I started to try learning how to turn last fall, and after a multitude of catches and flying blocks of wood, as well as other reasons, put turning on hold. Today I'm cutting some of my stockpile of logs into bowl blanks and thought "I need to try again". I grabbed a piece of cherry and cut a 5" dia. x 4' blank leaving the natural edge on. I screwed it onto my face place, checked for balance and proceeded to try to turn it. After a few minutes, the blank pulled off the 1" screws. Fine, so I put it between centers and tried again. After several catches, the drive center looses its grip in the bark side (softer) of the blank despite repeated tightening of the tail stock. OK, so I cut the natural edge off, put it between centers, and try again. I gain a little ground and then I get a big catch, and so on and so on.
The main thing I think I'm doing wrong (besides maybe trying to learn turning) is holding the tool wrong. The 1/2" bowl gouge is sharp, or at least used to be. I even tried my 5/8" Elsworth bowl gouge, that was worse. I've watched a lot of videos, but maybe I'm missing something.
After you recover from laughing your A$$ off, can someone tell me the proper way to hold and present the tool into the wood? You all make it look so easy, I must be an idiot for not being able to do this.