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post #1 of 16 Old 08-25-2011, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Dumb questions about starting shape

How close to round do you start before beginning a turning?

A lot of the stock I have is usually rectangular in shape - not fun to start with. I'll shave it on the bandsaw down to a roughly hexagonal shape but after that it starts to become a real PITA.

Rob

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post #2 of 16 Old 08-25-2011, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
I'll shave it on the bandsaw down to a roughly octagonal shape
That's what I do!
Especially with spindle turning...
Bowl or faceplate turnings I usually shape roughly round on the bandsaw...
Sometimes I achieve near-round shapes, and sometimes not so much.

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Last edited by txpaulie; 08-25-2011 at 01:18 PM.
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post #3 of 16 Old 08-25-2011, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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I tried doing more circular but found that I made it more oval or started making it actually smaller in diameter than I needed. Figured I'd cut my losses at 6 sides.

It does make for a rather jarring start

Rob

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post #4 of 16 Old 08-25-2011, 02:03 PM
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A great tip I learned was to cut cardboard circles in several diameters (choose whatever suits the size bowls you wish to turn). Then use a small screw, attach this to the blank (on the side that you would mount it) and use this as a template for bandsawing. If you're a little off, so what? If you cut it accidently, so what?

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #5 of 16 Old 08-25-2011, 02:07 PM
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I’m assuming you are talking about spindles. Except for a few I seldom have any over 2” diameter and I just start with it square. It takes me longer to try and get it round on a saw than it does on the lathe.
For bowl stock (up to about 9”) I just take off the four corners with a chain saw, for 10” or larger I may try to take off additional amount to make it more round.
The starts are not smooth but they should not be exceedingly jarring either.
In Lyle Jamieson’s video he shows starting a bowl (rectangular form at pith) using only two fingers to hold the tool to the rest and two fingers on the handle. He does change to a normal grip after a few cuts but it shows a proper procedure for starting rough.

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post #6 of 16 Old 08-25-2011, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sawdustfactory
A great tip I learned was to cut cardboard circles in several diameters (choose whatever suits the size bowls you wish to turn). Then use a small screw, attach this to the blank (on the side that you would mount it) and use this as a template for bandsawing. If you're a little off, so what? If you cut it accidently, so what?
Hey, that's a great idea. Thanks!

Now... what if, say, you had a branch that was mostly round, nut not quite... how do you get it to stop wobbling and making the lathe vibrate?? (It sure looks round... but its apparently still not balanced!)
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post #7 of 16 Old 08-25-2011, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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That's not a bad tip actually. The cardboard gives a good visual indicator about where to align with the bandsaw blade. Have to remember this one.

Thanks.

Rob

"Sometimes I lie awake at night and wonder - what have I done wrong. And then a voice says to me, 'This is going to take more than one night.'"
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post #8 of 16 Old 08-25-2011, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwarven1 View Post
Now... what if, say, you had a branch that was mostly round, nut not quite... how do you get it to stop wobbling and making the lathe vibrate?? (It sure looks round... but its apparently still not balanced!)
How are you mounting the piece in the lathe?

If it's between centers (a drive spur in the headstock, live center at the tailstock) then you can just spin the piece by hand to see if it's approximately balanced. If it's off center, loosen the tailstock just enough to reposition it and tighten up again. Test spin and repeat as necessary till it's reasonably balanced.

If you have the piece screwed to a faceplate or mounted on a wood-screw, the options to reposition the live center at the tail are reduced, but you might still be able to move it a bit. Just start the lathe at the slowest possible setting and hope it doesn't walk out the door.

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post #9 of 16 Old 08-25-2011, 04:20 PM
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I cut loads of off center branches and small logs and the easiest thing is just what Dunc said, start at the slowest setting, and take small passes till things start to smooth out. You can also use the tailstock even if the piece is in a chuck, till you get to a point where the wobble is gone. Roughing out stock is just a part of life for turners.

Admittedly though, some of my pieces are still wobbling while I'm sanding them, but then that is a look I'm shooting for.

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post #10 of 16 Old 08-25-2011, 05:04 PM
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I use a plastic center finder, mallet, awl, and sometimes handsaw cut, so prong center fits better. Put on lathe and hit with big or small roughing gouge. Doesn’t take long for things to get round.


I get bowl blanks close with either electric chain or band saw, mount between centers and use a bowl gouge to true it up.

