As The Lathe Turns #17: The First Glueup Results

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Blog entry by William posted 03-17-2013 03:02 AM 1649 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 16: Gluing Up Bowl Blanks, And Some More Of My Ramblings Part 17 of As The Lathe Turns series Part 18: Trying Something Different With The Next Glueup »

Today has been a long day. As a matter fact, I can’t even believe I made it to the shop today. I couldn’t help myself, and will probably be paying for it in the morning, but those blanks I glued up yesterday were on my mind and driving me nuts.
First of all, my wife has been working some crazy hours because her company was short handed. They finally hired someone though. She was able to come home early today. It’s been so crazy lately that I’ve almost felt like a single parent to my boys. We took off for a day away this morning and spent over half a day just enjoying ourselves. You can read about that here if you’d like. It felt so great having my wife home today. As long as the new employee works out alright, Lisa will start having weekends off again. That is the best news I’ve had in a while. I have missed my wife lately.

Anyway, that covers the fist part of the day. After I came home and laid down a while, it is the second part of the day that may be of more interest here.
What I want to talk about now is safety.
I have had a habit, even though I’ve been warned against it, of using rags to dust off and apply finish on my lathe. I knew it was wrong but I kept neglecting to restock paper towels at my shop. I’ve read toilet paper was good too, but I kept neglecting bringing that to try as well.
I’m sure some of you experienced turners already know where this is headed. This is for you beginners like me. Don’t be stupid. It is a wonder I did not lose a finger today when a rough piece of wood grabbed the rag, twirled it around my finger, and snatched it. Luckily, my finger snatched out of the rag just in time before it was pulled around the underside of the spinning stock. All I got was a scare, but it could have been much worse.

I shut down the lathe and fixed this up before doing anything else. From now on, it is a rule written in stone. NO RAGS ARE TO BE ANYWHERE NEAR MY LATHE. I suggest all turners agree to the same rule. I was lucky today. This no rag rule suggestion, I’ve seen it in more than one place today for a reason. To win this game, you still need to be able to count to ten without removeing your shoes.

Now, I started thinking of other potential safety violations I may be committing.

I have developed another habit already that I’m not sure is a good idea. When I’m working on the larger lathe, I have started sticking the tools I’m using under the bed tube of the Ridgid lathe. This has not been a problem so far, but I’m wondering if it is a good idea. It keeps my tools close, but still out of the way, without me having to stick each one back in it’s tool holder each time. How do other turners keep tools close at hand while working on a project? I’m open to suggestions on this one.

Anyway, back to the bowl blank. I started with the sycamore blank. I done it for no particular reason besides it was just the nearest to me when I stepped up to the table where the two blanks were sitting in their clamps.

Everyone says I’m growing as a turner in leaps and bounds. However, I am still a newbie. I mustn’t forget that. I still am not confident enough to start out with solid blanks of this size just swinging out there for support. So I always remember an important lesson I learned a while back. The tail stock is my friend. I keep the tailstock helping to support my work as long as I can. This allows me to take away most of the weight before I have to remove that extra support. I think of it as training wheels. I see plenty of turners online go straight to open work at the end. I’m not quite ready to do that yet. While I’m getting better and seldom have a catch, they do happen to me from time to time. I learned the hard way I don’t like flying bowls.

This is immediately after removing the piece sticking out of the middle that the tailstock was holding. I simply turn it down real thin near the bottom of the bowl. Then I break it off. I turn it thin enough that it breaks very easily across the grain. Then I just take my gouge and start cleaning things up.

He was not the first, but a couple of days ago, Lew told me about burnishing my work with shavings from the turning. I tried that today. I’m glad I did. It really did a good job of polishing things up after moving through to my finest grit of sandpaper.
This wood is sycamore. There is a tiny spot at each side of the bowl that it seems no matter how much I sand, it is just a tad rougher than I would like. I worked with it as much as I had time for today. I may go back later and work on it some more somehow. It will be at least next month before I can ship this out to it’s destination in Alabama, so I have time to think and consider that option.

