Problem with pecan surface - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-05-2018, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Problem with pecan surface

This is my third (4th?) attempt at a bowl. One of the first three was pecan, and the cut surface didn't show much torn grain at all. Unfortunately, due to multiple "design modifications", it ended rather badly.

This attempt is from the same log, even the same cut of the log, but the surface is horrible. Grain is torn all around except where the cut is on the long grain, and only a short spot at that. I've used this same wood for small projects with good results.

If I'm doing something different, I don't know what it is. I'm using a bowl gouge, which I keep sharp, try to make small cuts, watch the bevel, etc.

I've seen other's project of pecan on the internet, but is there something I'm missing? Or are some pieces of wood just unsuitable?

John
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-05-2018, 06:45 PM
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Sometimes a different cut of wood will not work very well. When that happens about all you can do is use a more pointed tool and make very light cuts. It might also help to increase the speed.
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-05-2018, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Sometimes a different cut of wood will not work very well. When that happens about all you can do is use a more pointed tool and make very light cuts. It might also help to increase the speed.
I will try these tomorrow. It's sort of odd-I've turned it to round, but it's still out of balance, so much I can't increase the speed much. Could that be affecting the surface quality? It makes sense to me that it could.

It may be one to give up on.

Thanks for your reply,

John
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-05-2018, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jspriddy View Post
I will try these tomorrow. It's sort of odd-I've turned it to round, but it's still out of balance, so much I can't increase the speed much. Could that be affecting the surface quality? It makes sense to me that it could.

It may be one to give up on.

Thanks for your reply,

John
John, if you have turned it round and it's still out of balance you must not be holding your chisel in the same spot. In other words, you are cutting the wood all the way around. You should have a skip in cutting then start cutting again until it's round and balanced.

Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-05-2018, 11:58 PM
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I will try these tomorrow. It's sort of odd-I've turned it to round, but it's still out of balance, so much I can't increase the speed much. Could that be affecting the surface quality? It makes sense to me that it could.

It may be one to give up on.

Thanks for your reply,

John
Difficult to say what is going on. It might be like jspriddy described moving the chisel too fast before it completely turns around or it may be a problem with the wood being green. Without being there the best I can suggest is to turn it true with the pointed edge of a skew. It won't make the surface very smooth but it shouldn't give you blow out either. The roughness created by the chisel can be sanded out.
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-06-2018, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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I think I see what you're both saying, but even at 500-600 rpm, wouldn't it be difficult to move the chisel that fast? In other words, wouldn't you really have to jerk it across the surface to do as you describe? Unless I'm completely misreading what you're saying.

It is round, at least to the eye-I checked sides, bottom and top, with the tool rest. I didn't put a dial gauge on it, but for wood...it's as close as it could be. I still have the vibration, but it's getting better as I gradually remove wood.

But the original problem of rough surface: I've tried sheer scraping with the gouge, scraping with two scrapers, all to no avail. Can I use a sanding sealer? Would that help at all? I've attached a picture. I hope you can see how rough it really is.

Thanks to you both for your time and patience,

John
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-08-2018, 10:56 PM
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Not an expert, but I would try some minwax wood hardener on the entire piece to stiffed the grain. Is this piece green? Looks that way, are you doing a shear cut with the flute of the gouge??
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-09-2018, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Not an expert, but I would try some minwax wood hardener on the entire piece to stiffed the grain. Is this piece green? Looks that way, are you doing a shear cut with the flute of the gouge??
No, this is a dry piece. It's been cut well over a year, in my shop for several weeks, and moisture content is about the same as all other wood in the shop (10-13%).

I am doing a shear cut with the gouge. The piece was round, but still out of balance, so I had vibration since my lathe will only run down to about 500-600 rpm. I have since turned it around and started hollowing, and as that progresses, the vibration is getting better, along with the finish of the cut.

When I have finished turning, for better or worse, I'll post back with the results. I'm close to my finished thickness now.

Thanks,
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-10-2018, 10:35 AM
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Your wood looks very punky and I think minwax wood hardener would work I buy it at HD.
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post #10 of 17 Old 07-11-2018, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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Your wood looks very punky and I think minwax wood hardener would work I buy it at HD.
I may try that. I'm now down close to sanding, the hollowing is almost done. I'm going to try some more shear scraping and see. If it doesn't, I'll try the hardener.

Thanks,

John
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post #11 of 17 Old 07-24-2018, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Finally finished it

I finally finished this pecan bowl. It had a lot more figure in the grain than I expected. While it's not perfect, I think it turned out fairly well. It's about 7 1/2" in diameter, probably about all my small lathe will handle.

Fixing the finish problem was just a matter of shear scraping and sanding, but not near as much sanding as I thought.

Thanks to everyone for the help,

John

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post #12 of 17 Old 07-25-2018, 02:01 AM
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Well, John, the bowl turned out nice. I think using a small lathe you don't have to be out of balance much for it to vibrate.

Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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post #13 of 17 Old 07-25-2018, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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Well, John, the bowl turned out nice. I think using a small lathe you don't have to be out of balance much for it to vibrate.
Thank you. You're right about the lathe. It's what's referred to as a "midi-lathe", I think. It's really all I have room for in my small shop. A lot of time is spent with a chainsaw and hatchet preparing the blank, due to lack of room for a decent size band saw.

Thanks again,

John
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post #14 of 17 Old 07-26-2018, 10:01 AM
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Well done. The bowl finished beautifully. Perseverance paid off.
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post #15 of 17 Old 07-26-2018, 05:17 PM
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Very nice bowl. Nice grain and your finish is nice.

I have turned pecan for pen blanks. The only negative is the little pits that won't take dye. They show up as tiny white spots. Tried brushing on the dye and soaking it in a jar of dye. Same result.

A diamond is how coal reacts under pressure.
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post #16 of 17 Old 07-27-2018, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Well done. The bowl finished beautifully. Perseverance paid off.
Thank you. I am quite pleased with it.

John

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post #17 of 17 Old 07-27-2018, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Very nice bowl. Nice grain and your finish is nice.

I have turned pecan for pen blanks. The only negative is the little pits that won't take dye. They show up as tiny white spots. Tried brushing on the dye and soaking it in a jar of dye. Same result.
This bowl had the little pits you refer to. I assumed it was just this particular piece of wood. They really weren't much of a problem, I filled them with the friction shine I was using, let it dry a bit and sanded smooth. Little different with a dye, then?

Thanks for looking,

John
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