JMHO, knocking off the corners on spindles just busy work.
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post #11 of 16 Old 08-26-2011, 09:06 AM
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It depends on what I'm doing. I turn rectangular bowls out of limb segments and those naturally start out really out of round. something like 4" wide x 10" long. The trick to doing this is to tilt the tool so the bevel will rub but the tool won't cut. You can move back and forth and "find" the log because you can't see it. The you just move the handle out until it starts to cut. Now you've reduced the danger of a catch.
for regular bowls I start at the outside corner using the technique mentioned above. Usually I'm cutting from the foot toward the rim direction. I use a sort of levering motion. I anchor the bowl gouge with my left hand and then move the cut into the wood by moving my right hand. This is a very controlled cut if you move the handle slowly. This way you take off a known amount of wood with each pass so you don't have all that bouncing and kicking of the tool. If you do just slow down your right hand and take smaller bites. As the corner get round I start pushing the gouge around the bowl into the unround area. Each time you make a pass go from the round to the unround. It's really not necessary to start at the outside edge of the bowl and round the whole blank into a cylinder unless you have a lathe that is too light or won't go down slow enough not to dance.
I do prefer to round out blanks on the bandsaw close to round. It just makes it go faster. when I first started all I had was a bowl saw, ax and hatchet. I would get it as close as I could with the bowl saw. Then use a hatchet to get it closer. My lathe was light weight and only slowed down to 500 rpm so I had to dance with the lathe while it ran around the room. somewhere in that melee I bought a draw knife so I could put the bowl on the lathe and then knock of really bad protrusions before I started cutting. Now my tool skills are much better which mean I can start out of round pieces easier, my lathe is heavier, and I have a 14" bandsaw with riser.
A new tool on the market called the Hunter Hercules makes getting a bowl from rough to round much more relaxing. You still have to control the size of the bite but the learning curve is way less than a bowl gouge. Mike has a video on the tools usage but I couldn't find it on his website. I haven't had time to make one yet but will shortly so keep your ears peeled on this forum.

http://www.hunterwoodturningtool.com/products/herc3/
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post #12 of 16 Old 08-26-2011, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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I do appreciate all the responses. I don't have a particularly large lathe, so turning a square or rectangular piece isn't easy. Maybe with a larger lathe it would be easier, but I don't have a need for a larger lathe where I'm at.

Sounds like using a rough guide to cut the piece on the bandsaw is the most sensible approach, and maybe as I get more acquainted with turning I can back that down and let the lathe do the work.

Rob

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-Charley Brown
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post #13 of 16 Old 08-27-2011, 07:25 AM
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Part of the fun turning wood is finding solutions to issues as they come up. Doesn’t matter how come to solution as long as works for you.
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post #14 of 16 Old 08-27-2011, 07:45 AM
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When I'm doing a production kind of bowl I try to get it as near the final shape as I can before ever putting it on the lathe. It just speeds things up, especially the turning. Several years ago I made myself a set of circles out of 1/4" plywood going from 5" to 20". Now all I have to do is center this wood on the blank, screw is down and run it through the bandsaw. On these I may flatten one surface first to make it safer to cut the circles out.
For my one off bowls I mount the wood blank that's still rough between centers. Then I turn a little and look at the wood. I may shift the blank a little as the figure emerges if I think it will make the grain work better on the final bowl, or maybe I want to get rid of some defect or inhance that defect. In this case I evaluate my final shape and shift the centers accordingly. Of course this method is slow and your roughing out an off center piece. That requires a bigger lathe and more technique on your roughing skills to keep from wearing yourself out.
by the way I just noticed your name. I ride a 2007 Kawasaki KLR 650.
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post #15 of 16 Old 08-27-2011, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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Always nice to hear from another KLR rider. Sorry to say I traded it in just a few weeks back for a Triumph Tiger 1050. The KLR was pretty worn out, and wasn't up to the daily commute I have to do. Still, I had a 2007 and it was a nice utility bike.

Rob

"Sometimes I lie awake at night and wonder - what have I done wrong. And then a voice says to me, 'This is going to take more than one night.'"
-Charley Brown
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post #16 of 16 Old 08-27-2011, 12:09 PM
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For faceplate work, mount the faceplate to the blank first. Draw your blank circumference using the outside edges of the faceplate, saw to that line, and you're almost perfectly balanced.

Harrison, at your service!
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