I bought a new lathe last month and from past experience I knew that I needed to turn something (possibly of no particular value) to get a feel for the lathe and the new turning tools that I bought with it.
Well, I grew up too needful to waste most anything, so I decided to turn a birdhouse using a green mulhberry log about 12” long and 6” in diameter. I mounted the mulhberry between centers (to true up the general shape) and and proceded to turin a tenon (whcih went pretty well). The basic skills came back pretty quickly but green mulhberry is not an easy wood to turn, especially the hollowing part. I tried to start the hollowing procedure a with 2” spurred forstner bit (not even close to possible), I tried a smaller size (same result; then I just went with a 3/8” steel twist bit (hand held with a pair of vice grips) finally got some result but very slow going.
I could go on for sometime but I think most of you have felt the frustration of feeling around in the dark for something you know is there but you just can’t seem to find it. That is what woodworking can be like sometimes but if you are not willing to try new things, you will only know what you knew yesterday. The mulhberry log will make a wonderful fire in about a year! :)
-- Dan Campbell