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I am new to this forum and to turning in general. I have only turned a handful of pens and the only ones I have gotten to come out with a decent finish are very tight grained woods like cocobolo. I am wondering what I am doing wrong (or not doing) on the more open/coarse grain woods that is leaving me with a poor finish. I am sanding to 600 and then 0000 steel wool before applying 5 or 6 coats of thin CA and I can still see the pores and voids very clearly. One other question, how do you fill in natural voids (small bug holes etc.) encountered while turning your blank. Thanks guys.

Cade
 

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Start by making sure your tools are very sharp. I don't use CA for a finish because I can't stand the fumes. I use Shellawax (or a locally made shellac/walnut oil/carnuba wax finish that gives a better sheen and finish than Shellawax). On some porous woods, you may always see the pores, but don't quoate me on that one. As for filling small voids, collect some of the sanding dust. Put some slower setting CA in the void, fill in with the dust/fine shavings and then put some thin CA on top. Hit with some accelerator if you have it. Then turn or sand to prep for finish. Post some photos of the porous pens you're describing, that may help identify the problem.
 

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Just like previously posted sharp tools a must. I start sanding with 320 or 400 -grit paper on wood pens. That is not always true on my other turnings.

Filling small bug holes with coffee grounds, ground stone dust, metal shavings and dab of CA glue. Not sure what you mean by voids.

What are you calling open and coarse grain wood?

Here is a picture of spalted red Oak Sierra, Oak is considered an open grain wood. Spalted wood can be very porous also prone to chipping, sawdust and CA glue work wonders. This blank cut on a bias to give different look. Sanding sealer & finish enhance figure and rays in wood. If knew how to take a decent picture would see a glossy finish on this pen.
 

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When I make a pen with voids I use coffee grounds and thin CA. Fill the void first and add the CA. Hit it with a little aceleorator and sand. I have used the shavings that came from making the pen when it is a big hole and a little CA. That works great too.
 

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Having same problem

Hey guys. I am having the same problem with the bowls I make. I understand what your going through Cculbreth. I have been on a walnut bowl spree and every piece I make, no matter how sharp a tool, I still get pores on the end grain. I have been using my wolverine sharpening jig to get a good edge on my bowl gouge but it doesn't seem to be enough. Even went to the round nosed scraper for fine tuning and it still looks "rough" At least not good enough to give someone else by my standards. I will post some pics soon. Should I use CA glue as well for my bowls?

Thanks for the help in advance.

Wannabewoodworker
 

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Hey guys. I am having the same problem with the bowls I make. I understand what your going through Cculbreth. I have been on a walnut bowl spree and every piece I make, no matter how sharp a tool, I still get pores on the end grain. I have been using my wolverine sharpening jig to get a good edge on my bowl gouge but it doesn't seem to be enough. Even went to the round nosed scraper for fine tuning and it still looks "rough" At least not good enough to give someone else by my standards. I will post some pics soon. Should I use CA glue as well for my bowls?

Thanks for the help in advance.

Wannabewoodworker
sand it away.
 

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no tenon ? i would take w/e finish your using dump it in the holes for a few days good thick layers get some shallac and shove it into the area till its smooth then sand it away till smooth then finish again.
 

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Some people have told me it is the wood. Walnut is very porous and it would take an immense amount of sanding to make it go away.
Some woods are more problematic on end grain than others, but some of it is technique too. With your bowl scraper, are you cutting from edge to center or center to edge? What angle do you grind your tool to? Are you keeping good bevel contact with your cuts? Are you pushing in on the tool? When scraping, do you have a good burr on your tool and is it below center when scraping? All these things can affect how the wood cuts. Also, if you're putting too much pressure on the sandpaper, it will heat the wood making it harder. I like to use a coat of shellac sanding sealer (or a 1/2# cut of shellac) after I sand with 100 or 150 grit. This will raise the grain slightly and make sanding at the successive grits easier. Good luck.
 

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Back when the earth was warm, and I started my avocation with the lathe, my shop teacher had us do almost everything with a scraper.....It is a good tool to bury in your toolbox. From what I see, the defects on your turning are caused by a scraper....It's normal when you start out turning. Trial and error teach you to use a bowl gouge or the skew to get involved withturning both the inside and outside of the bowl. Believe it or ot, you can rough out a bowl or platter with the skew point. Backtracking, I like to use a carbide scraper on a large turning to bring the bowl/ platter into some sence of normalcy.

Long story short, don't use a scraper. I teach woodturning in the Tulsa area if anyone is interested. My specialties are the skew, the cut-off tool for hollowing, and many other tool issues. I see more people with fear yes fear of the skew. The skew comprises about 65% of my wood turning
Questions???? [email protected]

Email me with your phone number and I will call you pronto
 

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You are right okibugg. I did use a scraper for the fine tuning. That is what I have read in books. Is that incorrect? My bowl gouge has a fingernail grind and I do mostly pulling cuts. This is my first lathe and I just got it in February. I do see myself progressing but this roughness has been an issue lately. I am really attracted to bowl making. I don't think I have turned between center for over a month. One quick question. How safe is it to use a skew on face turning. I have only used it make a tenon for the bowls. I would be scared to use it on the end grain. I have found that out the hard way. Thanks for your input.
 

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I don't know of anybody that uses a skew for inside bowls and would advise any newbie strongly against it. The reason you're getting the tearout on the inner edge of the bowl is your pull cut. You're going the wrong direction in relation to the grain of the wood, raising/pulling up the fibers as you cut. With a 50 degree grind on a bowl gouge, you should be able to ride the bevel all the way around from the rim to the center of a bowl that size, just takes practice.
 

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Scrappers are good tools if used correctly. Some very famous turners would be lost without them. Many people fail to realize there is a learning curve to use scrappers correctly. Scrappers must be sharp, tool rest at the correct height, lathe speed adequate for the task, and light tough. If you do not hold the scrapper and move with the cut you will always get more torn end grain then with a gouge.


There are different techniques for side and end grain turning with scrappers. Practice is the only way to learn to use scrappers correctly.

I will sharpen my gouge or switch gouges before grabbing a scrapper for inside a bowl. I keep lathe speed up but slow down my cutting taking very light cuts to keep out of trouble. As bowl gets thinner, I concentrate more on tool control.
 
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