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Thread: Tupelo for turning

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Tupelo for turning

    I’m real new at this. I took a beginning wood turning class two Saturdays ago and turned a white oak vase, and a basic bowl turning class last weekend and turned a poplar bowl. I bought a block of spalted tupelo to practice on. From this, I will (try to) turn a bowl 4” X 8", a 6-8” tall vase and two short, stubby vases. For the bowl, I cut the blank to an 8"+ circle. While turning it round, it really felt like it was out of round, but it was just the gouge passing over the end grain that made it feel out of round. My question is, did I choose a poor type of wood to practice on, or is there a way to smooth the end grain. I used a skew chisel but the end grain is still very rough.

  2. #2
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    Chuck,
    I've never turned tupelo but I got to aplaud you for trying to use a skew for shaping at this stage in your turning learning. Most turners find the skew to be one of the most difficult tools to use. Tear out and catches are common with this tool until you learn the proper technique. I'd suggest that you try a gouge or even a scrapper and graduate to the skew. JMHO.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
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    Don,

    I used a 3/4" roughing gouge to get it round, smoothed it up a bit with a 3/8" spindle gouge, and when I saw the very rough end gain, I used the 3/4" oval skew (all Soreby) to try to smooth it out.

    I rally like the skew. On my practice stock, I found it a lot easier to cut beads with the skew rather than the spindle gouge, which is what the instructor had us use. I guess I might change my tune the first hard catch, but I marked ¼ up from the small end with a marker to remind me what part to cut with.

    Do you think a scraper might smooth the end grain out?

  4. #4
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    I'd try a scraper. First of all what speed are you turning at. Higher speeds sometimes are good. Also make sure your tools are razor sharp.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
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    Chuck, I suspect a scraper will be more likely to tear the end grain instead of cut it. My tool of choice would be a freshly sharpened bowl gouge presented in a shearing cut. A skew could do it too, but I'm more comfortable with a gouge. Is your skew as sharp as you can get it? That'd be the first thing I'd look into.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  6. #6
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    Don, I am using a screw chuck into the bowl end while I got the blank to round and cut a spigot for the four jaw chuck. My instructions call for a low speed, so am running it at 500 rpm. Perhaps I should mount it in the chuck and bring it up to 1500 rpm?

    Vaughn, I am using the Wolverine system and have freshly sharpened tools.

    Perhaps I’m trying for perfection on my first try. Instead, maybe I should use this as a learning experience and just practice, practice, practice.

    Thank you.

  7. #7
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    High Chuck!

    Good on your for getting right at the skew, I too very much love the skew, but it has to be sharp, like shave the hairs on your arm sharp

    I grind my skews on the slow speed grinder maybe 4 times a year, otherwise it is just the #600 diamond hone, then the power strop and it is shaving sharp and leaves a wonderful finish
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
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    Congrats for jumping right in to the deep end of the pool.
    I have never used tupelo but understand it is very soft, on the order of basswood, and a favorite of some carvers.
    Seems the problems you describe could almost be predicted. Go with wat Vaughn suggested.

  9. #9
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    Hi Chuck,
    I've not used Tupelo either, but on some box elder, which is also a little soft and green, I get some roughness on the end grains... I've tried both the skew and the bowl gouge as Vaughn suggested... some success with both methods, but the tool must be really sharp. I've had catches with both tools that really frustrated me, but was able to work around them.
    Fun thing with a catch on a skew when you're trying to cut end grain... it can shoot through your hands and across the room (DAMHIKT)... and in my case, always under something so I have to get down on my knees or belly to retrieve the tool.... but then seems like everything I drop winds up under a work bench, tool chest, or buried in the chips under the lathe.

    A catch with the bowl gouge always winds up in a really big gouge where I don't want one.

    Good luck... looking forward to you posting pictures of the end results...
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  10. #10
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    Chuck maybe others will disagree with me but on a bowl I would use a bowl gouge. A spindle roughing gouge or a simple spindle gouge IMHO is just not the right tool for bowl turning. I agree with Vaughn that a sharp bowl gouge is also my choice and have used a scraper on the inside cutting at a 45* angle. I don't use a skew much on bowls but as Stu said it needs to be scary sharp as in shave your arm sharp.

    Two DVD's that I would recommend are Bill Grumbine's Turned Bowls Made Easy and Mike Mahoney's From The Tree To The Table. Both are excellent. Both show you different ways to deal with endgrain, different cuts for different situations, sanding, etc.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: That’s when you return from work one day
    and say, “Hi, Honey, I’m home – forever.”

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

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