The recipient of this particular bowl, I hope he can use it for his chili, salsa, oatmeal, and corn flakes. Don’t worry if any of you don’t get the joke. I know he does.
Anyway, I am still learning about finishes for this sort of thing. I was looking in Home Depot a few days ago, just browsing. I came across this butcher block conditioner. I wasn’t sure about it, and had never heard of it. However, since it says on it’s instructions that it’s good for wooden bowls, I decided to give it a try. Remember, I am new to finishing food safe items, but with practice, I think this stuff has the potential to be a real nice finish option.

The finished bowl wound up being a little over seven inches across, and four inches high. I have never met Grizzman in person, but his personality makes me think he may be a hearty eater. I wanted him to be able to get enough in this bowl that he would actually use it, from time to time at least.

So there is is, my first bowl that is actually meant to be sent out to someone to use. It may not be perfect, but I am mighty proud of it and hope that Grizzman is happy with it as I am.
Grizz, it has taken me a while to get there, but I FINALLY have completed you a bowl. Now, I am sorry my friend, but it will be April at the earliest before I can ship it. The kids have this nasty habit of wanting to eat and all you know. I’m afraid you’ll just have to eat corn flakes out of something else until then.


18 comments so far

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2835 days

#1 posted 03-17-2013 03:25 AM

Looking real nice. Ready for Griz’s morning breakfast.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View DIYaholic's profile


19620 posts in 2670 days

#2 posted 03-17-2013 03:30 AM

First off, thanks for the safety tip!!! Safety should be foremost in our minds, whenever we are in the shop. I can understand how a rag is a “BIG NO-NO” at the lathe. I’ve read of and seen pictures of a few rather nasty lathe mishaps (two, with death resulting). Although they were metal lathes, similar results could happen to a wood turner. So again, thanks for the safety tip!!!

Grizz is gonna like emptying that bowl & filling his stomach, utilizing your “FIRST”!!!
Congrats on doing a good turn!!!

-- 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 2838 days

#3 posted 03-17-2013 03:33 AM

Thanks guys.

Dave, you recon it’s big enough? I do have a 12” swing lathe. You think Grizz needs a bigger bowl?

Randy, I forgot to tell you. I know you’re not married, but just in case. I also remove my wedding band at the lathe. No rings or anything else that can catch.


View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 2609 days

#4 posted 03-17-2013 03:40 AM

great looking bowl William .Grizz is going to have to make a big bowl of that choc let oatmeal :) you are getting better and better at this turning

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View DIYaholic's profile


19620 posts in 2670 days

#5 posted 03-17-2013 03:44 AM

Does that mean I should remove my nipple & other “assorted” rings???

-- 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 Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3013 days

#6 posted 03-17-2013 04:07 AM

That bowl looks good! In picture 4 I see the tool rest flat across the bowl. Is that the way you have it to turn way deep inside? If you did it that way, it is quite unsafe. You did right by leaving the stem on for support while hollowing most of the wood out but when you said you knocked it off, I shuddered! I used to do this till one day it broke off wrong and the bowl was firewood. I would ask you not to do that anymore but rather turn it thin, then back the spindle off and turn the stub down instead of breaking it. It will save you grief later. Now back to the tool rest, it is much safer to turn the tool rest inside the bowl thus reducing the overhang of the tool and making it less likely to catch. Just be sure to spin the bowl before turning the lathe on to be sure there are no interferences.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3330 days

#7 posted 03-17-2013 10:27 AM

Great looking bowl William! I hope Grizz doesn’t feel that he has to fill it completely up every time he uses it!

I also like to lay my tools under the ways while working, but I have enclosed my lathe stand with plywood and a shelf inside. I put about 300 lbs. of sand bags onto that internal shelf before covering the front. I use the top to rest my tools on. The weight from the sandbags reduces vibration and keeps the whole thing steady.

