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First bowl: Many questions!

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Forum topic by dpoisson posted 525 days ago 1004 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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dpoisson

171 posts in 1512 days


525 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: turning question bowl

Alrighty! So I received my barracuda2 last week and I’ve been playing with it a bit.

After drilling out a blank (oh my GOD, a centered hole!! I’m so extatic), I figured I’d try a bowl.

I mounted a 6”’ish x 6”’ish x 2” thick blank by drilling a pilot hole for the woodscrew.

I then turned the blank round. First question: How long does it take you guys to go from square to round? It took me forever…Although I must admit, I tried once before to do a bowl (with no success) and I had catches every 5 seconds with the bowl gouge. So I took my time for this bowl. It must of taken me more than an hour to round the blank.

I made a 2 1/4” recess about 3/8” deep for when I reverse the blank. I trued up the bottom of the blank with a 3/4” square scraper and I had some catches. What the… scrappers can catch?! hehe. Maybe I was a bit too agressive with them. I went with a lighter touch and it seemed better. What height do you put your tool rest when scrapping?

I shaped the outside of the bowl. I am now seeing a crack. It’s about 2” long. Esthetically, I don’t mind the crack. It looks kinda cool. I’m just worried the bowl might explode when I try to hollow out the interior of the bowl.

Finally, I’m wondering if I should finish the outside of the bowl before I flip it over to do the interior? My little pinky tells me I should, since I don’t have those huge jaws that can hold a bowl with the outside sticking out.

Thanks!

-- http://picasaweb.google.ca/dpoisson


16 replies so far

View Kreegan's profile

Kreegan

1452 posts in 744 days


#1 posted 525 days ago

I try to round the blank as much as possible on the bandsaw before turning. Way way easier than trying to round a square blank. You also get less chipping and tearing like you do trying to round a square block. If you don’t have a bandsaw, use a table saw or miter saw or handsaw to at least get the blank to an octagonal shape. Once you have that, getting it round shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

Scrapers can catch, usually if you push them in too hard or have them at the wrong angle. When using a scraper, I have the tool rest slightly below center and angle the scraper down a few degrees. You want the burr on the scraper to be what’s cutting the wood, and that’s on the top of the scraper.

You will most likely want to fill that crack with some CA. If not, you run a real risk of the bowl exploding on you, particularly if you turn the wall thin. If you leave it, take very light passes when you’re on that part of the bowl and make sure to stand out of the line of fire.

You will want to finish the outside of the bowl before chucking it up at the bottom, at least the bottom part of the bowl that will be hard to get to on the chuck. Depending on what kind of chuck you have, you can make your own Cole jaws. There’s also a Longworth chuck. A few of them are in the projects section here.

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dpoisson

171 posts in 1512 days


#2 posted 525 days ago

Kreegan, would filling up the crack with medium CA be good or would I want to use thin CA to make sure the glue reaches inside the crack as much as possible?

I’ll have to double check the angle I put on the scrapper. I just grinded the edge up yesterday as a matter of fact. What angle am-I looking for: 70-80 degrees?

I already thought about a jig I could do for my miter saw to round up a bit the blank before mounting it, but I haven’t had a chance to build it yet. I guess I’ll have to get on it before I turn my next bowl!

-- http://picasaweb.google.ca/dpoisson

View John Voloudakis's profile

John Voloudakis

12 posts in 535 days


#3 posted 525 days ago

Hi,

Here are my thoughts. Note that there is no ‘right’ way to do this – just my $.02

On your first question, it sounds like you put a square chunk of wood on the lathe. That makes it a bit harder to shape – I’d normally cut a rough circle on the bandsaw or with a chainsaw first – but isn’t a big deal. You just need to be aware that when you are taking off the corners that you are mostly cutting air, so you don’t want to advance too aggressively. That said, my rough shaping of the outside of a blank, starting roundish, only takes a few minutes. Make sure your gouge is sharp and take a look at some videos to see proper presentation of the tool to the wood for a roughing cut. With a long grind bowl gouge, I’d use a pull cut, cutting with the wing at a 45 degree angle to the wood, and with the tool held almost horizontal to the floor. This is an aggressive cut that will take off a lot of wood, but leave you a rough surface that you need to clean up later.

