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Thread: softer wood

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Midlothian, TX
    Posts
    359

    softer wood

    a couple of people here suggested that I should turn a softer wood while I am learning. I had a fair sized piece of walnut to try out. It is much nicer to turn. I even got long skinny shavings. I only have a single piece of sycamore left that is suitable for turning and then its back to my hard stuff. Any secrets to turning hard dry woods? I only have a 1/4" bowl gouge. The walnut bowl is pretty Plain Jane. A salad bowl type. 3" tall x 7 1/2" wide. At least I didn't have to stop and sharpen my gouge 3 or 4 times. I promise to stop posting everything I do, once the new is worn off my turning attempts.
    Deane
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Originality is the art of concealing your source.
    Franklin P. Jones
    Comments & criticism on postings welcomed.

  2. #2
    Deane, there would be a world of difference for you with a larger bowl gouge! At least 1/2", or maybe even 5/8" depending on your lathe. There just isn't enough cutting surface on that 1/4" to get the job done very well, and the extra mass of the larger tool will help significantly. Not seeing your tool presentation makes it hard to know, but you may not be presenting the tool to the wood in the most efficient manner.

    Looks like you did a nice job on the walnut piece! I love turning walnut - very nice wood to cut. It can be a little fussy with getting out sanding marks, but your bowl looks clean.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    La Grange, IL
    Posts
    1,425
    Deane,

    The bowl looks good. Secret to hard wood is sharp tools and presentation. I bet on that bowl I would have sharpened my gouge at least a couple of times. I think it is John Jordan that writes on the board in his classes "the answer to your question is to sharpen your tool". I get lazy, then I am always amazed how much more agreeable the wood is with a sharp tool. Keep the pictures coming!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Littleton, Colorado
    Posts
    1,320
    Hi Deane, I am new to turning as you are, and when I started I bought the Benjamines Best set from Penn State Ind., you can also buy individual turning tools from them at VERY reasonable prices, a 5/8 bowl gouge is only $25 and change...
    http://www.pennstateind.com/store/LX230.html
    and as John said will be far easier for you to work with then the 1/4 you are useing now. I got one in the set I bought and it is a very nice tool, and for the price you just cant beat them, anyway I just thought I would let you know. Oh and love the bowl!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Lakewood, WA
    Posts
    229
    Deane,
    From the photos it looks like you are well on your way, If you take the input from the above posts you will see that they are correct. Keep turning, be safe and have fun doing it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Evanston, IL
    Posts
    1,318
    Nice bowl, Deane. Simple and elegant -- very modern looking. The only bowl gouge I had to start was a 1/4 inch; I bought the 5/8 Thompson v shaped gouge and can't believe the difference. Turning is much more fun using it!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Sandia Park, NM
    Posts
    1,068
    I'll have to agree with the others on a heavier bowl gouge. I really like this "Plain Jane" bowl. The form is very nice and useable. finish is done very well and it has a nice mass to it, which I like.

  8. #8
    Deane, there are bowl fans out there that would covet that walnut beauty. Pony up the funds and get the right size tool if you're going to continue to turn larger pieces. Life will be easier and funner! Oh, and +1 more for sharpening as you go. How often? As often as it takes to keep a keen edge. There are folks here before you and those following you in - keep the pics coming.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Clayton, North Carolina
    Posts
    220
    Deane, that bowl looks great. I like the shape and the wood. What did yo finish it with?
    Eugene in NC

  10. #10
    Love the shape and the grain. You did a great job. A bigger bowl gouge and/or a heavy-duty (at least 3/8" thick) scraper would make that go a lot faster.....Ron
    A turning a day keeps the doctor away.

  11. #11
    Deane, whatever you do, keep posting pictures of your work. I've been turning for quite a few years and I still get a buzz when I see a nice bowl like this. It's a beautiful, clean, simple and well executed bowl. Like Mark H said, the single most important thing you can learn about turning is to keep your tools sharp. Nothing works right with a dull tool. But I also think that harder woods actually turn better, tear less, and require less sanding. But every piece of wood is different and will present it's own problems and merits. And every piece you turn will teach you a way to do it a little better on the next.

    That's just a really nice bowl!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Enid, Oklahoma
    Posts
    6,741
    Nice looking bowl, Deane... Nothing wrong with posting every one of them. I like to see what others are doing.

    I use a 3/8(US)/1/4(UK) bowl gouge quite a bit for fine finishing cuts, but it's not much fun to hog off wood with a tool that small. I generally prefer the 1/2 tool to the 5/8 for most things, but I think you'll appreciate a difference when you get a larger tool. +1 on the sharpening... I usually go to the grinder when I stop to contemplate my next cut. I can think about what I'm going to do while I'm putting a good edge on the tool. When in doubt, sharpen.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Midlothian, TX
    Posts
    359
    Thanks for all of the advise and feed back. I just order a larger gouge this evening. I have been finishing pretty much everything with Danish Oil for years, except for hard maple or real light colored woods(furniture, etc.) with "Hope's" tongue oil. It is the least darking of any finish that I have found.
    Deane
    Originality is the art of concealing your source.
    Franklin P. Jones
    Comments & criticism on postings welcomed.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Goodland, Kansas
    Posts
    22,605
    Deane that is a really nice bowl. I like the simple form and finish. Good woods like walnut, cherry and maple make learning a lot easier. I also like turning hard wood but sharp tools are a must. They finish easier, sand easier with little tearout.
    Bernie

    Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Fresno, Ca
    Posts
    4,032
    What's wrong with this one!? Get a bigger gouge and more wood. Some good DVD's put there, but a lot of good Texas turners too! A new gouge and a tank of gas may be the ticket!
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears combat boots

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