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Thread: Finishing The Foot on Smaller Vessels Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Finishing The Foot on Smaller Vessels Question

    See Pic below - the bar and cone setup is what i use to turn down the bottom of vessels I make. I will turn the foot down a little concave to a small dowel - then hack saw it off - take it to my Master Carver (like a Dremel) grind down the dowel stub flat - change over to a 120grit flap wheel on the Master Carver and sand the bottom level - then hand sand to whatever finish grit I want. At that point i apply my finish etc and call it done.
    When I do larger vessels this process is much easier to do in regard to finish cuts and sanding - but on smaller ones it can be challanging to get those cuts and reach in to sand the bottom down before cutting it free - also after because there is such a smaller surface area to concentrate on.........................................
    How are others doing it ?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 20140619_195515.jpg  
    First you have to learn the rules - Beginner
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  2. #2
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    For starters, I don't leave much spare wood at the base. For me, all the extra wood you show at the bottom of the vessel in the photo would be in my way. And instead of taking what was the tenon down to a dowel and sawing it off, I take it down to a cone and turn it off. These pics are from a larger bowl, but I do the same thing on most smaller pieces.

    First, I reverse the piece into whatever kind of jam or friction chuck I have handy. For this bowl, I used another rough-turned bowl that was a bit smaller than the mesquite bowl I was making. I mounted the rough bowl onto the chuck and trued it up first.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Next I used some neoprene shelf lining pad between the two bowls, and mated them face to face (one inside the other), using the tailstock to hold them together.
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    I made sure the live center went into the original divot that was made with the tenon was first turned.
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    Then I gradually turned the tenon down into a peg that's about the size of the cup on my live center.
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    At this point on this bowl, I added some plastic stretch wrap as a "safety net" in case something went wrong with the rest of the operation. It's not mandatory, but prevents the accidental launching of the nearly finished bowl across the shop.
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    Then I started turning the peg into a cone...
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    My 3/8" shallow detail gouge is ideal for this...
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    Taking very light cuts at the end, eventually the cone is completely severed from the bottom of the bowl. In this pic, the cone is not spinning, but you can see the bowl still is.
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    Since I had stretch wrap on this piece, I was able to move the tailstock away a little bit and make a few very light finishing cuts on the bottom. Without the stretch wrap, I'd have done the final smoothing off the lathe with sandpaper, either with my 2" pneumatic ROS, or by hand...
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    And a shot of the finished bottom.
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    For hollow vessels and vases, the process is pretty much the same as I did here, although the scrap wood friction chuck might be on the outside of the project piece instead of on the inside like this one was. It just depends on the size and shape of the project piece, and what rough-turned scrap pieces I have laying around the shop. I have a vacuum chuck, but I've found the jam chuck is as effective, and generally faster and easier for me to set up.

    Also, with the exception of smaller low-priced pieces like potpourri bowls or Christmas tree ornaments, I prefer to apply the finish off the lathe, after the bottom has been finished. That way I don't have to worry about damaging the finish with whatever jam chuck I end up using, including the vacuum chuck. (Plus, 99 out of 100 times, I can spot concentric rings in the finish of pieces that are finished while spinning.)
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  3. #3
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    Oct 2009
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    Near Gassaway,West Virginia
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    Very good Vaughn. Pictures are worth a thousand words.
    Fred
    steercreekwood.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    I should have finished explaining - yes I do turn down the dowel like you mentioned - I put that pic up fast last night to show mainly how I mount the vessel to reverse and work on the bottom - the pictures below are better showing what i do when reversing - I use a sharp detail gouge to lightly cut the bottom to a cone type but stop short of cutting it all the way off - instead i cut it off and using my master carver in pic 2 i lightly grind and or sand the nub - then apply finish and hand rub out ........................
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 20140620_084134.jpg   20140620_084738.jpg  
    Last edited by Dan Mosley; 06-21-2014 at 03:29 AM.
    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................

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    sydney australia
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    149
    If I am having a foot I finish turn the outside right down to the first coat of what ever the is finish and the foot is complete and it matches up with one of my chucks so as to leave no marks. If the foot is smaller or wont fit a chuck I make a false set of chuck jaws to hold it. Which use to mean extra work but now I have several sets so no time is spent making these jaws.
    Then to the inside so I actually do my bowls in two moves, one of the if not the main reason to apply the first coat of finish so early is to protect the surface from being marked.
    If I leave anything to be removed its very minimal like Vaughn, absolutely the least amount possible.
    Last edited by neil mackay; 06-23-2014 at 12:11 PM.
    Hughie


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