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Thread: First bowl

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inside the Beltway

    First bowl

    Hey, folks,

    This is actually my second... the first one, yesterday, somehow magically turned into a disk and a ring!

    Anyway, I'm trying to teach myself how to do this stuff. I'm posting here so that the experts can tell me what bonehead mistakes I'm making, and so others who, like me, know nothing about lathes may benefit from my foolishness.

    For practice wood, I grabbed a 2x6 hemfir cutoff left over from making the lathe stand. Cut it on the band saw till it was about 5 1/2" square, then cut off the corners. Took a few tries, as you can see from the cutoffs (I clearly need to make a circle cutting jig:

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    While I'm at it, here's my really terrible chisel sharpening system:

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    Really need a jig for that, but cannot buy one. Someone out there must have a plan for making one, I hope!

    Here's the blank, attached to the face plate. I just used any screws I could find... I guess I really need some #8 3/4" screws? The firstones bent pretty badly. At his stage, I'm rounding off the corners, and trying to get something round for the bowl chuck to grab on to.

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    While it's still on the face plate, I mount the chuck. I tried to getit tight enough to hold, but not too tight.

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    Here, I've turned it around so you can see how the face plate was attached.

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    Now I've got the faceplate off, and I'm thinking I can finish rounding the outside and go after the middle...

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    I've got the cheap harbor freight chisels everyone gets at the start. Don't even know their names yet. So far, I've only used three... I figure I'd better get good at sharpening before I ruin any more than that!

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    Now I've got the outside pretty round. I've been putting the tool rest as close as I can to the work. I still can't figure out a good means of tool presentation, but oh well. Mostly I get flying dust rather than long curly shavings.

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    Now I've reset the tool rest, and I'm ready for the fun part: going after the 'face'

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    My camera can't handle something spinning at 2400 rpm. rats!

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    on to the next step:
    Last edited by Bill Lantry; 04-15-2007 at 07:57 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inside the Beltway
    OK, on to the next step Here I'm starting to hollow it out.

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    Thought I'd take a shot of what's landing around me as I go. I'm hoping the shavings tell the tale of what I'm doing wrong? Any guidance?

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    Here I'm using my router depth gauge to figure out how far I've gotten. Don't have calipers yet.

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    You can see I've got a long ways to go, but after my last episode, figured I'd start measuring early...

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    I reset the toolrest, and kept going. Really, this is the fun part. Just slide the chisel back and forth, watching the line as it goes.

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    I've stopped shaping here, well in advance of going through the bottom! Time to sand the inside. Don't laugh, I've got no sanding system, and this is what I had close at hand... Speed is turned down to about 600 rpm.

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    I decided to reshape the bottom edge a little bit, so I repositioned the toolrest...

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    I had no idea the chuck could grab both ways! Anyway, I turned the object around, and expanded the jaws:

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    Now I can shave off the base I was using to give the chuck something to grab

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    Sanded, and ready to come off...

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    Last edited by Bill Lantry; 04-15-2007 at 08:02 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inside the Beltway
    Here it is, the finished object. Don't quite know what to call it, but it's round, and sanded...

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    Anyway, I'm hoping you can tell me what I'm doing either right or wrong. This really is like a whole different world of woodworking, and boy am I out of my depth!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    s. Barrington,IL.
    Bill you now have the bug. Keep at it. The thing I would suggest is that when you have it on the band saw cut it as round as you can get it this will help to turn without all the jarring trying to round the corners.Second I would make the tendon on the bottom smaller and the shape your bottom towards the tendon.The best for you would be to glue a couple of 2x6 or2x8's together then shape on the band saw and the do the above that will give you more to work with. I hope this helps you . Good job on your first bowl it looks good. Another suggestion look at other peoples work in the turning showcase to get ideas on shapes.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Bill, first, fantastic job on your first try, they will get better and better from here on out!!

    Make sure you keep that first one, sign and date it and use it, put M&M in it, or keep it in the shop for loose change etc, whatever, that is the first one, you will never make another!

    OK, first, which HF chisel set did you get?

    The pic of the tools you put up.........

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    .......... looks like a 1/2" skew chisel, a 3/4" spindle gouge and a 3/4" skew chisel.

