Halloween Bowl: Route the Ghost

Tools Required:

Optional Tool(s):

  • A 1” Forstner Bit is suggested. The inside of the bowl/tray can be bored out using just the router. However, it takes longer and contributes to the wear on the router bit.
  • Roundover Bit for routing edges, if desired.

After prepping your Halloween bowl, it’s time to scare out the ghost’s shape!

  1. To begin with, use the 1″ Forstner bit in a drill press to bore out the material inside your pattern. Drill the holes within 3⁄16″ of the pattern. Due to the centering point on the Forstner bit, you will need to set your depth of cut to stop just short of bottom. The final depth of cut and clean-out will be made with the router bit. *Tip: Leave at least ½” of material thickness on the bottom of your Halloween bowl/tray for strength.
  2. After boring out all interior portions of your bowl/tray, move and secure your workpiece to a flat surface. This will prevent movement.
  3. Attach an oversized router base plate to your router which will enlarge the surface area of your router base. The center hole in this oversized base will need to be approximately 2″ (Eagle Plate #415-0502 was used for this application). *Tip: Also, the base plate should be large enough to span the opening inside your pattern. You can use ½” sheet stock but we suggest a 3⁄8″ polycarbonate material which is clear and allows you to see your work piece as you are cutting.
  4. Place the Halloween bowl template back on your work piece. Drill and counter sink at least two screws though the template and into the waste material of your work piece. It’s important that the screw heads do not interfere with the movement of your router base plate as it moves across the template.
  5. Insert the ¾” bit into your router collet. *Tip: Using this bit allowed us to accomplish a unique smaller detail. However, because the diameter of the collet extension is greater than the ¾” diameter bit, you will use the collet extension for this application.
  6. Set the height of the router bit so the top of the bearing riding is flush to the top of the template surface. Once you are comfortable with the height of your first pass, plug your router in. Make sure to adjust the variable speed setting to the lowest level. *Tip: Things such as depth of cut, feed rate, and material type should all be considered to find the proper speed setting for your router.
  7. Connect your router’s dust collection. Starting from the center portion of your work piece where the bit is not in contact with any wood, turn your router on and begin routing in a clockwise rotation to avoid climb cutting. Move toward the edge. Once the bearing of the router bit meets the edge of your template, cut along the perimeter then hollow out any high spots in the center by sweeping across the entire bottom. Make one pass around the edge of the template.
  8. Turn the router off, making sure the bit comes to a complete stop before removing the router. Set the height of the router bit so the bottom of the bearing is riding flush to the bottom of the template surface. Make a second pass around the edge of the template. You can now remove the template. You will proceed to route without a template with the bearing riding against the wood-side wall that you just completed. Route to your desired depth, mainting at least a ½” bottom thickness.
  9. Use a compass to set the desired width of your bowl/tray rim. Trace around the outside edges.
  10. Using a bandsaw or jigsaw, cut along the outside perimeter line. Remember to stay on the outside of the line, sanding will finish the edge.
  11. Finally, sand the edges of your bowl/tray smooth.

And be sure to finalize your Halloween bowl or tray by watching this video!


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