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Thread: End Grain When Turning

  1. #1
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    End Grain When Turning

    OK, I looked all over. Net result is that I was side tracked a dozen times by something else interesting. Now that I am here I have a question.

    Glenn laminated up several layers of 3/4 inch walnut from cut-offs from building his chest of drawers.

    I turned this into a cylinder and finished up the bottom and foot. I had some problems with the grain tearing out when the turning tool passed the end grain. It was not horrible. I did resolve it with a lot of sandpaper.

    Now I am doing the inside and the cutting across the cross grain is going poorly. I cannot even smooth it with sandpaper. What am I doing wrong? I don't seem to be able to ask the correct questions to get an answer from a Search.

    Attachment 64838Attachment 64839Attachment 64840

    It is not clear in the pic. However, the tear out is in the lower right part of the outermost ring. You can see part of the tear out in the second ring---it is to the left.

    As the drowning man said, "HELP!"

    Thanks in advance for your help and Enjoy,

    JimB
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

  2. #2
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    Jim
    I don't turn as much as many here and I might be all wet but the only way I have been able to prevent end grain tear out is with very very very sharp tools. HTH
    "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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    Jim not only real sharp tools, but some times i'll have to put some shellac or lacquar, or even ca glue. Just depends on what i have on hand at the time. Don't know why but i have more trouble with walnut than any other wood i turn.

  4. #4
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    When you glued up the pieces, you alternated grain directions. That means that on some parts you were cutting with the grain of the wood and others you were cutting against the grain. Think of how a hand plane blade's edge must meet the grain to provide for a smooth cut, and you will figure it out. Doesn't help now, but next time. To try to recover this piece, you will need super sharp tools and very light cuts - and a lot of patience. It can be done, and ou will learn a lot in the process. Think about how the cutting edge must meet the grain to cut with the grain. When you cutting against the grain, lighten up and take much lighter cuts with a super sharp edge. The idea is to get the wood fibers cut before they know the cutting edge is there.
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

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    Carol Reed

  5. #5
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    I don't know your turning skill level but here is something I do when I am turning straight sided boxes from face grain stock. Take a freshly sharpened spindle gouge, 3/8" or 1/2" depending on how far you have to reach over the tool rest and use it to cleanly cut the sides by taking fine shaving cuts along the sides of the piece. Keep the gouge sharp, hone the flute if necessary and gradually peel away wispy shavings until all the tear out is gone. Carefully control the cutting edge exposure so that only the smallest amount of material is being cut with each pass by gliding along on the bevel.

    Tear out in end grain requires sand paper coarse enough to remove the "big" scratches left by the tool.
    I may be getting a little older physically but mentally I'm still tarp as a shack.

  6. #6
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    Beside very sharp tools, I have coated the area with walnut oil or mineral oil and used very fine cuts to clean up the tear out.
    "Have no fear of perfection--you'll never reach it."
    ---Salvador Dali

  7. #7
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    What they all said.

    1. Sharp tools
    2. Very light cuts
    3. Lubrication and/or stiffening of the fibers
    4. Patience
    5. Avoid alternate grain glue-ups if possible
    6. Walnut can be cantankerous
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  8. #8
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    The horrible part about this is that the alternating wood grain was done on purpose. The top ring and the third ring have a light color. They are set in a book matching grain position sandwiching the darker second ring.
    I guess that idea was right up there with shooting yourself in the foot.

    The little "pits" of tear out are the size of a piece of grit on 40 grit sandpaper.
    I thought about the 3/8 gouge and started to try that. With my setup I just cannot seem to get my eyes, arms and tool in a position to see where I am cutting. I am definitely not in the category of Hollow Vessel turner. So, what I tried was using my Easy Wood round cutter, extremely lightly. It sort of works. It goes along, progress is made, the cutting is nearly finished, and pooommm out comes a chip or two. The fresh cutter on the tool is just plain not sharp enough.

    Stephen, I held up the very sharp tool 3/8 bowl gouge. However, I did not even turn the lathe on. If I could see in there or had some HF experience that would probably work. I have had a lathe for some time, however, with developing a shop, being on several Boards and still practicing, I just have not spent much time on a lathe. I am totally retired now. I am not on any Boards, I cancelled my license so I cannot go back again. Hopefully that means that I have a lot more shop time. I will try stiffening up the fibers.

    Carol, As you noted above the cross grain was done on purpose. I love walnut. However, I now find out that it is not the best wood for amateur turning.

    Mike, The bowl is basically a cylinder that will look like it is floating. The sides are straight inside and out. There is no taper/slope to allow me to see the turning tool tip unless I get my eyeballs slightly past the mid-line of the lathe. At that point I start having trouble banging into the dust collecting system. I could remove the DC, however it would be a pain to do. I also start getting into my own light somewhat.

    I do have a very delicate touch. I mean, after all, if I am going to use a sophisticated Dremel Tool to grind a rust ring off of the front of an eye (the cornea), I better have a delicate touch.

    Jim, I will try the mineral oil first. If that does not work I will try the CA.

    I tell some patients (the, I never heard of this condition, the very complicated condition, etc. patients). "If every patient was easy, I would die of boredom." It is the patients that make you hit the books, talk to other docs, etc. that make life interesting for a doc. So I am going to play like this piece of walnut is an unusual patient. Of course the walls to the bowl will keep getting thinner as I learn. The bowl may end up like "The Bridge to Nowhere." Only in this case it would be "The Bowl That Holds Nothing."

    Enjoy while I am off to the shop to turn,

    JimB
    Last edited by Jim C Bradley; 02-07-2012 at 09:18 PM.
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

  9. #9
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    Sounds like you're on the right track, Jim. I've also used a spritz of water (in lieu of mineral oil) to lubricate the fibers. If all else fails, 80 grit paper, patience and time will get rid of the tearout. I think in the end the bowl will look nice and be worth the effort.
    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

  10. #10
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    I tried that Vaughn. Sanding worked on the outside. However on the inside, the sandpaper caused tear out. I used mineral oil. I did use the 3/8 gouge and I got the inside just fine. Then I sanded it with 100 grit and got tear out all over the place.

    The tear out holes are typically about the size of a very large piece of sand. I would probably have to remove 1/32 or more wood to make them disappear. At this point I am going to put it aside and do something else. On the plus side, I learned a lot. It was a good exercise. I am glad it is not near someone's birthday, anniversary or whatever that would put it on a limited time basis if I were to make another one.

    I have not had this problem with birch, maple, cherry, mahogany, red oak, white oak, or anything else I have turned.

    How much do you want for the turning tool?

    Enjoy,

    JimB

    3 hrs. later

    I could not stand it. I had to go back and use the gouge again. I got the wall smooth, had one small tear out...small enough I should be able to fix it.

    I sanded with 150, 180, and 220. I guess I will see how it looks with finish on it.

    Good Night and Enjoy,

    Jim
    Last edited by Jim C Bradley; 02-08-2012 at 06:33 AM. Reason: To make an addition 3 hours later
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

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