As The Lathe Turns #18: Trying Something Different With The Next Glueup

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Blog entry by William posted 03-18-2013 02:24 AM 1562 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 17: The First Glueup Results Part 18 of As The Lathe Turns series Part 19: Why Buy When You Can Make? »

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I glued up two bowl blank. I turned one of them yesterday. It was made of sycamore and it was easy to turn. So I thought I had this thing licked. Then again, today was another day.
The second glueup was of pecan, and it did not turn nearly as easily as the sycamore. I already knew that pecan was a hard wood. I’ve worked with it often on smaller projects, and flat type wood work. This is the first time though for me to turn a piece this size of dry pecan. Something I figure out very quickly, well two things:
1. Sharpen the tools often. This hard of wood dulls them quickly.
2. Take tiny passes. Everytime I started getting too frisky with how much material I was taking, the lathe would bog down. At first, I thought I was having motor issues again. I checked everything and the motor was running fine. This stuff just does not like to be man handled. It likes to be cut slow and easy.

The recipient of this bowl say it is going on a shelf. It is to be inspiration when something new is tried. So in turn, I decided to try something I haven’t done while making it. Sure, I could just turn a bowl. I know I can do that now. What would be the fun in that though?

Someone yesterday was concerned because of a photo I’d posted that maybe I was trying to cut too far over my tool rest. I seen the photo was a little deceiving because I snapped it after working on the rim. So I decided to take a photo today and show the tool rest I use when I am working on the inside of bowls. I have two different sizes of these curved rests. I have a buddy that does blacksmithing work though. I have talked with him about making me a couple more rests. I’d like to have a straight rest that sticks out one way from the post, to the right, for working on straight sides. I’d also like a couple more different sized curned rests because I seem to enjoy doing so many different sized things.
However, the point is, I learned quickly, the hard way, not to work too far over the tool rest. There have been a few times I couldn’t help it. When that happens though, I go to a scraper and take my sweet time, and never use a gouge. The one time I had a gouge catch while way out over the rest, I learned real quickly that I was only along for the ride.
Randy, that’s your lesson for the day. Use the proper tool rest for the job being done. Working too far over the rest can get you hurt, or at least scare the bejeebies out of you.

Now it is confession time.
I was sanding the finished bowl and couldn’t firgure out what that black dot was in the center of the bottom was. It just wouldn’t sand out. I took it off the chuck before I figured out what it was. That “dot”, was a tiny hole. I had cut the bottom to flow at a slight decline towards the center, and at the very center, I went just a tad bit too far. I had cut it till there was a tiny hole. That’s not good.
Luckily, the recipient says the bowl is going on a shelf. To my understanding, this one will not be used in the kitchen. So, where I normally leave a recessed tennon on the bottom of my bowls, I plugged this one to cover that tiny hole.

So, this bowl wound up being seven and a half inches across, and four and three quarters inches tall. It is finished with the same butcher block conditioner that I finished the bowl with yesterday.
Something else you may notice is the pattern. For the glueup, I used some dried pecan that I have. This pecan though is made up of light and dark strips of pecan. I did not glue them that way, but they are the way that I recieved them. When I planed and glued up the disks a few days ago, I turned every other disk to try and scatter the light and dark pieces throughout the piece. I wasn’t sure how that was going to look, but I think it turned out real nice. It turned out nice enough in fact, that my wife already says she wants some cereal bowls with similar patterns.

I will send a private message to the recipient in a moment. Anyone who has kept up with all this and all that’s happened to me recently already knows who it is.
There it is though. Pecan is a beautiful wood to work with. I have several pieces of furniture in my home that I’ve made out of this same pecan, because I like it so much. It is hard though.
I did not realize how easy it is to bog down a three quarter horse motor. With this pecan though, it is quite easy. While working on the outer edges of this bowl, I had to take extremely light passes. I thought it was my motor at first. Then I noticed that, as I worked in closer to the center line, there was no bogging down issues at all. So what I concluded was that, with a hard wood such as pecan, working far from the center, if you try to cut too deeply, the tool digs in and acts like a long fulcrum, giving you leverage against the motor and yes, you can bog down the motor. I have to remember this and learn what I can and can’t do, and with how much force, I can do with different woods.
I hope you all like this bowl because, according to my wife, I’ll be making more of them in the future.


11 comments so far

View boxcarmarty's profile


16299 posts in 2385 days

#1 posted 03-18-2013 02:59 AM

Somebody in Alabama has a new pecan flavored cereal bowl…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View ShaneA's profile


6956 posts in 2624 days

#2 posted 03-18-2013 03:05 AM

Looks like it is coming together nicely for you. Just in a few weeks, I see lots of progress.

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3043 days

#3 posted 03-18-2013 03:37 AM

This is good!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3329 days

#4 posted 03-18-2013 04:18 AM

wow that’s one of your prettiest ones William, hope they also feel honor’d i was telling my sister in law about you today,well we never know what you will be turning next, your on fire William…im enjoying seeing your increase in knowledge and ability…have fun William..

