attempting first bowl -- think I need help - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 16 Old 10-26-2010, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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attempting first bowl -- think I need help

I decided to try turning a bowl, so I went on eBay and bought a face-plate and a 1/2" bowl gouge (Benjamin's Best). Then made a jig to help get a 'fingernail' grind on the gouge with my grinder, and began to get excited.

I attached a 4" x 4" x 3" block of orange osage to the faceplate with some screws, picked up my roughing gouge, and started the lathe.

The problem is that only two out of four corners are behaving okay, with the gouge slicing across the grain nicely. The other two corners are causing trouble -- the gouge is catching the end grain and tearing long strips off the side of the block.

It seems to be caused by the fact that the grain runs across the wood, not parallel to the length of the lathe bed -- but I've seen bowls where the grain runs across the piece.

What do I have to do to get past this problem? Will it stop happening once I've got the blank approximately round?

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post #2 of 16 Old 10-26-2010, 05:40 PM
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Sounds to me like you are trying to take off too much material at one time. Go easy on the roughing at slower speeds and try a little less aggressive cut.

There is a very fine line between a "hobby" and a "mental illness"
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post #3 of 16 Old 10-26-2010, 06:50 PM
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What do I have to do to get past this problem? Will it stop happening once I've got the blank approximately round?
I always cut off the corners first, get it close to round as possible should help you with that problem. and also agree with Kenbo.

Jeff,

"Just because your not bleeding, don't mean your turning safely"..
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post #4 of 16 Old 10-26-2010, 07:15 PM
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As Jeff says, you really HAVE to cut the corners off first otherwise you have exactly the problem you are having. Your wood orientation is perfectly normal for bowl turning. It's not the ONLY orientation, but it's totally common.

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post #5 of 16 Old 10-26-2010, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by duncsuss View Post
I decided to try turning a bowl, so I went on eBay and bought a face-plate and a 1/2" bowl gouge (Benjamin's Best). Then made a jig to help get a 'fingernail' grind on the gouge with my grinder, and began to get excited.

I attached a 4" x 4" x 3" block of orange osage to the faceplate with some screws, picked up my roughing gouge, and started the lathe.

The problem is that only two out of four corners are behaving okay, with the gouge slicing across the grain nicely. The other two corners are causing trouble -- the gouge is catching the end grain and tearing long strips off the side of the block.

It seems to be caused by the fact that the grain runs across the wood, not parallel to the length of the lathe bed -- but I've seen bowls where the grain runs across the piece.

What do I have to do to get past this problem? Will it stop happening once I've got the blank approximately round?
make sure your tools are sharp also, and make sure you have your rest as close to the wood as possible. slow and steady when you turning a piece round, you shouldn't have the problem once the piece is round.
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post #6 of 16 Old 10-26-2010, 10:44 PM
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Dun,
Go to Bill Grumbine's site and read his article on turning a bowl. It's well written and makes things go alot smoother.
http://www.wonderfulwood.com/articles/roughbowl.html

Mike Hawkins
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post #7 of 16 Old 10-26-2010, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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thanks everyone

Thanks, appreciate all the helpful advice -- I'll start by reading more about what I should be doing before heading off down the wrong path (again)

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post #8 of 16 Old 10-27-2010, 12:27 AM
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Don't go head to head with those hard outside corners. Work from the inside out so to speak. It's hard to explain so I made this little video to demonstrate. It's smaller scale than you piece but it is osage orange.


Tim
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post #9 of 16 Old 10-27-2010, 04:48 AM
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Dun,
Go to Bill Grumbine's site and read his article on turning a bowl. It's well written and makes things go alot smoother.
http://www.wonderfulwood.com/articles/roughbowl.html

Mike Hawkins
Awesome link Mike, thanks much for posting it. It's teaching me a lot!
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post #10 of 16 Old 10-27-2010, 07:54 AM Thread Starter
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Don't go head to head with those hard outside corners. Work from the inside out so to speak. It's hard to explain so I made this little video to demonstrate. It's smaller scale than you piece but it is osage orange.
Thanks -- am I seeing it right? It looks like you start the cut on the end face and slide into the corners ... very sneaky

It also looks like the block you're turning is mounted on some kind of pedestal, not directly attached to the faceplate of the lathe?

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post #11 of 16 Old 10-27-2010, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
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Dun,
Go to Bill Grumbine's site and read his article on turning a bowl. It's well written and makes things go alot smoother.
http://www.wonderfulwood.com/articles/roughbowl.html

Mike Hawkins
Thanks Mike, links to great information -- but so far beyond my current situation I'm not sure I can learn much from it that I can actually use.

I don't have a bandsaw -- is there another way to cut the blank into a cylinder?

Nor do I have a chuck -- my lathe options are a drive spur or a faceplate at the headstock, a deadcenter at the tailstock. (The drive is not threaded or morse taper, it's 5/8ths straight just like the Shopsmith V; the tailstock has resisted my every effort to remove the dead center, doesn't appear to be MT either.)

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post #12 of 16 Old 10-27-2010, 09:59 AM
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Thanks -- am I seeing it right? It looks like you start the cut on the end face and slide into the corners ... very sneaky

It also looks like the block you're turning is mounted on some kind of pedestal, not directly attached to the faceplate of the lathe?

Looks like a 4 jar chuck to me.
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post #13 of 16 Old 10-27-2010, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by duncsuss View Post
Thanks -- am I seeing it right? It looks like you start the cut on the end face and slide into the corners ... very sneaky

It also looks like the block you're turning is mounted on some kind of pedestal, not directly attached to the faceplate of the lathe?
Yea, it's actually just held on with double sided tape. It was a quick way to set it up.

You can cut an octagon if you have a miter saw. That will get you closer to round.

Tim
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post #14 of 16 Old 10-27-2010, 02:40 PM
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I've had that same issue of strip of wood coming off if I don't round the corners. I don't have a band saw, but I've used a jig saw to round the corners off of blanks. Clamp the block down for safety. I've heard of guys using a reciprocating saw to do the same. It probably doesn't help that Osage Orange is really hard when it's dry.
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post #15 of 16 Old 10-28-2010, 02:32 PM
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I always cut off the corners first, get it close to round as possible should help you with that problem. and also agree with Kenbo.
This! I would definitely "round" the blank a fair amount on a bandsaw before starting on the lathe. without a bandsaw you can cut the corners off (as often as you'd like to get closer and closer to round) with a handsaw or a mitersaw.

I hate the thump of the gouge on hard corners when I'm practicing on scraps. I'd especially hate it on a nice pretty piece of wood like orange osage.

Last edited by frankp; 10-28-2010 at 02:36 PM.
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post #16 of 16 Old 11-01-2010, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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much better -- thanks everyone!

I finally got a little time to work on the lathe yesterday evening. Started by spinning up the lathe and using a carpenters pencil to draw a couple of circles around the screw-on faceplate to find the largest diameter circle that fit entirely within the blank.

I tried using a miter saw to make the cut, but the blank was deeper than the blade movement which made it feel like a bad idea. Instead I used my reciprocating saw (holding it vertically) to cut off slices, ended up not a perfect circle but much closer.

Then I started cutting with the bowl gouge, using my interpretation of the technique posted by slatron -- started at the end face and "slid into" the corner gently ... it took a while, but now I have the blank turned down to a circular profile along its entire length

It's not a perfect cylinder -- the diameter wobbles in and out a bit along the length of the blank -- but at least it's round now.

Thanks for all your great help!

Duncan

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