bigger than those that can be fixed with wood glue.
It will also work for cracks that run along the bowl’s rim or base.
To use epoxy, start by mixing together equal parts of the epoxy resin and hardener. Then, use a putty knife or another flat instrument to spread the paste over the fracture.
Allow the epoxy to cure fully before you start using the bowl.
TIP: If you want a clear repair, use a clear epoxy. Otherwise, you can use colored epoxy that will blend in with the wood grain.
Method 3: Using a Metal Ring to Fix a Cracked Bowl
If the crack in your wooden bowl is particularly large, you may need to reinforce it with a metal ring made of wire.
This will help to prevent the crack from getting worse and potentially breaking the bowl completely.
To do this, start by sanding down the area around the crack so that it is smooth. Then, wrap a wire ring around the bowl just above the crack.
Tighten the wire as much as possible so that it is snug against the bowl. You may need to use pliers to do this.
Allow the wire ring to act as a reinforcement until the crack has completely healed.
TIP: If you want to avoid rust, use stainless steel wire. Otherwise, any type of wire will work to fix the split wood on the bowl.
Bonus Method 4: Using a Bowl Liner to Fix a Cracked Bowl
If the crack in your bowl is particularly large or deep, you may need to use a bowl liner to fix it.
Although I don’t recommend this method as a first choice, it can be effective in some cases.
To use a bowl liner, start by tracing the outline of the split bowl onto a piece of paper. Then, use a sharp knife to cut out the tracing.
Next, place the liner onto the inside of the bowl and use a pencil to trace around the edge. Once you have done this, remove the liner and cut out the tracing.
Now, place the liner back into the bowl and use a hot glue gun to glue it in place. Allow the glue to dry completely before using the bowl.
TIP: If you decide to use a bowl liner, make sure that it is made of a durable material that can withstand the heat of hot glue. Otherwise, it may melt and cause further damage to your bowl.
Just in case you want to avoid the hassle of making a bowl liner, you can purchase one online or at a local crafts store.
You can even use a decorative bowl patch or stickers to hide a cracked bowl, especially if the crack in your wood bowl is large or deep. This can be useful if you are using the bowl for decoration rather than functional purposes.
There are several reasons why your wood bowl or other lathe turned objects may crack after turning.
Here are a few of them that you should keep in mind:
1- The wood was not dry enough when it was turned.
One of the most common reasons is that the greenwood you have used was not properly seasoned before it was turned.
If the wood is not properly seasoned, it will contain too much moisture. And as the wood dries out, it will shrink, which can cause it to crack.
2- The bowl was turned too thin and was not strong enough to support its own weight.
Another reason for the cracks is that the wood was turned too thin. Turning the wood too thin will cause it to dry out faster and become more brittle.
This can then cause it to crack under its own weight, especially if it is not properly supported while it was drying.
3- The wood was turned too fast, and the heat caused it to crack.
If the wood is not turned at the proper speed, friction can generate heat. And if the wood is not dry enough, this heat can cause it to expand and crack.
4- There were knots in the wood that caused it to crack as it dried.
Knots are another common cause of cracks in turned wood.
As the wood dries, the knots will expand and contract at a different rate than the rest of the wood. This can cause the wood to crack along the grain.
5- The wood was turned on a lathe that was not properly calibrated.
Lastly, if the lathe is not properly calibrated, it can cause the wood to vibrate. And if the wood is not dry enough, this vibration can cause it to crack.
To prevent cracks when turning wood, it is important to:
- Use properly dried greenwood
- Turn the wood at the proper speed
- Use a properly calibrated lathe
- Avoid turning the wood too thin
- Support the wood properly while it is drying
- Avoid using knots in the wood, and use a bowl liner if necessary
Turning wood can be a great way to create beautiful and unique pieces of art. However, it is important to be aware of the potential risks involved.
One of the most common risks is that the wood may crack after turning.
But as long as you take the proper precautions, you can avoid this problem and create beautifully turned wood bowls and other objects.
Hi, I am Mark Garner a professional carpenter, woodworker, and DIY painter. I live in the small city of Peoria, Arizona as a semi-retired woodworker. I have started this blog with a simple motive to help you with my wood experience in this sector. If you like to know more about what I love doing and how it all got started, you can check more about me here.