As The Lathe Turns #24: A Tale Of Two Bowls

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by William posted 03-25-2013 01:58 AM 2470 reads 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 23: People Spoke, So I Listened Part 24 of As The Lathe Turns series Part 25: Woke Up With An Idea »

If you read my blog yesterday, you know I glued up material for two bowls. I got to work on those today.
Here is the first one, with an interesting result.

The bowl is made of glued up layers of pecan and sapelle. That is not the story though.
If you looked at all closely at the photos yesterday and remember them, you may remember the blank was a bit thicker than that.

This is my lesson of the day for my friend, Randy. Never stand in the line of fire when turning anything that you don’t want to potentially hit you. I learned that lesson a while back. So luckily, I seen this piece fly, but did not feel it.
This is also why I try to glue up two bowl blanks at a time if I’m doing these laminated bowls. If I have one failure, I have another to work with. If I have two failures in one day, it’s time to go home and rethink things.
I’m not sure what happened on this one to be honest with you. Times in the past, when something was destroyed, I had an explanation. On this bowl, everything was going great. There was no catches. Everything was balanced perfectly. I running at a comfortable speed and riding the bevel in on each stroke, looking just like a pro. The light of the second layer of pecan had just peaked through, when the top two layer decided it didn’t want to turn anymore. It wanted to fly!
I had just pulled back my tool rest and planned on shutting the lathe down and get ready to switch to my curved rest to get closer to what I was doing. I seen something go almost striaight up into the rafters of the shop, and land, in the garbage can mind you, about twenty five feet away. I shut the lathe down, walked over to the garbage can, and retrieved these two pieces out.
Luckily, thanks to the nifty thin parting tool I made thanks to Captain Eddie Castelin's videos, I sliced off things smoothly and just made it a shorter bowl.

Anyway, a short bowl is quick to turn. So I had enough of the day left to hop right onto the next bow.

This bowl was made of the same material as the first. It was just turned differently for the glue up. Instead of cutting circles on the bandsaw and then gluing it up, I cut planks, glued them together, then turned the whole block sideways and cut it into a circle on the bandsaw.
I like this configuration better. It was my first time turing dry wood in this orientation. The way the grain runs, I was able to cut easily from the rim to center, as you norally would for a bowl, or from center to rim, as you would for an end grain turning. I liked that a lot because I could adapt my cut to whatever I was trying to do at any particular moment. Also, I think it made for a very nice finished look.

In closing today, I wish to make a discaimer.
In my “lesson of the day” points I make in some of these blog entries, please I hope noone takes these as me knowing what I am doing. I am a beginner. I am still learning this as I go along. If you want good advice, there are millions of turners who have been doing it for decades longer than I.
I only do the “lesson of the day” bits as a running joke towards a good friend of mine, Randy. I do this because Randy is the only beginning turner; wait, Randy is a future beginning turner. Randy is the only future beginning turner I know personally who may just know a little less than me about the subject.

Hello Randy. Remember today’s lesson. Stay out of the line of fire of spinning bowls.


11 comments so far

View boxcarmarty's profile


16356 posts in 2410 days

#1 posted 03-25-2013 02:39 AM

Whizzz… bing… ker-plunk…..

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

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3068 days

#2 posted 03-25-2013 02:53 AM

I’ve had this happen a few times but luckily I’m still unscathed except for my pride! I turned a bowl once and a piece flew off. I looked for the piece everywhere, even cleaned the shop thoroughly and the piece is still missing! I’m still keeping an eye out for it. Good advice to stay out of line of fire.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2725 days

#3 posted 03-25-2013 03:03 AM

This is great, I learn by looking over your shoulder (figuratively, of course) and am still at a safe distance!!!

-- 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


9950 posts in 2892 days

#4 posted 03-25-2013 03:22 AM

Yea Marty, I’m good. I hit the garbage can with it. The lathe has a mind of it’s own. Too bad it forgot the heater. broken wood goes in the wood pile, not the garbage can.

Bearpie, I’ve been hit twice now and that was enough for me to learn my lesson. I know I should have learned the first time, but I have a saying; I’ll try anything once, twice if it doesn’t hurt too bad.
And if you ever find that piece, let me know. I have a looooooong list of things that are lost in my shop that I need help finding.

Randy, randy, randy. Do you ever learn? There’s never a “safe” distance from me.
I actually seen my son walk over to watch me work on something once with a face sheild on. Under the face shield was a catcher’s mask. He stated, matter of factly, better to be safe than sorry.


View Mip's profile


453 posts in 2128 days

#5 posted 03-25-2013 03:37 AM

Glad to know you weren’t hurt with these bowls. They still turned out nice. I had a bowl hit me square in the temple and knocked me back a couple of feet. Dropped the chisel and everything. That was awhile back and I have learned some since then.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2906 days

#6 posted 03-25-2013 09:21 AM

William that is why I have a wood burning stove, zero rejects.
As long as your ok all is ok.
Your doing great though.

-- 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 William's profile


9950 posts in 2892 days

#7 posted 03-25-2013 10:26 AM

Mip. I had a cedar bowl slap me right in the middle of the forehead. It was one of the first bowls I ever tried turning. Luckily I have a hard head and it done no permanent damage besides the crack it put in the bowl. Then, after a pecan, a heavy pecan, bowl flew off and hit me, I learned to stay out of the line of fire. If I have to get in line with the spinning bowl for some detail work or something, I now save it at least until I have taken all the weight I possible can off of it.

Jamie, I am fine. It was interesting actually. As I just told Mip, this is the third bowl, or large bowl piece, I’ve had to throw. It is the first time though that it was directly in my line of sight as I was looking. Therefore, I had a great view of the flight path as it came off. It really made me appreciate the power of inertia as we spin wood at high speed.
That whole ring left off, spun for a split second as the last few fibers tore, went upwards at about a eighty degree angle to the floor, through the rafters (open rafter designed shop), followed the arc of the roofline, slapped off the rafter coming in a dowward spiral and broke in two, and then both pieces, since they lost their momentum when they hit the rafter, fell straight down unto the garbage can.
I retrieved it, not just for photos, but for the wood heater. I keep all scraps, rejects, mistakes, and mishaps. Besides the wood stove for heating the shop, we also do a lot of weiner and marshmellow roasts during the summer month. I let no wood go to waste. If it can’t be used for a project, it can be used for warmth and cooking.


View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2854 days

#8 posted 03-26-2013 01:17 AM

Oh, I could fill that one with some good choc-chip ice cream

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

View William's profile


9950 posts in 2892 days

#9 posted 03-26-2013 01:23 AM

Sorry Roger.
I think these two are going to my Mom’s.
I’m glad you seem to like them though. Thank you.


View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2740 days

#10 posted 03-26-2013 01:38 AM

William, The bowls turned out very nice BUT I don’t need any more convincing; I do not want a lathe! I’d kill myslf for sure. At least the pen turning looks safer!

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

View William's profile


9950 posts in 2892 days

#11 posted 03-26-2013 01:49 AM

It isn’t any more dangerous than farm animals Andy, and I think you work with them. You just stay out of the path where things may fly out and hit you. You know, like not behind a horse.
Don’t ask me how I know that one too. Why does a horse always seem to aim for the groin?


Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics