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Flattening the inside of a box

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Forum topic by xwingace posted 10-03-2016 02:46 AM 473 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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xwingace

217 posts in 2055 days


10-03-2016 02:46 AM

I’ve been turning for years, yet it eludes me how to consistently flatten out the bottom of the box on the inside. Any tips or techniques for this guys? Christmas is coming, I need to make a few…

-- I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was.


9 replies so far

View LeeMills's profile

LeeMills

271 posts in 768 days


#1 posted 10-03-2016 12:57 PM

I use a scraper for the final cleanup. It helps if the end is a few degrees less than 90 so that you can sneak up to the corner without hitting the side (3-4* is plenty). If the angle is too much you may have a problem with the bit hitting the opposite outside corner if the box is very deep. Most all of mine are < 3.5” deep.
Professionals use a much larger (wider) to be able to reach deeper.
I made one with 1/2” HSS.
Here is a link to WTTools, the one I use is the 1/2 X 8” 5% colbalt ($15), the standard HSS is fine but they are out of stock now for the 8” length (IIRC it is about $9). They do have 1/2” HSS but the longest is 6” which only gives you about 4” tool length once installed in a handle.
http://www.wttool.com/index/page/category/category_id/15882/
Of course you do need to make the cut with your body and not your arms/hands.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

700 posts in 854 days


#2 posted 10-03-2016 01:36 PM

What tools are you currently using? I am still a turning novice myself but what I found is that a traditional grind (rather than an Irish grind) on a bowl gouge is required to get a flatter bottom on the inside of a box or bowl, at least with my current abilities. Basically, you have to be able ride the bevel flat along the bottom. If the depth of the bowl is too deep or the box or bowl itself is narrow, that might not be possible with a gouge (at least for me) and I then may have to go with a scraper. I just bought my first carbide tool recently when Rockler had a great price on their brand of carbide tools and it is pretty handy for those situations where I cannot seem to make the bowl gouges work to flatten the bottom.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1887 posts in 1601 days


#3 posted 10-03-2016 03:45 PM

Easiest way to get flat bottom boxes is use forstner bits. Yes, point/tip of forstner bit will leave small dip at the bottom. Even with a square/round scraper or gouge, don’t always get completely flat bottom, and to be honest don’t really worry about it.

-- Bill

View xwingace's profile

xwingace

217 posts in 2055 days


#4 posted 10-04-2016 12:33 AM

Yes Bill, been thinking of grinding the point off a big forstner for just that purpose. Guess I’ll just have to keep practicing!

-- I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

700 posts in 854 days


#5 posted 10-04-2016 05:23 PM

I did a little research to see if someone on YouTube had some tips for getting a flat bottom on a turned box. Mike Peace has some good videos on making turned boxes. Here are a couple of observations (with my 2 cents added) that he made that are relevant to your question.
1) If you use a Forstner bit for hollowing boxes it does not work all that well because you are drilling into end grain. With a large diameter bit that can be pretty tough and you must have a lathe that can go slowly enough that you don’t burn the wood. You can actually hollow more quickly using a gouge because with the gouge cutting from center outward you are cutting side grain which works very quickly.
2) He prefers a slightly rounded bottom on his boxes for a couple of reason. First, they are easier to sand and finish than a flat bottom with square corners. It can be next to impossible to safely sand into the corner, especially on a deep box. Second, from a functionality perspective when the user tries to get something like a ring or a coin out of the bottom with their fingertips, it is much easier to slide it out if the the box has a rounded bottom. If the box has a square corner in the bottom, you pretty much have to dump it to get it out, though that may be appropriate depending upon the proposed use for the box.

Just a couple of thoughts.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1887 posts in 1601 days


#6 posted 10-04-2016 08:38 PM

Here are some different techniques for turning boxes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItA3Kr71OI8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u622vujcVmA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Cm_kv4gzzE

Think one of those videos shows the use of a forstner bit and guess should have said use a smaller size bit, then finish turning with gouge or scrapers. Only issue when drilling on the lathe is clearing chips often regardless of the bit used.

Mike Peace mentions Richard Raffin and learned to turn boxes reading his book and watching his video on same. Back then Richard did not worry about the dimple merely turned with skew, gouge, & scraper. Richard used a gouge to drill the center hole not sure if still does. Normally you won’t have a dimple if use a drill bit to drill to depth. Some how I do using 3/8” or 1/2” drill bit.

When turn bird houses will drill perch & entry hole at the drill press before mounting in my chuck. Then will use forstner bit to drill the center, will clean any mess before reverse turning. I use a piece of wood mounted in my chuck as jam chuck to reverse turning. Normally turn about twelve at a time like this in a couple hours. Small eggs for in inside the bird houses take me little longer.

-- Bill

View bigJohninvegas's profile

bigJohninvegas

216 posts in 928 days


#7 posted 10-05-2016 03:34 AM

Jimmy Clewes has a box scraper he sells just for this. Made by Thompson tools.
http://www.jimmyclewes.com/jimmy-clewes-signature-woodturning-tools/

-- John

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1887 posts in 1601 days


#8 posted 10-05-2016 01:52 PM

Posting these box turning videos to show don’t always need a scraper.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vmz5BKXBGLA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwco9o74-UY

If you have a square scraper already you and want to used it for turning boxes like other videos have shown just take it to the grinder and put a bevel on left side of the tool. Looking at the Clewes & Sorby box scrapers they round the nose a little bit to keep the tool from digging in.

-- Bill

View Underdog's profile

Underdog

907 posts in 1502 days


#9 posted 10-05-2016 02:53 PM

If you want a quick way to put a flat bottom in a box, use a forstner bit, and then turn an insert for the bottom.
Use a dowel and sandpaper to sand the sides smooth.

But I’m with the other folks on this one, make the bottom rounded instead so that it’s easier to get rings and coins out.

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

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