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Discussion Starter #1
I have a piece of spalted sweet gum that is just punky enough to be a pain. It doesn't seem to matter how sharp my gouge is, the end grain looks like this...

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I had a pint of cellulose sanding sealer that I cut with DNA and sopped on the wood.

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I let it sit about 15 minutes an took a light cut with a freshly sharpened tool.

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The result was a huge improvement. Does anyone else have any magic tips to save punky yet beautiful wood?
 

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I had a pint of cellulose sanding sealer that I cut with DNA and sopped on the wood.

I let it sit about 15 minutes an took a light cut with a freshly sharpened tool.

The result was a huge improvement. Does anyone else have any magic tips to save punky yet beautiful wood?
I would have also tried to seal the wood. I normally have Seal-A-Coat on hand.

I also have read other folks have use clear lacquer, a mix of glue diluted with water which may work, but a bit harder on the tool.

Bottom line is we need to strengthen the wood fibres so that we can get a cleaner cut.
 

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Small areas I use CA glue flooded on and hit with accelerator. Larger areas, I use a 1lb cut shellac or brush on lacquer (although these days due to fumes it's all shellac).
 

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Hmm, what I use in those situations is sanding sealer which is basically dewaxed shellac. I brush it on heavy and let set to dry. Results are pretty fair.
BTW- nice piece of wood.
Dave H
 
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I used thinned lacquer. Sometimes takes several coats. That and really sharp tools followed by tool edge presentation and not forcing the cut. Here's a video I did on using the toe of the skew that kind of explains all that.
 

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For smaller areas of tear out, wax (any type) works well too. Sometimes, I find that, rather than using a gouge, a shear scraper can do the job better.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Great video John. I think we all get so caught up "making stuff" that we neglect practicing our skills. I love the skew for certain cuts, but I will be adding your v-cut exercise to my practice regime.
 

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Shear scraping does work sometimes but I find a clean cutting really sharp tool almost always does a better job on tear out than a scraper does. Not always but almost.
My typical regemine when I get bad chip out or tearout on punky woods is to first try a tool with a more acute cutting angle. My typical bowl gouge is ground to about 50 degrees. I have one ground at 40 degrees and then my detail gouges are ground to 35 degrees. If one of those 3 won't do it (sometimes because the angle won't let me rub the bevel where the tear out is). Then I'll try shear cutting with a negative rake scraper.
Most of the time I can change to the 40 degree scraper and apply some paste wax and get a clean cut. If that doesn't work then I go to the thinned lacquer. For really small areas I use thin CA glue. The downside of the lacquer is it tends to clog the sandpaper. I use a file card to clean the sandpaper to get more use out of it. CA works better than lacquer but is many times more expensive so I reserve it for only the really bad areas on bowls that must be saved.
 
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