Difficulty of turning by type of wood - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-30-2010, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Difficulty of turning by type of wood

OK I have a 1/2 hp lathe and will want to turn some smaller bowls and other things. I noticed the other thread about whether or not 1/2 hp was to small for bowls and it got me thinking.

Is it easier to turn a bowl from dried or green wood ?

In the same sense where would turning a segmented bowl fit in with dry and wet wood?

I'm thinking that the segmented bowl would be easier then turning a solid block of dry wood because of less mass (at least on my 1/2 hp lathe).

On the green wood I'm not sure. Duh, that's why I'm asking.
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-30-2010, 01:11 PM
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Green wood is MUCH easier to turn than dry wood. Green wood will come off the gouge in large relatively thick curls whereas it comes off of hard dry wood in much smaller strips or even just powder.

Mass is a GOOD thing on a weak lathe because once it gets to turning, the mass of the blank gives angular momentum that enhances the short-term power of the motor and makes it easier to get past catches and makes for a smoother rotation.

I think on segmented, it matters most what species you have, hard or soft. I do both and there's a world of difference.

You can never have too much pepperoni on your pizza or own too many clamps.
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-30-2010, 04:27 PM
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The few times I have turned green wood it was easier to turn than the same type of dry wood.
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-30-2010, 05:26 PM
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don't worry about it. I turned some pretty nice bowls when I had my jet midi, and it was also 1/2hp. Sharp tools are the key. Like the others said, green wood turns easier. A segmented bowl will probably spin up to speed a tad quicker than a solid blank, but it shouldn't make that much difference. I turned my 2' peppermill on the little jet, and that blank weighed about 25#. No problem, worked fine.
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post #5 of 10 Old 12-02-2010, 10:11 PM
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I once turned a 6"dia.spindle on a lathe I made from a couple of 1/2"grinder arbor bearings,a board,and an old clothes dryer motor.
A reground screwdriver served as a turning tool.
I just had to go slow.
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-02-2010, 10:57 PM
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b_sco - where were you last August when I had just purchased a homemade lathe with a wooden bed, dead center tailstock, and a jacobs chuck mounted on the motor shaft for drive? I had lots of fun for a couple of months, then upgraded, but I got some good practice making stuff on that lathe.
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-03-2010, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses.
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-17-2010, 09:35 AM
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Best Species for Turning?

So Green is best, but recommendations for best species?

We are a timber merchant, primarily for the construction trade, but i'd want to offer best advice for wood turning as we keep getting asked and it's not my area of expertise!

Any help much appreciated!


Last edited by shalabam; 12-17-2010 at 09:44 AM.
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-17-2010, 12:29 PM
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Any species is good as long as you have sharp tools. You just can't take as big a bite out of hard woods. Maple, Walnut, and cherry are my favorites but I can't tell you how many different woods and other materials I have turned. Even woods like Osage Orange and Pecan aren't that bad to me. They are just harder but still but clean. Willow is the only wood I've turned that was extremely difficult. Box Elder that has been sitting a while is difficult to cut cleanly, as is any wood that is starting to rot.
1/2hp is fine. I still turn on 2 lathes that are that size. I would rather turn on my 2hp lathe because I can just remove so much more wood quickly but for small projects the ease of moving the tailstock and tool rest is so much easier on the small lathes I can actuallywork faster.
Segmented work is fun and definitely doesn't tax the lathe as much. However green wood is free. You do have to learn to deal with green wood because it will warp and can crack. Get Bill Grumbines video on bowl turning and it will solve a lot of your problems. If your really interested in segmented turning you can't beat Malcolm Tibbets books and videos.
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-25-2010, 08:03 PM
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wet wood is easy and great fun to turn, but never make a segmented piece when it is wet.
it will warp and most likely split, iv lost count on how many of my turnings have split when i turned them wet.
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