Need Some Advice

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Blog entry by David Murray posted 04-18-2010 03:56 PM 1289 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m going to glue up some 6” x 6” x 5/8” thick pieces to make a blank suitable for turning a bowl. I’m not sure if I should glue them with all the grains going the same direction or if I should rotate each one 90 degrees. My question will this have any affect on the way it will turn on my lathe.(ie. more pron to chipping or splitting). Any thoughts?

-- Dave from "The Sawdust Shed"

6 comments so far

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3107 days

#1 posted 04-18-2010 05:11 PM

Changing grain orientation is not unheard of when turning. I have seen some turnings where they switch grains to experiment with design.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View GeneL's profile


15 posts in 2971 days

#2 posted 04-18-2010 05:15 PM

I would do them all the same way. As I’m sure you’re aware, as the bowl blank turns and grain changes direction there is a tendency to tear out across the end grain. I would think that the grain changing direction on two different pieces in two different ways would make things worse.

Having said that, I have not done this and am interested in your results one way or the other.

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3686 days

#3 posted 04-18-2010 07:52 PM

Personally , I would keep the grain going in the same direction , but that is just my preference unless I wanted to emphasize the fact that it was a glue-up.: )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3016 days

#4 posted 04-18-2010 10:18 PM

I would suggest to do whatever you really want to do then maybe next time you do a glue up switch the grains and experiment. You could get awesome results or it could be a flop, all depending on the wood grains and color pattern. When I was still in school shop I glued up alternating 3/4 squares of birch and walnut then the next layer was rotated 90 degrees and I kept going till it was about 7 inches thick then I turned a double bowl. The large one was about 12 inches then I left a stem going up the middle and turned a smaller bowl on top about 6”. I gave this to my older sister and years later after I was married I went to visit her, she gave it back to me saying “I know you would really like to have this back”. She was right! My purebred Tonkinese cat claimed it as her Throne cause it was sitting on the end table right under a lamp and she would sit in the upper bowl with her tail wrapped around her feet and she would “Lamp Bathe” whenever the lamp was on! I really miss that particular cat! She passed on.

Erwin Jacksonville, Fl

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20482 posts in 3104 days

#5 posted 04-19-2010 03:16 AM

I would go with the grain in the same direction for a bowl. But ,before you make the final decision, glue up some scrap pieces of the same wood alternating the direction and make a little sample to turn to see what it looks like by changing the grain direction. Please report back so we all can learn a thing of two.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View BobG's profile


172 posts in 2960 days

#6 posted 04-19-2010 03:42 PM

As I’m sure you know, when cutting 6” X 6” squares you are going to have end grain twice each revolution. Adding to it by having layered pieces turned 90 degrees won’t effect the turning too much, you are still going to have to be very careful!

Do whatever you can to rough it down before you touch it with a turning tool

THe big thing is “Make sure your tools are REALLY sharp”. (not hollering just emphasizing)

Good luck, I’d love to see the finished piece!


-- BobG, Lowell, Arkansas--------My goal in life is to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am! Make more saw dust!!

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