    Really none of these tools are for bowl turning, they are spindle work tools.

    Get yourself a decent bowl gouge and a round nosed scraper, they will make bowl work SO MUCH easier!!

    Some of the other guys can recommend a good bowl gouge at a decent price for you, I'm not in your market, so I don't know. I would not expect you to pay over $50 for a decent 1/2" bowl gouge.

    I'd also recommend you get Bill Grumbine's DVD on bowl turning, I learned SO MUCH from it (thanks again Bill)

    Well worth the price, I still watch it to brush up on stuff.

    The wood you picked to make your first bowl from is actually decent for practice, as it is soft, but it s difficult to get nice cuts, as it is so soft.

    All in all, you done good!

    Get the right tools, and get that DVD, your skill level will LEAP ahead after watching it!!

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Way to go, Bill. Any of 'em that survive the ride are OK in my book. Sign it and date it, and don't ever give it away. A few observations and/or suggestions (but remember I'm less than a year into this game myself)...

    I've read of turners who do a fine job sharpening on a sander. I think the thing to concentrate on is keeping the bevels right, and that can be done freehand with practice. I'm sure there's a way you could make a jig to help do that, but I don't know of any to refer you to.

    Use better screws. The face you save may be your own. I've seen recommendations specifically discouraging the use of drywall screws, since they don't have as good of shear strength as wood screws or pan head sheet metal screws.

    Look into getting a smaller faceplate. I've got a few aluminum ones (2" and 3") from Don Pencil. They're around $25 or less (even less if you find one on his "Seconds and Blems" page). It'll make it easier when you don't have to watch out for the faceplate while you're getting the piece initially round. It'll also allow you to get more of your intended final shape done while you're on the faceplate, which is more secure than the chuck. A lot of lathes these days come with faceplates that are much larger than most guys use or need. I used my 6" faceplate recently on a 75 pound birdhouse, but I use the 2" and 3" on bowls or hollow forms.

    You're gonna have a hard time getting long curlies from dried construction lumber. The pile of shavings you showed looks better than what I'd probably get. The first time you get your hands on some green wood you'll see the difference, and learn why some folks lust for it.

    I'll be interested to see what others suggest (so I can learn more myself), but personally I think I'd be turning something like that somewhat slower. 2400 RPM seems fast to me for faceplate work. I'd likely be in the 1000 to 1200 RPM range, but for all I know, that's too slow. I have been learning that sometimes speed can be your friend, but also the faster it goes, the nastier the bite can be when something does go wrong.

    Stu's got the right points about the tool IDs, although I consider the bigger of the three gouges in the HF set to be the roughing gouge (even though it's not gound like one, that's what I use mine for). I also second his suggestion to save up and get a bowl gouge and a beefier roundnose scraper. Here's the ones I ended up getting. It's a few steps above the HF stuff, but not top shelf either. The Benjamin's Best tools from Penn State are pretty good quality for their price point. And add another yes vote for Bill Grumbine's Turned Bowls Made Easy DVD.

    You're hooked, dude...there's no turning back now. Congrats!
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    The Woodlands, Texas

    No Turning Back Now...


    Well, you've gone and done it now... You've turned your first bowl! Congrats on the first of many more to come. I still remember my first bowl. It was made from White Ash, with a full round bottom and a nice crested bead top. That was a long time ago and since then, I've turned 13,206 more bowls and I still love it.

    You have gotten some good suggestions here from the group. I would also encourage you to stop in my educational library. There are 20 articles there (more being added all the time) that will help you with many aspects of woodturning from sharpening, to bowl turning, finishing and more. If I can ever help you, please do not hesitate to contact me. Take care and all the best to you and yours!

    Educational Library:
    Better Woodturning and Finishing Through Chemistry...

    Steve Russell
    Eurowood Werks Studio
    Professional Studio Woodturner

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Baltimore, Mary land


    "While I'm at it, here's my really terrible chisel sharpening system:"

    I use sand paper all the time, just up the grits.. I go as high as 2000. I get a really nice edge.

    Hey your bowl really looks great! Good Luck.
    George Blevins

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    bill, if you`re lookin` for "long-curly shavings" you`ll need some green wood ....ya` done good for your first messin` around!
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

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