My name is of course Hu as my handle states. I have a few toys for woodworking but have always spent more time with metals and plastics, a bit of time on a cue lathe too which is closer to a metal lathe than a wood lathe. My brother and I bought out a two car garage size woodworking shop about six months ago and we got a bunch of DVD's with the purchase. That is where the trouble started. I moved to the middle of nowhere, just me, a TV, and those DVD's to watch over and over. One had a section on green wood turning. Somehow it seemed the thing to do so I rooted around in the back corners of my storage and unearthed this old lathe. A bit frustrating, I can't find any of the four or five sets of turning tools or the nice individual tools I have bought at one time or another. Had the itch to make chips and PMI is only about thirty miles from me. I scored a bowl gouge to go with the cheap parting tool, the only thing I found in storage, and fired up the lathe.
Zero experience using chisels and gouges so I started cautiously. I turned a couple of six inch sections of 1.125x1.50 dark mystery wood from a friend's attic sorta round. Sure was easier when I was just watching it on the video!
With all this experience behind me I was ready to turn a natural wood bowl and I had some natural wood, four or five year old cedar I had saved for another project. It is only six or eight inches around so I decide for this practice turning I would ignore the pith and just turn. Got the wood mounted sideways between centers and went to power whittling. A given the bark was gone but I was hanging on to the modest wings on the piece and it soon looked something like a vessel. Out of daylight, I went inside. My "shop" is the back porch at the moment. The next morning I scraped a little on the outside and saw the wood had held it's shape well. Still took a good bit of wood off the bottom to carve away a spot where old wood was showing. That'll matter later.
I have a live center, a drive center, and a face plate. I have at least one wood lathe chuck with multiple jaws, AWOL too. However I am turning this shape for experience and I want to hollow some. Something else that is much easier watching than doing! I do get things going a bit but about thirty minutes into hollowing I get a catch. A bit confused, I was watching the corners of my straight cut gouge, not a fingernail cut yet, and didn't see what caught. I went back in several times trying to figure what I was doing wrong. The big wing is history and this is no longer a natural edge vessel but still a fair sized salad bowl can be had. Another thirty minutes and both wings are damaged, looking more like this may be a cereal bowl. I think I am just trying to work too big of a tool in too small of an area and the square cut gouge ain't helping any, it is about 5/8" or a little bigger US measurement, 1/2" English. Finally have my little dessert bowl hollowed out and as a plus the holes left by the pith are gone.
I have a little bit of wobble to the bowl for some reason, not too bad. I also have an uglier curve where bowl wall meets bowl bottom than what I had last night. Things are pretty thick down there, I should be able to sneak a nicer curve onto there. A few more minutes work and I discovered why they call it a blow up instead of a less dramatic sounding term. Things weren't going badly when it happened and I didn't catch. Heat? Vibration? Offending the turning gods? I don't know but all of a sudden my little dessert bowl is in five or six pieces. None hit me or damaged anything else so all I have done is get a lot of firsts out of the way. I retrieved some hopefully spalted oak later this evening and am going to try to figure how to split and cut it tomorrow to make a decent bowl or two after watching a few more video's. I'm thinking start with more bowl and less hollow vessel next time.
All my posts won't be quite this long, this one included my entire woodturning career!