As The Lathe Turns #16: Gluing Up Bowl Blanks, And Some More Of My Ramblings

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Blog entry by William posted 03-16-2013 03:08 AM 5946 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: Move Along, Nothing To See Here Part 16 of As The Lathe Turns series Part 17: The First Glueup Results »

First thing today, I wanted to show the thread adapter and live center that someone sent to me. These come from Penn State Industries. The reason I wanted these was that the Ridgid lathe has #1 morse taper, while my larger lathe has #2. On the headstock spindle, the Ridgid has 3/4”x16 threads, while my larger lathe, and most of my accessories, have 1”x8 thread. Someone had these shipped to me. Whoever it was apparantly did not wish for me to know who, but I do thank you, whoever you are, very much. These will be a big help for me.

Now I am able to put my favorite drive center on the Ridgid. I’ll be using this mostly for small spindle turning. So, I can now not have to constantly remove and replace my four jaw chuck on the larger lathe. The chuck will stay there pretty much full time. The reason I love this drive center is that it has the cone shape piece nearer the headstock. On the end of it, you can put any of six different drive centers on it. It has everything one could possiblyl wish for to do almost any project of any size.

One of my older sons visited yesterday and asked if I needed any help in the shop. I really didn’t, but since he seems to like helping me, I needed something to do. To be honest, I think he just like spending time with his old Dad, but is scared he may not seem as “manly” just to say that. So he always comes saying he’s only there to help the old man.
Anyway, I decided to use the time for something easy so we could visit more than work, and removed the old bent shaft lathe from it’s former home. Some of you may remember I had turned this into a buffing station. It was a good idea, but I found it just got in my way a lot. I have found it easier to chuck a buffing pad into my cordless drill and simply buff pieces while they are still on the lathe. That made this unneeded, and I was constantly having to reach over it for other accessories. So, since the spindle shaft was bent on it, and inferior quality made it not worth trying to fix, we disassembled it, saved any usable part, like motor and tool rests and such, and put the rest of the part in my scrap pile where it may be useful for some future adventure.


Ok, since few people are interested in all that, onto something a little more project related.

This is either going to turn out real nice, or a complete waste of time. Either way, I’m sure I’ll learn something. I set out today to make a bowl press. I want the ability to glue up boards for bowls, and also hope to one day try some segmented turning. I started considering my options though. Here are thoughts I’ve had on a bowl press.
1. A two by four frame using all thread and a shop made knob to press a secondary board straight down in the center. I’ve seen these that others have built and they seem to work well for them.
2. The same idea, but using a bottle jack. It seems a little more crude, but I have a good three ton bottle jack that I bought for a one time emergency and would love to find a use for. The jack would definately apply enough pressure. I may even have to be careful no to over pump the handle, and destroy my frame.
3. Simply use the bottle jack idea, but clear a spot on one of the shelves under a table and work it the same way. This would prevent me from having to build a frame, and find a spot to store it.
4. I’ve got a very large, very heavy duty, very unneeded C-clamp. I mean this things is huge. I got it in a bulk deal at a yard sale in a huge box of C-clamps. I thought, since I’ve never been able to imagine a use for such a large clamp, to grind off the end with the threaded part you tighten, and use this for a bowl press.

While drinking my coffee and considering all this, I had a final thought.
I’ve never glued up material for a bowl and don’t even know how well I’m going to be at this. It is after all a new learning experience for me. So how about I glue up a couple and see how it goes before I jump too deeply head first into this. So, since I do have a very large assortment of pipe and bar clamps, I decided I could very well glue up some bowl blanks using those.
All went well except for one thing. I was trying to be generous with the glue without putting too much. Yes, I know from experience, there is a such thing as too much glue. Anyway, I did what I thought was best based on my past experiences, but I have never had the experience of gluing up seven layers as I did on one blank, and it got messy before I had a chance to do much besides get happy about working with glooey fingers.

