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Osage is harder to turn than I imagined...

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Forum topic by Dan Krager posted 03-15-2014 at 11:31 AM 646 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Dan Krager

1532 posts in 871 days


03-15-2014 at 11:31 AM

Topic tags/keywords: resource osage orange hedge lathe turning pot form

Here is a simple turning I tried with nothing to be lost if it didn’t work so well. The hedge is green, freshly cut about two months ago now so I thought it would turn fairly easily with sharp gouges and skews. Roughing out the small diameter log was no picnic, partly because there was a small knot near one end. The wood is SO tough that if it gets aligned so that your cutting edge slips under the grain, well something bad is likely to happen if you’re not thoroughly prepared. I started at a slow speed, about 200 rpm and as the high spots came down moved to about 600 rpm. It wasn’t much faster, but it was less likely to “catch”.

On the base piece, I ended up putting my router on the lathe to cut the recess. I just couldn’t persuade my bowl gouge to do it. I was parting this piece off, so I was pretty deep in the cut when the hollow ground parting tool caught and bent the blade. It surprised me how “easily” it bent the 1/8” wide x 1/2” tall cutter, but at least it didn’t disastrously snap. I was able to finish the parting with an adjusted angle so it didn’t grab.

It’s a utilitarian gardner’s tool to form transplanting pots from newspaper. This has been soaked thoroughly in melted parafin, but you can see it is already beginning to split. I don’t think it will tear itself apart completely, but it won’t be “pretty”. I just can’t imagine what this will be like to turn when it’s dry!

DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com


11 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1005 posts in 772 days


#1 posted 03-15-2014 at 12:31 PM

Dan looks great to me.

Had a similar problem turning fresh Mulberry several years ago. Looks and act just like Osage Orange. I now know wet Mulberry really gums up a bandsaw blade too. Several nice size bowls ended up as small candy dishes. Turned several nice pens & xmas ornaments with that wood once it dried.

Real shame is stored improperly and lost more than half the Mulberry I found and brought home.

-- Bill

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3900 posts in 1017 days


#2 posted 03-15-2014 at 12:34 PM

Are you using carbon steel tools? They will dull quickly on wood this hard. If not, cranking the speed will help. Something that size I’d be starting at 900 rpm just to rough, moving to 2000 or so rpm to turn.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13873 posts in 975 days


#3 posted 03-15-2014 at 02:22 PM

Hedge is one of the woods that resist us making something from them. Takes more time, knowlege and patience to do it well. You now have more knowledge. In the future you won’t have as many problems.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

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Dan Krager

1532 posts in 871 days


#4 posted 03-15-2014 at 02:45 PM

Monte, you made me smile and think of an old proverb:
“Man who holds cat by the tail gains knowledge that cannot be obtained any other way!”
DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com

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Dan Krager

1532 posts in 871 days


#5 posted 03-15-2014 at 02:56 PM

Rick, yes my turning tools are steel. I’ve always used lower speeds more successfully because I use shear cuts almost exclusively. It seems a bit safer at the (relatively) slower speeds using this cut…I learned to do the shear cuts at a robust 32 rpm where I could feel the interaction at a speed I could grasp. That’s just the way I’ve learned to do it…not saying everyone should do it. And the knife stays cool at the slower speeds and I think holds the keen edge longer because it’s not hot. The exception is the parting tool…I can’t ever see that staying cool. I can see these tools dulling quickly anyway when this wood gets dried and REALLY hard.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I’ve looked at some carbide tools, so maybe in time…
DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com

View Jimbo4's profile

Jimbo4

1133 posts in 1400 days


#6 posted 03-15-2014 at 06:25 PM

Turning Osage Orange is a task in itself. Turn fast – 1800+ – and you will not get any catches. Sharp M2 tools. When finished, Osage Orange can look just like it’s ceramic.

Wanna see tough. Try turning Mountain Mahogany ! It also will look like ceramic when finished.

-- BELT SANDER: Used for making rectangular gouges in wood.

View hairy's profile

hairy

2012 posts in 2169 days


#7 posted 03-16-2014 at 06:49 AM

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Dan Krager

1532 posts in 871 days


#8 posted 03-16-2014 at 08:21 AM

That is interesting, hairy, a piece of advice I will try to remember. I haven’t done much log turning, just glued up blanks. That diagram is helpful. I’m assuming that “bowl blank” means the top of the bowl is toward the center of the log, right?
I have trimmed several log ends and letting the slices dry in the shop to see what happens. So far, the only one that hasn’t split is a 4” diameter one with the pith in the middle. The others have all split, or started to from the pith outward. One has the pith almost on the bark edge, and the split goes out to the closest bark. The rest of the blank is intact so far. In my mind this verifies what you are saying.

I have a large block of paraffin and a heat gun on my shopping list. I saw that tip and thought it better than painting the ends. I haven’t had good luck painting the ends, even with oil base and several coats.

DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com

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Jimbo4

1133 posts in 1400 days


#9 posted 03-16-2014 at 10:19 AM

Turning green/wet wood with leaving the pith down the center can be accomplished, with patience. Cut a tenon for the chuck, saturate with thin CA. Finish the outside first, saturate using oil of your choice. When hollowing out the inside, spritz the interior with water as you go. Turn as thin as you dare – recommend 1/4” or 1/8” – spritzing all the time. When the thickness is of the afore mentioned, it will allow the wood to dry as you turn.

-- BELT SANDER: Used for making rectangular gouges in wood.

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3900 posts in 1017 days


#10 posted 03-16-2014 at 12:42 PM

Dan, did you learn on a spring pole lathe? 32 rpm is a bit odd unless you are turning 3 foot bowls. Not many lathes even go that low.

Carbide isn’t your only other option for cutting tough woods. High speed steel (HSS) is less sensitive to heat, and stays sharp longer than carbon steel. Although I do like my carbide tools for roughing as it saves the edges on my steel.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View Bundoman's profile

Bundoman

86 posts in 226 days


#11 posted 03-16-2014 at 12:55 PM

I turned some hedge fence post chunks recently to experiment on making some chisel handles. These posts have been drying a few years. It took a toll on tool edges but the end product is quite nice. I was amazed to find large worm holes in part of the posts, as hard as the wood is. I was able to rive the post in half, which split pretty much down the pith, then cut stock out of the halves with a bandsaw. It worked pretty well.

-- Brent

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