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Thread: Wee bit o' sweet gum, incoming toy

  1. #1
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    Jul 2011
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    Wee bit o' sweet gum, incoming toy

    Guy at work had a sweet gum taken down (tired of the burrs) and shockingly no one wanted any for fire wood (ok maybe not that shocking, ever tried to split that stuff )

    24" bar on the chainsaw for scale

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The largish pile of shavings was from chainsawing 3 of the blocks in half.

    So far I've turned two rough outs from it (about 16" across and 6-8" tall), turns pretty good, although it is indeed a bit like taking a shower while turning it (keeps you cool at least ). Ended up with 3 wheelbarrow loads of curlies from that - the yard will be well mulched soon and they I guess time to start in on the neighbors

    After getting through the first two bowls I ordered a new Thompson 5/8" V gouge. Should be here maybe by the end of the week

  2. #2
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    Mar 2013
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    just south of the LA/MS border off of I-55
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    I turned some gum last year and I didn't mind the moisture too bad until I realized some of it was from the grubs in the wood. Another good reason I bought a face shield! I thought the gum would be far nastier and more problematic to turn than it was. I won't hesitate to turn more.

    Have fun!

    Hu

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Mooney View Post
    Guy at work had a sweet gum taken down (tired of the burrs) and shockingly no one wanted any for fire wood (ok maybe not that shocking, ever tried to split that stuff )

    After getting through the first two bowls I ordered a new Thompson 5/8" V gouge. Should be here maybe by the end of the week
    Man, that will make you one happy camper!!!

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    I've turned a bit of that. The firewood lot guy who gave it to me called it liquidambar. Very nice stuff to turn, and it finishes well with it's dry, too.

    And congrats on the new gouge. You're gonna love it!
    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Yorktown, Virginia
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    5,014
    We have a lot of gum in our area and I always check when I hear a chainsaw to see if someone is taking one down. The big ones sometimes have a lot of dark colored heartwood that is beautiful....they call it red gum...I grab it when I can.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    bethel springs TN, but was born and raised in north east PA
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    Ryan add me to the list of folks that think gum is a good wood to turn. Heck if I ever run out of wood, I have a bunch of big ones in my woods. Have thought about cutting one down, just don't need the wood.

  7. #7
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    Jul 2011
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    Ted: this one doesn't have much heartwood which was surprising considing the size. The bigger rounds were pushing 24" across but they only had maybe 1-2" of heartwood in the center. I do agree that the smidge of heartwood it had was pretty striking, not sure what the rest look like dried (I see some speckling here and there starting on the ones I've started drying) but they're pretty white starting out.

    Hu: luckily no worms in this one (yet) although there were a large number of centipedes in the bark. I know the centipedes here aren't like the biting ones in HI but they still give me the willies.

    I've been quite pleased with how well it turns all right, will be fun to watch it as it goes.


    Eagerly awaiting my new gouge... ...

  8. #8
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    Dec 2006
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    Oliver Springs, TN
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    Got a big one laying in the yard now waiting on me to mill it. I've been told I'll need to park the truck on the pile because it likes to twist and move a lot! Actually I've got several things to mill, but they keep getting pushed down the list.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Daugherty View Post
    I've been told I'll need to park the truck on the pile because it likes to twist and move a lot!.
    That's what I read as well when looking around about it. Not sure what that means for drying turned wet pieces yet... we shall see.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Thompson first thoughts.

    Well the Thompson 5/8 V was in when I got home from work. First I went out and hung the shower curtain behind where I stand at the lath, definitely worth the time - where there would normally be ~4" of curlies on my jointer it was plumb clean (well except a couple that flew over top.. but still 99.999% better).

    Then started roughing out the outside of a bowl. Realize that my only other real bowl gouges have been a 3/8, 1/2, and 5/8 Benjamins Best so my comparison set is pretty small.

    The flute is a bit deeper than the BB. This seems to make it want to shoot the shavings straight back at me just a bit more than the BB did. I was able to mitigate that a bit by playing around with the presentation but was still more shavinged than usual. I think the BB's are somewhat between the Thompson V and the U looking at the profiles.

    Noticeably less vibration, especially in roughing cuts. This alone is worth it if you're doing rough bowls - not feeling like you've been clubbed with a 9 iron after a day of turning is nice! This might also be somewhat due to the better handle (I got one of the Thompson handles while I was at it). In some ways I like the look of the action on the Serious cam lock handles but decided to get the Thompson for two reasons: first its more "streamlined" around the handle->gouge transition whereas the serious handle has a big cutoff there and second I was already placing an order with Thompson . Not sure if the shape will really matter because your hand isn't really there much unless you've pushed the gouge in and are choked way up on it somehow.. but I liked the look anyway. I suspect that the steel is also a bit less bouncy but can't quantify that. Having a new gouge that has more length also helps of course because leverage.

    The Thompson has noticeably more "usable flute" than the BB did new.

    I was definitely generating a higher percentage of sawdust to shavings compared to the stuff I was producing on the weekend. There are several possible causes for this outside of the tool itself: wood is a bit drier (and the sawdust % seemed to drop off some as I got into the meat of the bowl where it wasn't as dry), I might have set the rest a smidge lower, and finally I'm still adjusting my presentation/grind with the new gouge (I've decide I like the wings swept back a bit more and a lot less heal than the stock grind) and saw some improvement from that as I went. On the flip side of that I'd say the quality of the cut was generally at least as good and in some orientations seems perhaps a bit better. I'd expect that to improve as I get used to it.

    Once I got rolling with it it definitely seems easier to take a bigger bite with the Thompson. In fact have to be a bit careful with that... I bogged the lathe down a couple of times (granted this was turning a largish piece pretty slow so easier to bog down at that). Once I get it rolling though pealing off a 3/8" deep slice didn't seem that hard. It also seemed to be a bit sweeter with the sheer scraping cut, I somewhat attribute that to the edge retention characteristics (the BB would rapidly loose its edge with a lot of sheer scraping).

    I did take it to the grinder twice but that was more just to adjust the shape/grind a smidge. I could feel a bit of difference after the second touch so it does still dull some. It seems that the dulling curve is different though. Whereas the BB would get dull and just keep getting duller the Thompson seems to loose the really crisp edge almost as fast and then holds at that point for a longer time (how much longer I dunno as I haven't turned with it long enough to really see a huge change). Note that the slightly less than perfect edge is still more than adequately sharp although I might end up touching it for really clean finish cuts sometimes.. maybe...

    You get a really nice set of pictures of all of the gouge flute profiles in a brochure with the gouge. Doug needs to get that up on his website!

    Overall
    Its a heck of a gouge!
    Last edited by Ryan Mooney; 06-27-2014 at 04:49 PM. Reason: speling

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