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Thread: Hardwoods...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Baltimore, Mary land


    Ok.. I turned something in the Dogwood. Well a section of it anyway. No pics yet because it isn't finished . The Dogwood is way dry... I mean way, way, way dry. Almost petrified. Hard as a rock. Let me see, I may have better luck turning a piece of steel then I had with this sucker.

    It took me 8 hours to dig out the center. I started in slow speed. The once I got everything round I switched into med speed. I was digging at end grain the whole time. Finally after 8 Hours (in 2 sessions) of spudders, curse words and wood chips chipping in specs of minuscule dust smaller than sand I stopped. I finished the shape, sanded it and took it off the lathe. Its a goblet. But the cup part isn't deep enough.

    I sharpened all the tools about 25 times. I switched back to slow speed tonight and it didn't help either. Its beautiful wood, just hard as anything.

    Where did I go wrong? What is the best way to cut the inside of a cup? I'm thinking about taking a class at Woodcraft but is 100.00. \

    Ugg.. Pictures soon.... Perhaps this should have waited till I knew what I was doing... (its only my 4th turning)..

    George Blevins

  2. #2
    Story has it Dogwood was the wood for the Crucifix.. Perhaps that is your problem... But the pieces I have turned were difficult and hard as any dense wood. Sharp tools and slight cuts is the answer. Any slow growing wood needs special care as the wood cells are small and tight, but the resulting texture is ever so smooth and nice. Just take your time and don't expect a quicky job. Easy goes it and it goes easy.

    Perhaps your edges are ground too sharp. A less acute angle on the grind bevel is in store for harder woods.
    Last edited by Bill Simpson; 04-20-2007 at 01:19 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Westphalia, Michigan
    I have wondered about silver soldering a piece of carbide on the end of a scraper to use on those really hard woods. I do have some cobalt enhanced HSS lathe blanks I will be using as soon as I make the holder for them. Some of the exotic woods in the world are so hard they really won't burn, at least not at campfire temps. I know some woods draw silicates up in them with water. Must be like trying to turn sandstone.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    I sell Dogwood pen blanks (when I can get the wood) and have never encountered a hunk as hard as you describe. Most of it is just wood, no particular problem turning. I even had a very large hunk given to me. It had been dry stored for years. Not particularly hard. Dogwood is hard come by as most folks don't like ornamentals cut down and it usually doesn't get very big. Pen with cross clips are very popular as are wall hanging crosses. The legend of the Dogwood says that the cross Christ was crucified on was made of Dogwood. No biblical support, just from an old poem but people like the connection.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    knoxville, TN

    This site is a good source for learnig to turn properly.
    When turning end grain, get a dedicated hollowing tool.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    The Woodlands, Texas

    Dogwood is really sweet!

    Hello George,

    I turn Dogwood frequently and have never encountered a block as you describe. What tool were you using to hollow the goblet with and what was your presentation of the tool to the wood?

    I typically use hollowing tools for goblets, not gouges or scrapers, which can also be used in some cases. If you can give us some more information, we can help you find out what may have happened. Take care and all the best to you and yours!
    Better Woodturning and Finishing Through Chemistry...

    Steve Russell
    Eurowood Werks Studio
    Professional Studio Woodturner

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Baltimore, Mary land


    I think most of the problem was me. I haven't turned anything else since, but this is because my wife banned the Lathe until I finish another project that I had already started (redoing the living room).

    I used every tool that I have when trying hollow out the goblet. I believe that most of the problem was lack of experience. I am surprised, now that I think of it how dangerous it could have been. I was turning a piece of wood about 16 inches long, 4 inches wide, and the kicker was I only had it supported by the chuck that it was screwed into. I was turning on low speed, then moved to high speed them medium speed..

    I know one chip flew off and nearly embedded the pine boards on the wall behind me.. heh...

    I have purchased some dvds, books and next week I am going to join a Wood turning club in the area... we'll see...

    Here is a few pictures, unfinished work. You can see some areas that need addressing. Also, the cracks where in the wood before I started turning...

    and just to give you an Idea of size,

    This was my 4th attempt at turning...
    Last edited by George Blevins; 05-06-2007 at 01:49 PM. Reason: Changed toll to Tool.
    George Blevins

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    George, that piece of wood looks real challenging, and I suspect it was an accident waiting to happen. The way it is cracked is pretty dicey.

    I'll bet the turning club will be a big help towards getting you started on the right foot, and make the whole lathe thing much more enjoyable.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  9. #9
    I find when I'm turning goblets that it is easier to use a detail ground spindle gouge to turn the inside. I always start from the center, keeping the bevel in mind (always) and sweep out, in effect cutting across the grain, rather than head on. Bowl gouges don't work very well for me for center work. The other option is to use a hollowing tool, but I find for a basic goblet, the set up is not worth it. Just use the spindle gouge.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Baltimore, Mary land


    I haven't tried turning anymore of the Dog wood. Its so dry and cracked...

    I may try to do something else with it later.

    Thanks for everyones input, though.
    George Blevins

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