Why can't I turn this block of maple?

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Blog entry by Marvin posted 02-06-2010 12:24 AM 816 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I found a bird feeder I want to make which requires a plate like piece top and bottom turned on a lathe.
I have a 2 inch block of maple 8X8. I cut all corners so I have a octagonal shape. It didn’t work; too much gouging and bucking so i rounded it on a band saw. I am still getting the the gouging and tearing. Scary!
What’s going on? I am on my slowest speed to reduce vibration of the machine.

-- Marvin, Vermont, school teacher

6 comments so far

View rustfever's profile


716 posts in 2727 days

#1 posted 02-06-2010 01:01 AM

If the maple is good and dry, that may a portion of the problem. Howerver, get the wood as round and as balanced as possible. Get the gouge ‘scary sharp’. Turn the speed as high as possible without having the lathe jump out the door. Put the gouge to it as soft as possible.

Good Luck

-- Rustfever, Central California

View Hyperhutch's profile


63 posts in 2667 days

#2 posted 02-06-2010 02:04 AM

Well, be careful with not going too high on the speed. You shouldn’t go faster than about 1100 rpms. How are you mounting it? If it’s simply between centers than the bucking may be more problematic than if you use a faceplate or 4 jaw chuck. Also, what tools are you using?


-- I hope the volume of shavings one creates is directly related to the probablility of one's success, cuz if so I've got it made!!

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 3423 days

#3 posted 02-06-2010 02:12 AM

Speed it up and close your eyes!

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2492 days

#4 posted 02-06-2010 03:14 AM

Frankly, I don’t see why you would have a problem with a piece of maple that is 8×8x2 if you are using sharp tools and a reasonably high speed (1100 sounds right). A chuck should be sufficient to hold it, but if that is the problem, use a face plate. If you are worried about screw holes into the wood, use a waste block and attach the face plate to it. Glue the waste block to the maple and you should have no problem.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Hix's profile


161 posts in 2695 days

#5 posted 02-06-2010 05:21 AM

Sharper and lighter cuts, fast but not too fast.

-- ---call me---- Mark

View a1Jim's profile


115166 posts in 2994 days

#6 posted 02-06-2010 06:37 AM

What Hix said.

-- Custom furniture

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