On your 2nd question, if you are using a scraper, put your tool slightly above center, and angle it downward a bit. That way, if it does catch, the rotation of the piece pulls it down and away from the wood, and there is little damage. No real reason to use a scraper there. If you want to true the bottom at this stage, just use your gouge. Another note, I hate using a recess. I’ll generally grip from a tenon. In my experience, this gives a stronger grip, and makes it less likely that I’ll go through the bottom of the bowl when hollowing, as it is sometimes tough to gauge how deep the recess is from the other side. That’s just my preference. A recess certainly can work.

A small crack is probably nothing to worry about. If you want to keep it from expanding, put some thin CA into it before you start hollowing, and give it a few minutes to dry before spinning the lathe back up. You probably want to take a light cut over the outside after you do that to take the glue off the surface and avoid discoloration when you finish. Since you know there is a crack, be careful when you hollow. Turn off the lathe as you get closer to the finished thickness and check to see if the crack goes all the way through the bowl. If it doesn’t, don’t worry about it. If it does, again fill it with CA glue from the other side. If it is wide, you can fill it with something 1st – sawdust, coffee grounds, etc.

In terms of finishing the outside first, are you planning to turn this completely in one pass? If you are using dry wood, that’s fine, and yes, I would shape and sand the outside before you reverse it. If it’s green wood, you can finish it all at once, but it will warp and possibly crack as it dries. You might want to rough turn it, dry it, and come back and finish it later. Note that you don’t need anything fancy to come back and turn the bottom and outside after hollowing. When you are ready, put something over your chuck jaws (a washcloth, a scrap of leather or foam, etc) to keep it from marring the work. Reverse the bowl over the jaws, and bring the tailstock up to hold it in place. If you make a mark on the bottom with the tailstock before you reverse to hollow, you can reposition the tailstock to the same point and pretty easily recenter the bowl. Now you can shape the bottom, remove the chuck marks, and do any additional tuning of the outside you want.

Hope that is helpful. Good luck with the bowl,

-John

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dpoisson

171 posts in 1512 days


#4 posted 525 days ago

@both: Unfortunately, no bandsaw as of yet. That’s why I was thinking of making a jig for my miter saw. Unfortunately, the miter saw is in the shed and I won’t be putting my snowshoes anytime soon to get to the shed. It’ll have to wait for spring/summer.

The bowl I’m turning is dried walnut bought from a lumber store (from their cut off bin: 2$ bowl blank is pretty neat!). I was thinking of simply finishing it with danish oil and minwax floor wax (that’s pretty much the only finishing products I have on hand).

-- http://picasaweb.google.ca/dpoisson

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dpoisson

171 posts in 1512 days


#5 posted 524 days ago

Well, I tried the scrapper again last night when I got home and I went with a lighter touch and it seemed fine. I think I was just being too agressive.

I also filled the cracks (there was another one, albeit much smaller) with some sawdust and CA. It looks pretty good now.

I gave it a good coat of danish oil. I’ll give it another coat on sunday and then we’ll flip that baby up and attempt the inside ;-)

I already have an order from the wifey to do a bunch of salad bowls lol. That didn’t take long!

-- http://picasaweb.google.ca/dpoisson

View DLawson's profile

DLawson

7 posts in 755 days


#6 posted 524 days ago

I’m a long-term beginner. My turning has largely been using tree-trimmer wood, and I don’t have a bandsaw. So I fully understand the first question.

Going from square to round can take some time to get the hang of, but after that it is speedy.

Going from poorly chainsawn hunk of wood to round can be an adventure, and a time consuming one. Sometimes the roughing gouge seems to work best and sometimes a scraper does. Inconsistent sharpening results may be at play there.

The main key (for me) is avoiding the urge to get more aggressive as I get more frustrated. I’ve only had one proto-bowl bounce off my face shield (and chest, and workbench), but that’s enough to remind me.

View mpax356's profile

mpax356

43 posts in 1090 days


#7 posted 523 days ago

DLawson, using a roughing gouge on face grain, like a bowl, where the grain runs across the lathe bed, is a prescription for disaster. The extreme forces, the weak tang, and the larger cutting edge and wings will get you in serious trouble. Use it only for spindles.

-- MPax, Atlanta

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dpoisson

171 posts in 1512 days


#8 posted 520 days ago

I must agree with mpax here.

DLawson, do a quick search on youtube for something along the lines of “this is why you never use a roughing gouge” and you’ll see live why you shouldn’t use once. Be warned, there’s blood if I remember correctly.

