Since I don’t own a 3 or 4 jaw chuck, usually when I turn bowls I need to leave enough material to attach the work piece to the face place with short screws. A while ago I had an hour to kill in my shop, so I decided to try turning a project using only carpet tape to hold the work piece.
First I used the drive center and the live center to round a small peice of cherry and turn as much of the bottom as I could. Since I was going to hollow out the bowl, I didn’t care if the drive center marred the blank, but I did need the center mark it created for later. Then replaced the drive center with a face plate and screwed a thin piece of sacrificial wood to it. This gave me a smooth flat surface with a large area for applying the carpet tape. To center the emerging bowl on the face plate, I put the point of the live center back into the depression on the bowl it previously created and used it to guide the blank squarely onto the face plate. Then after removing the live center, I finished turning the bottom with only the carpet tape holding the bowl in place
To hollow out the bowl, I repeated the mounting process on the other side. With fresh tape, I put the live center into the center mark the drive center created and used the live center to drive the bowl squarely onto the face plate. If I was off by a little, I figured that it would only limit how thin I could turn the sides, but I got the bowl centered pretty well. Then I hollowed out the bowl. Finally I sanded the bowl to 300 grit and wiped on several coats of tung oil over the next few days.
I was surprised at how well the carpet tape held the bowl in place, plus rather than 4 big screw holes and a thick bottom, the bowl only had a small divot to show for its manufacture. In hindsight, I was careful to only remove material by pressing against the face plate and not perpendicular to it. I still think the tape would have held though. I’m going to have to try this method for larger pieces.