Here is the one I was talking about. It is seven layers of three quarter inch thick pecan. I could possibly have gotten it done with a little less mess, but I was trying to work quickly. I didn’t want glue setting up before I got it clamped. I considered afterwards that it may have been better to work with one layer at a time. It would have given me time to be more careful. It’ll all be turned down on the lathe though, so it doesn’t matter.
I understand I could have done this several different ways. Since I’m new to this technique though, I decided to use a compass, draw circles, cut them on a band saw, and glue up simple, solid block. This will of course cause more waste than necessary from the hollowing, but I could use the practice anyway.
This particular bowl, if successful, will be going to Doe.

This one was easier because I started with thicker material, and was only three layers. This one is sycamore.
This bowl, if successful, will be going to Grizzman.

That’s all I have for today. I wanted to do more today, but something else got me distracted. It was such a beautiful day, and I felt so good, that I done some spring cleaning. I cleaned up my shop. It needed it bad. I have been too lazy about sweeping sawdust and shavings into piles and leaving them lately. I try to keep a clean shop, but sometimes that sort of stuff just piles up until I’ve allowed it to get worse than I realize. I think it happens to the best of us.
I wound up getting these blanks glued up kind of late today. The glue, Titebond, has a label with instruction (yes, I read those from time to time) that says to let glue cure for twenty four hours. So, to be on the safe side, I think I’m going to leave them clamped until Monday. Then we’ll get to see if this turns out good, or a total failure. There aint but one way to find out!


4 comments so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2698 days

#1 posted 03-16-2013 03:44 AM

Don’t take this personally but….
I keep falling asleep as I read this!
I would say that it has to do with a lack of sleep and not your ramblings!!!
I enjoy your discourse and musings!!!

Yep, I clean up the shop by sweeping everything into piles, until the end of the project (or is that twelve projects)!!!

I can see how those glue ups could get a tad messy!!!
I too would wait an extra day for the glue to cure. Well, until I gain more experience at least!!! Looking forward to seeing these blanks become a “William Original Art Piece”!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2865 days

#2 posted 03-16-2013 04:48 AM

Thanks for reading Randy.
I tried to add pictures so you could understand it.
Marty told me you couldn’t read without pictures.

I hope you’ll get to see these as finished bowls too.
We may see a blown up bowl instead,
But let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

Have you got your lathe set up yet?
I can’t wait to see you get started.
I think you’re gonna enjoy turning as much as I do.


View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3041 days

#3 posted 03-16-2013 05:11 AM

William, I have quit using all kinds of glue except Titebond III which is waterproof. Titebond I & II have given me failures with them holding. A little suggestion, when gluing up stacks, it is a good idea to skew each layer slightly so the grains are not parallel and that will make the wood stronger and less likely to warp later. You do not need a super amount of pressure to clamp the wood. You could squeeze too much glue out by having too much pressure and cause the glue to fail. You seem to be learning in leaps and bounds which is good. The more you turn the more you learn. It took me about a year before I was confident enough with the lathe. In the beginning I was making one bowl/vase every 2-3 days and after 3 1/2 years am down to about half a day or less depending on the size and type of wood. I have turned an 8” salad bowl from a log to finished bowl in 2 hours recently. It takes experience to be able to do that. Good luck.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2865 days

#4 posted 03-16-2013 02:37 PM

Thanks for the info Bearpie. If these fail, I think you just told me why. I put the grain as parrellel as I could. I thought it made more sense bacause of wood movement. Now I know to turn each layer just a tad next time.
I am using Titebond II. I’ve never used Titebond III. I may have to give it a try. I really like Gorilla Wood Glue, which is what I use more than any other kind of wood glue. I chose the Titebond on this because I had read where a lot of people are using it.
I have the same problem I think a lot of people have. I have about eight different kinds of glue, but sometimes am not sure which one to use when learning something new. I learn from experience.
Several people have told me I’m learning fast. I always find it funny because I usually feel I’m falling behind. I have always been a quick learner on anything I do though. Wood is different. With everything I’ve ever done, like mechanic work for example, the conditions were always more of a constant. With wood, the conditions always change, and anytime you think you know exactly what will happen, you’ll get a surprise.


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