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Thread: Spinning Up Some Chocolate

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM

    Spinning Up Some Chocolate

    As I mentioned in this thread, Larry Merlau, a.k.a. The Ambassador, sent me some of his Michigan chocolate, and the boxes got to my house Monday. That night I went out to the shop to play with it.

    Since we all know Larry is turning vicariously through all of the spinny folks he's been sending wood to, I figured he deserved a boatload of pics so he can share in the fun of making something on the lathe. So, you turners will have to forgive me for posting so many shots of the process...they're for Larry.

    To start out, I needed the square blanks to resemble something round. With the help of a couple reject bowls I had laying around the shop, I used a lumber crayon to mark perfect circles on the face of each blank. You can see the blue lines showing the exacting degree of absolute accuracy I hold myself to...

    Attachment 35845

    Along with perfectly exact lines, it's necessary to follow them with absolutely no mistakes. This pic shows the kind of tight tolerances necessary for this type of work...

    Attachment 35846

    After several painstaking minutes, two round(ish) blanks emerge. There's some promising figure peeking out from the side...

    Attachment 35854

    In looking at the blanks, I see that the smaller one has some cracks developing, so it's the one I decided to handle immediately. The other blank had some finer cracks, so I stuck it in a garbage bag and poured about half a gallon of water on it to keep it moist until I could get to it Tuesday.

    Attachment 35848

    The outside face of the blank was pretty rough, and I needed a flat(ish) spot in the center of it, so I took care of things with a few strokes of a Forstner bit on the drill press. I could have used a bigger bit, but I already had one in the drill press and was too lazy to change it. It did the trick just fine...

    Attachment 35849

    The flat spot gave me a place to put the spur center. (That's the pointy thing on the left side of the blank, Larry)...

    Attachment 35850

    The other face was already relatively flat, and that's where the live center went. (The pointy thing on the right side of the blank, Larry)...

    Attachment 35851

    A few minutes later, it's stating to resemble a bowl...

    Attachment 35852

    And a few minutes after that, it's even more bowl-like...

    Attachment 35853

    Continued in the next post. I told you I had a lot of pics...
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    At this point, the outside is to its rough form. The shape's pretty good, but there's a deep crack coming off the face that will have to be turned out...

    Attachment 35855

    Before handling the crack, I need to turn the blank the other way around. As you may have noticed in the previous pics, I cut a tenon in the center of the blank, which will give my chuck something to hold onto when I reverse the blank. (Larry, when a turner "reverses" a piece, they turn it around like this. They don't make the lathe spin backwards.) ...

    Attachment 35856

    Grabbed the trusty ol' lumber crayon, and made a line so I could see where the crack ends while the blank is spinning. I'll lose some wall height, but this crack has got to go...

    Attachment 35861

    Here's the blank after the outside face has been trued up a bit. It's not visible in this pic, but I'm partway through the crack at this point...

    Attachment 35857

    By the time I got rid of the crack, I discovered something else. Gorgeous figure. I was originally thinking this blank had a bowl inside of it. Turns out, it wanted to be a hollow form instead...

    Attachment 35858

    So, I put the drill chuck in the tailstock and a 1 1/2" Forstner bit in the chuck. Here it is, ready to start taking wood from the inside of the blank and putting it on the floor...

    Attachment 35859

    And here's it is in action, putting said wood on the floor...

    Attachment 35860

    Continued in the next post. Did I mention I brought a lot of photos?
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    OK, at this point I must apologize. I could swear I took a few pics of the hollowing process, but when I downloaded all the pics off my camera card, the shots I thought I had were not there. So instead, I have a few pics showing things after I was pretty much done hollowing it out. This shot shows the scraper bit on my Monster hollowing rig. I only use the scraper to do a little cleanup after the hollowing is essentially done. Sorry I didn't get pics of the other bit I used for the bulk of the hollowing...

    Attachment 35862

    I made the walls a bit thinner than I usually do for a roughed-out hollow form (about 3/8" or so thick), in hopes of keeping the cracking to a minimum. Here's one crack that did get started while it was still on the lathe. (That bit of tearout you can see in the pic will get handled when I finish turn it. Hopefully, the crack will be, too.) ...

    Attachment 35863

    So, it's off to the alcohol bath...

    Attachment 35864

    I keep a few chunks of cinder block in the tub to displace liquid (raises the liquid level in the tub) and to weight down any floaters...

    Attachment 35865

    Then I put the lid on the tub, using the ball valve on top to let the air out as I push the lid down...

    Attachment 35866

    And as a parting shot, here's a pic showing what happens when you forget to wax the ol' lathe bed before turning wet wood. It was no biggie...nothing some paste wax, a Scotch-Brite, and a little elbow grease couldn't fix...

    Attachment 35867

    So Larry, there you have the first blank rough turned. It looks real promising so far, and should yeild a great-looking piece if I can avoid blowing it up. I rough turned the other blank Tuesday, but those pics will have to wait until tomorrow or so.

    Thanks again for the chocolate, Larry. It's mmm mmm good!
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    bethel springs TN, but was born and raised in north east PA
    Vaughn that looks like it is gonna be a great looking piece. Now if that don't get Larry's blood flowing nothin will.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Great work Vaughn, great posts too, and Larry, that is some fine chocolate!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    vaughn yur urnin it doing a fine job of showing what most never see.. thanks looking forward to the next batch of pics
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Great progress report.
    BTW, in that last picture of the purple tub, looks like a familiar tank setting in background. Ye used it yet?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    This seems like a sneaky tutorial for somebody.

    Can't wait to see the final product.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    DSM, IA
    Very cool showing from start to mid point so far....can't wait to see the ending!
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website

  10. #10

    Your articulating lamp seems to have disappeared!
    Enjoyed the chocolate photo series.
    Remember the tea kettle - it is always up to its neck in hot water, yet it
    still sings!

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