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

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2882 days

#5 posted 03-18-2013 10:11 AM

William that is going great
That mixed random timber looks really great

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3359 days

#6 posted 03-18-2013 10:41 AM

Great looking bowl William. A depth gauge is very handy, along with frequent checks as you turn. A piece of masking tape on your bowl gouge to indicate total depth works well. On wet wood I use a long 1/2” bit held at the end with vise grips to drill a center hole down to final depth, so when the hole disappears you are there. Probably not safe with dry wood.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2868 days

#7 posted 03-18-2013 11:47 AM

Thank you all.
About the hole, I thought I’d explain better based on Stefang’s response.
I have a shop made depth gauge. I actually turned this to leave a three eighths inch thick bottom. That was my plan anyway. I had a bad pass though and wound up with some chatter while cleaning up the bottom. I made a decision to “flow” the bottom from the outer edge to the center in a slight slope. I think this looked good, and all would have been well, except maybe I sloped it just a tad too much. I forgot to account for the depth a slope could cause from the outside all the way to the center of a bowl this size. When working with angles, even slight angles, it doesn’t take far to go quite a bit off your original line. I know this in flat work, but I’m still learning to account for these sort of things on the lathe. This is just another lesson learned the hard way.
To make matters worse, or make me feel worse anyhow, I was using a depth gauge and checking often. There’s a problem with that too though. My depth gauge is shop made with an old ruler. The ruler is about three quarters inch wide. According to it, I still had about three sixteenth of an inch to work with. What I did not consider, again with the slope, is that with the wide rule, the end of my depth gauge was sitting a tad above the actual center line. I hope I’m explaining that one correctly. The corners of the ruler was sitting a tad on each side of the center line, leaving space between the end of the ruler and the exact center. This threw the true center measurement off and caused the problem.
Now, all this could have been prevented on my part.
I commented how hard this pecan is. If I tried working over about three quarters of an inch over the tool rest I got chatter. I normally can work a tad further than that, but this pecan was being picky. Anyway, all went well. Then, near the bottom of this, I was paying close attention to the outward curve from the middle of the sides, to the bottom and then trying to make sure I made a smooth transition from that and then across the bottom. Well, in all this, I forgot something important. I had worked down to where I needed to move my tool rest further in and hadn’t. Then it happened. I was trying to take a very light final pass. That’s when I got the chatter that chewed up the clean bottom I’d been working on, and caused me to have to start working further than I wanted to begine with.

So, I guess the advice I’m trying to give is to check, check and double check. Exspecially when I’m getting close to finishing, I need to remember to make sure everything, like the tool rest, is exactly where I need it. Not to do so can cause issues.


View William's profile


9949 posts in 2868 days

#8 posted 03-18-2013 12:01 PM

Marty, the one I made yesterday is going to Alabama. This one has to make a trip all the way to Canada.

Shane, thank you. I am loving this wood turning. I am making progress. However, the learning is half the fun. Everytime I think I have something perfected, I usually figure out somehow that I am a beginner and still have a long ways to go. Each piece of wood and situation reacts differently to how you present the tool. So it’s just practice, practice, practice.

Bearpie, thank you.

Grizz. Thank you and you are very correct. There’s never any telling what I may be working on next. There’s so much to turn. Also, I’m starting to hear my scroll saw weep a bit when I walk past her sometimes. I have a feeling I have to pay some attention to it soon as well.

Jamie, that mix does look good in my opinion. It’s all pecan, but there is a dramatic contrast between the lighter and darker of the wood. I have a good bit of that wood. I do think I would like to play around with making other things besides bowls with it as well.

Stefang, thank you. Your help is always appreciated.


I feel bad about something this morning. I’ve made these two bowls; one destined for Alabama, and one for Canada. I laid in bed last night thinking about it though. I have so many friends on here that I’d like to make bowls for, not counting the ones my wife wants. The problem is, if I just started turning all the bowls I want to, I am worried I’d get burned out on the lathe pretty quickly. Ya’ll know I like doing different things.
My point is this. These two bowls are just the ones I have promised first, so I’m getting them done first. There are others here though that, one day, I wish to make a gift for. I will get to it all eventually. Anyone who doesn’t get asked for an address immediately, I hope you know it does not mean that I think less of you than anyone else. Between time and shipping charges, I can only do a little at a time that has to be shipped out.
The point being, there are four people on this thread alone that I would like to send something to. However, I can only afford to send the two things out in April. So, I have at least until May starts approaching before I worry about the next items to be shipped. So, several of you need to be ready to send me your addresses in a private message when I ask for them. I’ll send out messages privately when that time comes.


View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2700 days

#9 posted 03-18-2013 12:18 PM

Thanks for the lesson!
You asked earlier, if my lathe is set up. Short answer; NO! It will be a while, before I can fiqure out exactly where it will find a (semi) permanent location. So, I will need to try to remember all these lessons. I’m willing to bet that I will learn maaaaany a lesson all on my own!!!

Keep up the good work.
I’m enjoying (and learning!) as I follow you on your journey….

-- 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 2868 days

#10 posted 03-18-2013 12:57 PM

Sometimes Randy, the lessons learned best are learned the hard way.
I do hope though, above all, you do remember some of the safety pointers.
We’d hate to see anyone get hurt.


View Doe's profile


1403 posts in 2855 days

#11 posted 08-31-2013 11:58 AM

I’m the proud owner of this bowl and have it in our shop as inspiration when I get stuck. If I had problems, I’d just put the thing away for a while (often a very long while). William’s bowl reminds me of what you can do with determination. Now, I’ll think about the problem for a bit and keep going, as long as what I’m doing is as safe as possible.

Here it is in pride of place near my lathe:

Thank you so much William. I hope you’re feeling ok.

-- Mother Nature talks, I try to listen

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