torn end grain - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-17-2009, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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torn end grain

Can anyone help me with a problem on torn end grain on a bowl im turning. No matter how much I sand 2 small parts of the end grain look torn. I have tried everything from card scrapers to 1200 grit paper. It just won't go away
Any Idea's????

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post #2 of 6 Old 09-17-2009, 03:55 PM
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First off, welcome to the forum.
End grain is always a problem when turning a bowl. It is difficult to avoid it all together. You have to visualize the directional changes the grain is making as it spins to fully understand why it tears. Wood always cuts better in one direction than the other. You need to approach it with very sharp tools, taking very small sheer cuts and/or sheer-scrape cuts. Both of these cuts are usually done with a bowl gouge ground with a fingernail profile, with the tool turned so the cutting edge is about 45 degrees in relation to the spinning surface you are cutting. Think of sharpening a pencil with a pocket knife. It cuts a lot easier when you hold your knife blade at 45 degrees to the pencil as you push it. Same thing when turning.
When you go to sand the torn grain, start with a rough grit (80) and sand with light pressure till the torn end grain is gone. Now you will be left with scratches all the way around, but no pits or depressions. Then start up the grit progression, 100, 150, 220, 340, 400. Sand with each finer grit and you will replace the coarser scratches with finer ones each time. By the time you get to 400, it should be pretty smooth. Keep the sandpaper moving across the bowl, don't hold it in one spot. As you move up each grit, it shouldn't take long, providing you did a good job at 80. Whatever you don't get rid of with the roughest grit only stay around with the finer grits. Good luck,
Mike Hawkins
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-17-2009, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Hi mike

Mike, I have been turning for years and never seen this problem, No matter how much I sand with 80 grit paper the rough area will not go away. I have done it with light pressure and removed a 1/4" yet it still looks the same.
What to do..................

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post #4 of 6 Old 09-17-2009, 04:58 PM
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You need to sand in the opposite direction the bowl was turned in. Whats happening is the end grain is tufted up and lays down when sanding in the original turning direction. Reversing or sanding at right angles to the turning direction will make the end grain stand up enough to cut off. This is much more difficult to deal with if your lathe has no reverse like mine so I use a wave sanding disc on a drill to get the worst of it. Even so theres parts you have to do by hand as the disc can't get everywhere.
Another solution I read about is to soak some laquer into it to harden it then sand away till smooth. This kinda limits the finish you will put on the wood though.
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-17-2009, 05:16 PM
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If i have a bad or soft pice that is giving me trouble i use sanding sealer on it. dryes in fast. seams to help.
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-17-2009, 09:39 PM
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Walt If you've sanded away 1/4" and it's still there then you either have a defect in the wood that goes deep, or you have punky wood that is tearing out even with sandpaper. You need to solidify the wood. I use thinned lacquer. put on multiple layers and let it dry. Then try cutting or sanding.
You can also get wood stabilizer from Minwax and use that. Some people use thinned white glue. They soak the whole bowl in it for 24 hours and then let it dry for a few days.
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