Fish

-- http://picasaweb.google.ca/dpoisson

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2938 posts in 884 days


#9 posted 520 days ago

Most of the videos I see from the pro’s will mount the blank to a face plate using screws designed for wood and also use a live center in the faceplate for added grip.
They start on the outside of the bowl but the first order of business is to make a tenon on the blank for chuck mounting. As you turn the botton of the bowl you carry that around the curve to the sides which should be round from the band saw already, just to true it up.
After you have a good tenon, use the chuck to dig out the center of the bowl with either a bowl gouge or a fingernail scraper. I use the scraper and a Sorby tungston carbide tool to take me down the last 1/4 inch or so because it cuts so fine.
A lot of pro’s say that you should turn at the fasted speed you can without getting the lathe to shake, but I’ve found that depending on the tool you are using, around 2k is a prime speed. At that speed I’ve had stuff come off the chuck and not really go flying anywhere, just sort of gets caught between the chuck and the tool rest and it cuts just fine at that speed.
The crack can be fixed, but maybe an inlay would work better. They sell brass powder which is great for filling cracks and isn’t too eye catching.
A good way to get blanks is to buy them from http://www.turningblanks.net/servlet/StoreFront. They are all wet which is best for turning and the grain it going the correct direction. They come perfectly round in normal dimensions. 8×3, 10×4….. They are wax coated.

I turn wet wood completely out to a finished bowl and use the microwave to dry them. I put them in a paper grocery sack and set the micro at power level 3 for two minutes at a time and let it cool down in the bag before I repeat. Takes most of the day, but it’s a finished product in about 2 days as opposed to 6 months natural drying and cracking a warping.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3650 posts in 2261 days


#10 posted 520 days ago

Actually, you never use a live center in a faceplate. The live center goes in the tailstock, which you bring up to the blank for added support.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2938 posts in 884 days


#11 posted 520 days ago

Sorry Gerry, I mean just a center. I’ve seen some drill a hole and use the chuck as an expanding grip also, but I don’t have the guts to try it.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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TheDane

3650 posts in 2261 days


#12 posted 520 days ago

If you are using steel screws … NEVER use drywall screws as they are too brittle and likely to break ... you shouldn’t need anything else at the headstock. When I use a faceplate, I use 1-1/4” steel wood screws. Don’t skimp on the screws … buy good quality and use plenty of them (if you faceplate has 8 screw holes, use all of them).

Most of the time, I use a worm screw in my scroll chuck to attach the bowl blank, and face off the bottom to get to solid wood. Then I cut a 2” mortise/socket about 3/16” deep in the bottom … that will be used to mount the blank on the #2 jaws on my scroll chuck after I shape the outside. When using an inside grip, make sure you leave plenty of meat & potatoes around the socket so the expanding jaws won’t crack out the wood. Once the outside is shaped, I turn the blank around (mounting the socket on the #2 jaws) and do the inside. I have a Longworth Chuck …
Click for details
... that I use to finish up the bottom of the bowl.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Kreegan's profile

Kreegan

1452 posts in 744 days


#13 posted 520 days ago

In general, it’s better to hold wood on a tenon/foot in your check as opposed to a recess. This is because the wood held in a tenon compresses, whereas the wood in a recess has a tendency to want to split. You should watch mpax356’s video on Youtube about holding wood on the lathe. Absolutely the best resource for that topic that I’ve found so far.

View wooddaddy's profile

wooddaddy

13 posts in 1031 days


#14 posted 517 days ago

dpoisson, Do yourself a huge favor. Do whatever it takes,Barring something illegal, and buy easywoodtools.com, rougher and finisher. Use as insructions and you will be lightyears ahead. My turning skills advanced at such a pace that I thought the afterburners had kicked in. I know there are those out there who may not care for easy wood tools as they have learned on traditional gouges. However, I was so discouraged with my slow process that I almost gave up on turning. I will admit that learning to use gouges and scrapers is a must for a superior finish. It is something that I am doing more and more as I turn but the most important thing in turning is sharp tools and sharpening is a beginners nightmare! The other thing in learning to turn is proper instruction. Either join a club or buy or borrow professional turner videos that you can watch over and over to get it right. Ideally, taking a class from a professional turner is the best way to learn. I am planning to do just that but money is always an issue at least with me. I have many videos and would consider renting them. Good luck and hang in there!

-- Floyd, PA

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2938 posts in 884 days


#15 posted 517 days ago

Floyd, Those easywoodtools are a bit more expensive than Sorby. Plus you can get Sorby without handles if you like to make your own.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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