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Thread: Turning Process for Natural Edge Bowls

  1. #1

    Turning Process for Natural Edge Bowls

    Hi Guys, I just turned my first natural edge bowl tonight. When doing natural edge bpwls, do you normally use the same process as any other bowl ... ie. rough them out while green, let them dry, then put them back on the lathe to finish?

    Or do you typically/sometimes turn them with thin walls and finish them green, then just let them warp a bit into the final shape? If this is a common method and you remove the tenon while the bowl is green so that it's essentially finished, what do you do for sanding? I typically sand while the bowl is on the lathe, but I guess this would not be possible while it's green and wet?

    Thanks ... lots of questions I guess.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Lufkin Texas
    I prefer to turn them thin while wet. This does mean that sanding is done off the lathe, I use the hook & loop pads with a close quarters drill.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Goodland, Kansas
    Most of the time I finish them thin walled, sand and put my finish on immediately when taken off the lathe. I mostly use Minwax Antique Oil and most bowls very seldom warp if I soak it right away.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    And I'm the opposite. I think all but one of my NE bowls have been turned twice -- once while wet and again after drying.

    Both methods obviously work...I'd say try both and see what you prefer.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Des Moines, IA
    I am like Vaughn, I rough turn, soak, dry, and finish turning. It appears that both methods work.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
    I've only done a few natural edged pieces... mostly from drier woods, but on one or two occasions where the wood was green, I just turned to finishe size and let it warp.
    Tellico Plains, TN
    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.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Cornwall, England
    I turn green, finish on the lateh and let nature take it's course. Occasionally one splits, depends on the wood, but as often as not they are OK. I am lazy and really can't get ibnto turning twice or soaking etc then finishing.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Palm Springs, Ca
    Both methods will work. I do alot of natural edge bowls out of mesquite because its what my gardner has given me lately.
    The way i do it is i finish turn it on the lathe, sand to 220 on the lathe, Then, alot of times i will wet sand with oil to 400 or more, or sometimes i dont because 220 is fine if im going to build up a film finish.
    Then I remove the tennon, and sand flat the bottom, then like Bernie said soak well with oil (I use Antique Oil, BLO, or i have a 5gal pale with Oil/varnish/mineral spirts in it and let soak for longer periods). I do not always use the same method for applying oil though and try out different ways of finishing pc's. However, with the oiling that others have mentioned i have not lost many to any checking/cracking from drying. If i have a pc of large size or i think its to hot out etc - I soak well and brown bag it and set it to the side for a couple weeks or so inside the house. I am in So Calif and the summer temps are very high.
    Then ill sand the bottom again if necessary to flat. sand the turning by hand a bit more - then finish it the way I want.....Varnish-Laquer etc . This is another area that i do not always finish my stuff the same way and like to experiment with different ways to finish but thats me....others will finish the exact same way all the time.
    Opinion - I finish turn and let them warp if there going to - alot of times with a good oil soaking they keep their shape well for the most part but it also depends on the wood, climate etc......but having a round bowl all the time is boring to me........Its a area where you can really experiment and see what works best for you.....i mix it up.....LOL .....hope it helps ....Dan
    Last edited by Dan Mosley; 10-12-2009 at 02:04 PM.
    First you have to learn the rules - Beginner
    Then you have to learn advanced rules - Professional
    Then you disregard the rules - This takes you to the master level................

  9. #9
    Thanks for all the different opinions guys. It looks like I'll have to try both ways! I'm surprised to hear that people sand wet bowls on the lathe, but it sounds like fun!

    I'm looking forward to trying the entire process at once on the lathe!

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