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Thread: 24" Slice of Maple..How To Turn?

  1. #1
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    24" Slice of Maple..How To Turn?

    I recently , well a friend and I , cut down a large maple. After the cut we had some good wood left on stump...I was able to slice a 6" thick piece off the stump...It is 24" across all around..My lathe is the Jet 1642 so at best I would get a 15 1/2" turning if it all worked out perfect...How often does that happen lol? Anyhow should I cut this piece down to fit the lathe and then turn the whole piece? (How do I deal with the pith?) or do I cut it hopefully into 2 smaller pieces?
    Last edited by Mike Turner; 05-28-2013 at 12:21 AM.

  2. #2
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    Personally, I don't think I would try to turn a large end grain bowl like that. Chances are pretty high you'll end up disappointed. Not only is the pith a real problem, but unless you leave it thick, the wood won't have much strength oriented like that. If you really want to turn an end grain bowl, I'd divide the slice into quarters and make four of them. Al least you'd end up turning the pith away on each of the four resulting blanks.

    If I had that particular chunk of wood in my driveway, I'd probably cut it into as many 6" x 6" x 6" cubes as I could and use them to make small hollow forms (in face grain orientation). Or 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" x 6" spindle blanks for things like pepper mills. Or even smaller blanks for pens and bottle stoppers. I've learned that simply turning the largest possible piece from a chunk of wood isn't always the best use of that chunk.

    Now, if that was a 16" long piece of large maple log, it'd be a whole other story. Big bowl, here I come!
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  3. #3
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    I partially agree with Vaughn. But, if you can turn it without it coming apart you might have something unique.
    Too bad yer lathe isn't the Grizzly version. You could turn the head and do an outboard turn.
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    Ditto what Vaughn said. I tried that a few years ago and it didn't come out well. I do exactly now what Vaughn recommended. Cutting them down for HF's, pen blanks, etc.
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  5. #5
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    24" Slice of Maple..How To Turn?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    ...But, if you can turn it without it coming apart you might have something unique.
    Too bad yer lathe isn't the Grizzly version. You could turn the head and do an outboard turn.
    That's the big 'if'. In an end grain orientation the walls if the bowl are not only very weak, they are more prone to cracking as the wood dries. Plus, any nice figure in the wood is typically obscured.

    And have you ever tried turning something that big outboard? It sounds a lot easier on paper than it is in practice. ;-) I've had a swivel head lathe, and it's handy for a lot if things, but turning big pieces isn't one of them.




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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    I partially agree with Vaughn. But, if you can turn it without it coming apart you might have something unique.
    Too bad yer lathe isn't the Grizzly version. You could turn the head and do an outboard turn.
    Why? 1642's go outboard...up to 26" I think is the limit. Just run the head to the far end of the ways...stop keeps it in place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Burr View Post
    Why? 1642's go outboard...up to 26" I think is the limit. Just run the head to the far end of the ways...stop keeps it in place.
    Since the 1642 doesn't have a dropped extension bed like the PM 3520, I don't see where the 26" limit is coming from. Assuming a person has a suitable outboard tool rest*, wouldn't the floor be the limiting factor?





    * Having a suitable outboard tool rest is the key thing. All the swiveling, sliding headstocks in the world are worthless unless you have a stable tool rest to work from. Doesn't look like Grizzly even sells one anymore, and despite marketing claims to the contrary, I'm not convinced the Nova outrigger tool rest is stable enough to handle a 18" to 24" bowl without vibrating. Even the bed-mounted height extension for my Powermatic vibrates more than I like, and I'm certain it's more stable than the other extensions I've seen.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Burr View Post
    Why? 1642's go outboard...up to 26" I think is the limit. Just run the head to the far end of the ways...stop keeps it in place.
    Correct. I have contemplated making one from a post welded to a heavy base.
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  9. #9
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    26" came from my owners manual. Since a 1642 weighs just over 400 lbs, I'm not sure a slab of wood 80" (spindle height is 44") would be much fun. My guess would be that some engineer did some Big Bang Theory math and decided that was a good diameter for outboard turning...or I could be blowing smoke out my wazoo! That being said, I turn platters that are 15" frequently with comfort, despite that I'm an ADD Type A fire eater
    Last edited by Jim Burr; 05-29-2013 at 02:17 PM.
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