! photo 0025.jpg

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2799 days

#8 posted 03-17-2013 12:34 PM

Ice cream, ice cream, ice cream

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2838 days

#9 posted 03-17-2013 12:56 PM

Eddie, thank you.

Bearpie, no I don’t go all the way to the bottom with the tool rest like you see in in that photo. In that photo, I was cleaning around the face and edges. I don’t remember why, but I had to do a tad more work there. Actually, I have two different sizes of those curves tool rests now. When it gets beyond about an inch or so deep, I switch to those for working inside the bowl.
As for knocking the plug off, I have already made the mistake of ruining one bowl like that. I apologize if I didn’t explain that better. About a half inch from the bottom, I’ll use a small gouge and trim away enough material that the plug is only about an eight of an inch thick before snapping it off. I do this when the bottom is still about an inch thick. I break the plug off simply by take two fingers and putting slight sidewards pressure on it. If it doesn’t break easily, I take away even more material with the gouge until it will either break, or it falls away. Then I clean it up.
Thank you for pointing out these two things though. Even though I did happen to know about these, it may help others whoe are still learning as well. As you know, if it is not made clear, some of these mistakes can be learned the hard way, but that’s sometimes dangerous.

Stefang, thank you for your input. I always appreciate it. In the picture of your lathe, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one exactly like it. It looks like a beast. Where could I read more about that particular lathe?
I’m glad I am not the only one who rests their tools in that way. I don’t know that it is a safety hazard exactly. It just may not be the best way. I thought about building a small version of the tool stands I have on my accessorie table over the lathes, just to put tools in when I’m turning. It becomes too much of a hassle going back to the regular stands. They each have twelve to sixteen tools in them and I may only be using two or three for the project at hand. I like to have what I need easily accessible without having to stop and look closely at what I’m reaching for.

Roger, I think Grizz did mention Ice Cream once. He could use it for that too.
Thank you for commenting.


View JL7's profile


8661 posts in 2960 days

#10 posted 03-17-2013 01:25 PM

You’ve come a long ways my friend…....the bowl looks great…...and the safety lesson is key…..I too will now remember….thanks.

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2838 days

#11 posted 03-17-2013 01:34 PM

Thanks Jeff.
Don’t worry about the strange looks you’ll get from wife or family. Take some toilet paper from the house. It could save you from an accident.


View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3299 days

#12 posted 03-17-2013 03:40 PM

holy cow william ive missed all the fun here. we have company for a week and im way behind on my emails, sunday morn came, and i see the PM , i go and see ive been instructed to check out this blog, and first i am sure glad you didnt loose a finger, and i know your darn right smart enough to know better with the rags, and you didnt loose the finger, and man oh man you turned a beautiful bowl, im really happy and proud of you william, you stayed at it and now have success in front of you, and im honored to be the recipient of this fantastic bowl….it makes me thing i should start a list of what and when will go into this bowl….wow, its a beauty…thank you william so much…this will become the new display on my kitchen shelf…:)...

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2838 days

#13 posted 03-18-2013 01:34 AM

I’m glad you like it Grizz.
I should be able to send it soon after the first part of the month.
It will fit in one of those “if it fits it ships” boxes.
That’s another good thing I thought about with turning.
I’ve had requests to ship my scroll work many time.
The size and shape usually make it cost prohibitive for the nicer pieces.
With turning though, if it won’t fit in a cheaply shipped box, just turn it smaller.

By the way, I cleaned up that rough patch I mentioned today.
I think I found the secret to that.
I had to hand sand,
In the opposite direction of what the lathe turns.


View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2685 days

#14 posted 03-18-2013 01:35 AM

William, It looks like there are LOTS of ways for a lathe to hurt ya! I wouldn’t have thought of the rag thing until too late. That sycamore bowl is really nice and I know Grizz will treasure it.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3751 days

#15 posted 03-18-2013 01:44 AM

Glad the burnishing idea worked out for you!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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