I was going to title this entry, Close To Success. Every time I think of the word close though, I think of my Uncle who used to say, close only counts with horse shoes and hand grenades”.
I’ll get to that unsuccessfuly, but learning, experience in a bit. First, I wanted to share a few thoughts of mine as I go down this turning road.
First, I’ve learned an important lesson lately. I’ve been down a lot the last few weeks. I’m currently going through a particular bad spell. My wife has been having to help me just to get my socks on most of the time the last few days. So walking and standing much has been out of the question. Thanks to that though, I’ve been doing a lot of reading and video watching about turning.
I’ve known this lesson before now, but somehow didn’t realize the significance of it until I tried it. I’ve seen so many people on videos turning bowls simply attached to the headstock in various manners with no support from the tail end. That’s all fine and good, but I have to remember that these guys making these videos have more experience than me. So, the tailstock is my friend.
Lately, when I’m able to practice my bowl turning skills, I’ve been using the tailstock to help support my work piece. This has helped greatly. It keeps the piece from moving off center in case I do get a catch. Also, it allows me to bring the speed up a little more with confidence. I have found that, while I don’t want the bowl blanks spinning at deadly, airplace propeller speeds, turning at the slowest speed also seems to always set me up for catches. A little more towards the middle of the speed range seems to do a better job. The use of the tail stock support helps me achieve this.
Some of you may remember the hard wood piece I turned for the buffing station. I intended to use it like a moving strop. We discussed on one of these earlier blog series if it would work or not. It did, but extremely poorly. I had to leave the tool on it so long and with such force, that it quickly wore away any compound you put on it. Since I haven’t been able to do much lately, I was able to take the time for this easy task and removed the hardwood piece and go with MDF.
I hate working with MDF and have never tried turning any, so I wanted to keep the pieces as perfectly round as possible. So I drill a three eighths hole, the size I needed for the shaft, and made a temporary circle jig for my router. I have a circle jig, but it uses a quarter inch center pin, and I wanted to be sure to have the three eighths hole perfectly centered. That’s why I made a temporary instead of using my regular one.
I happy to report that, useing the circle jig, it took very little effort to true up the setup after mounting it on the shaft, and the MDF works great as a strop.
This is the old bar and bent shaft lathe I turned into the buffing station. I can’t remember if I showed this whole setup last time or not. Anyway, I’ve basically turned this whole area into a buffing station/grinding station/accessory storage area. This whole setup sits just to the end of where my two lathes are. The grinder is just below the buffing station. The two tool holders hold a majority of the turning tools.
Actually, the one on the right holds the basic tools I use for pretty much everything. There are extra Harbor Freight tools on the side of the station that I grab to grind some one time profile I wish to try. The ones in the left tool holder are a cheap set that was given to me. The ones in the right though, the ones in the right are my better quality tools I have bought in smaller sets or seperately to get just what I wanted. Someone told me once that a matching set looks nice, but when you get the proper tools, nothing will match. They were right. A lot of these tools don’t match. All are various lengths. Each has it’s own use and does a good job though.
This is a view from the back of that station. Here I’ve drilled holes to hold other accessorries like extra tools rests, centers, and such. I’ll be having to add more hole as needed, and soon, because I have on order now a couple of S-shaped bowl rests and some better quality centers.
You may notice the bowl sitting towards the left of that last photo. That is the bowl that is the main topic of this entry. I was proud of the progress I was making on that bowl, before it all went to crap.
I was getting near the point of making finishing, shearing cuts on that bowl when the lathe started bogging down. A couple of times it actually came to a complete stop. I thought maybe I was trying to make too deep of cuts. I thought about that though. I was to a point of taking very fine cuts, trying to make a real smooth finish. Besides, even though this is a ten inch bowl, towards the end, when it is actually much lighter than I started with, it shouldn’t be bogging down a three quarter horse motor.
So, my first though, since the only complaint I’ve heard about this lathe when I was researching it, was some people having problems with the Reeve’s Drive system, I thought it was maybe the belt slipping. So I took the cover off to investigate. It was not the belt. Actually, it was also the time when I realized it was the motor for sure, that I also noticed the burned smell coming from the motor.
So, since it was still under warranty, and my son offered to help, it was an aggrevating task of disassembly, making a trip to Jackson, and reasssembly. I’m hoping this was a case of just a bad motor in a batch. This is the first I’ve heard of motor issues with these lathes.
The new one, the one pictured above, seems to be working fine, but back to the story about the bowl.
Here is a better view of the bowl. I was quite happy with it until the lathe started messing up. I know it’s got some crack in it, but I thought it added character. When the motor would bog down, the speed would go way down to stopping, or almost stopping. Everytime this would happen, in addition to my inexperience, I wound up with extremely rough cuts. It seemed that, before I figured out the motor was the culprit, the more I tried to fix the bowl, the worse it got. I should have stopped before going to far, but hindsight…..., well, ya’ll know.
As you can see in this photo, when I kept going, I got a tad too thin on the bottom.
I was going for about a quarter inch thick. However, when you keep taking tiny bites to try and smooth out a messed up piece, those tiny bites start to add up to a bowl that’s well on it’s way to becoming a funnel.
That’s ok though. Do you remember the bowl was sitting on the accessory table in the earlier photo? I’ve been needing something on that table to throw small parts in.
All that being told, I have really been enjoying these adventures in wood turning. As a matter of fact, all my limited shop time lately has been taken up by it to the point that I haven’t done anything else, even scroll work. I now have new problem though.
I am finding that less and less wood that people give me is going in the fire wood pile, and more and more of it is going in the stacks that I think I can get usable turning wood out of. It is starting to become a pile that is getting in my way. As soon as I’m feeling more up to it and can get some help out here, I’ve got to find a better place to put it than behind my work area to the table saws.
Before anyone says it, that huge peice towards the right is not something I plan on trying to put on a lathe. That is what I use to block round pieces on so I can cut them down to size with a chain saw.