In the photo above, you see yesterday’s results. That was yesterday though. This is a new day. If you read yesterday’s blog entry, and then read this one, you’ll understand the idea behind the title of this one.
Stefang, I want to thank you for pointing me to Bob Hamilton’s videos. They were a huge help. I’ve read and watched a lot of videos, and you are correct, there are so many techniques shown all over the place that it’s hard to know right from wrong. I quickly learned to trust Mr. Hamilton’s advice though from his honesty, and good way of explaining things.
I stayed up late last night, actually much too late, watching Mr. Hamilton’s videos and some of the other people’s videos that he had “liked”. I learned a lot. Some things you can read. You can watch videos. There are things though that you never know you’re doing wrong until someone finds a way for you to learn the proper way. That’s what happened last night. I had one of those eureka moments.
I don’t know if it was Mr. Hamilton, or one of his other “liked” videos, but someone had glued a pencil to the wings above the flute on their gouge. This allowed me to see exactly the cutting position of their tool as they worked. It was like a light went off and I knew exactly what I had done wrong. Well, I knew one of the most major things I’d done wrong anyway.
First things first is, I want to thank every single person who has tried helping me. Bearpie, Kreegan, Stefang, and Jamie Speirs have all been especially helpful to me. Those videos though, that was what made it all come together, for this problem anyway.
I decided that I was going about bowls all wrong. Don’t ask me why I was insisting on doing a bowl by cutting end grain. I guess it just made sense to me at the time, round log, round bowl. I am leaving the end grain behind for now. While I do thing it is a useful skill that I will learn more of dow the road, I feel it is out of my skill range at this point in time.
Before doing so though, I just had to find out if I had learned anything from those videos.
I don’t know how much you can see in this photo, but I went about two inches deep in the end grain. I did so without a single catch. It went smoothly. This wasn’t much, but extremely satisfactory to me. I was not going any deeper. Something else I learned from all the videos I watched last night was that someone finally answered a serious question for me. I learned the difference between a spindle gouge and a bowl gouge besides just the cut and flute, and the dangers of going to deeply using spindle gouge to hollow out a bowl. However, I found some reasonably priced bowl gouges and am going to get me some.
Now, before I go any further, let me explain something. I do not feel very well today. I did not even attempt to make a bowl today. I did just try to learn some techniques based on the videos Stefang recommended to me. I had a doctor appointment this morning. As soon as I made it back to the shop though, I used that same log I was chopping up yesterday and sliced off another piece.
Then I realized something. The blades I have for my bandsaw were not going to be good at all for cutting this wet wood. I’ve tried before with disaserous results. It is amazing how quickly green wood can ruin the wrong blade on a band saw. Additionally, there was no way I was going to ruin that thrity dollar blade presently on there trying to. So, check off one more thing I need to get if I am going to really get into this bowl turning thing very much.
There was also no way I was going to allow those facts to stop me from practicing what I thought I’d learned.
I watched a video a long time ago about, why you never mount wood into a lathe in this orientation. I think that has been part of my hesitation. I decided to go for it though. I felt that I could see how things went and go from there. I wore a face sheild, stayed out of the line of fire of the chunk of wood, and flipped the lathe on. My fears of wood grain running this way quickly disippated. Yes, I resepct it, but I am no longer scared to death of it.
Now, some of you may see this chunk of log, with it’s round bottom, mounted like this with a true beginner messing with it and aske if I am completely nuts.
Well, yes. Yes I am. However, stating the obvious at this point does nothing to help this conversation.
I had no intention of turning this completely into a bowl. As I stated before, this was just an exercise in technique. So I chunked it up on a screw chuck and only turned it enough to get it well balanced. Then I turned it around, exposing the clean side of it, and screwed it back onto the screw chuck again, so I could see what, if anything I had learned.
It may not seem like much to some, but this was a HUGE accomplishment for me. I have struggled for a while to get this far.
No, it does not look great, but I will get there with practice. I wasn’t expecting to all of a sudden be an expert bowl turner. I simply wished to see if I could make a dent into hollowing out this bowl without things getting crazy enough to make me stop again. It was a complete success. I did have a couple of catches on this one when I tried to take too much of a bite at one time. I backed off and took smaller passes though and things went amazingly smoothly.
I feel today like I may still be an idiot, but an idiot that is learning something at least. And if I stick with it and learn enough, maybe one day I can help someone else like others have helped me. Thank you all. I hope you’re still there when I have my next duh moment.
For anyone who may be having trouble with turning, go watch some of Mr. Hamilton’s videos. Stefang, one of our fellow Lumberjocks, recommended them to me, and they were a huge help.
Thank you again Stefang.