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Thread: a bit of advice please

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    a bit of advice please

    Ok, so Im trying to turn big bowls, I made one in my life from maple I glued up, and Im currently working on a piece of cherry Ted sent me.
    I hate to disappoint ted and larry after they gave me beautiful chunks of wood, but Im struggling.
    I learned the hard way I was not holding my chisel at the right height angle, and I was angled too high at first, and got many catches, dug into the wood.
    I spent a lot of time taking very light cuts finally at the correct height angle and I had almost zero catches, I believe the lathe may be an inch or two tall for me and I might have to build a base to stand on.
    I decided to not butcher the wood anymore, and Id just sand and sand until I got something acceptable.(wishful thinking)
    Im not the best flatworker, and Im proving to myself Im far from a good bowl turner, but I do enjoy it immensely.

    I split the only 2 inch sanding disc bit I had, so Im off shortly to HF to pick up some more so I don't have to wait for shipping from another company.
    I guess I was heavy handed and it heated up with 80 grit.

    so I started with orbital sander on outside, then went to hand sanding while it turned ofcourse, and I got rid of most of the catch marks, but Im having a lot of sanding lines and Im not sure if going to lighter grits will eliminate them.
    (the bowl shape on the outside is off a bit, but that was a lot of catches and I don't want to mess up anymore so I figured Id sand it to the best outside shape I can get)
    INside of bowl also with just a little sanding, is getting all the sanding lines.
    so what am Im missing here?

    Like I said, Id like to make this bowl acceptable and take it all the way to finish. this is a bit harder than I thought it would be.

    My other problem is when I chuck it up and do the outside first, now that Ive gotten the catch problems under control,, when I rechuck it the bowl is off center, making it again difficult to turn the inside and finish the outside since it didn't line up as when I had it chucked the opposite way, how do I avoid that?(both sides were straight and flush to chuck, so Im not sure why it was misaligned and lopsided while I spun it back to roundness, but that's where I encountered a lot of catches)

    hope some of this makes sense, don't have anyone close to me to come over and give me some tidbits to help me along.

    any advice for this new bowl turner would greatly be appreciated, even if you think it is common sense nonsense, please enlighten me with your experience.

    ok, long enough post, thanx in adance to anyone who responds.

    struggling with sanding in Long Island out to harbor freight.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails cherry bowl 004.jpg   cherry bowl 005.jpg   cherry bowl 007.jpg  
    Human Test Dummy

  2. #2
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    Some random related thoughts...

    By sanding hard with 80 grit, you're heating up the wood and tempering it, making it that much more difficult to get rid of the tool marks and sanding scratches. You need to slow down the lathe (under 100 RPM) and lighten up your touch. I know it seems counterintuitive, but it's the fastest way I know of to get rid of the marks you're seeing. This advice is coming from a guy who's melted a lot of Velcro disk holders in the process of learning this lesson.

    You can get rid of some of those concentric sanding scratches by sanding by hand, perpendicular to the scratches, with the lathe turned off. Then, once all of your sanding scratches are running from the rim to the base, switch to a finer grit and repeat the process...sand first with the lathe running (and getting new, finer concentric scratches), then turn off the lathe and hand-sand from rim to base again. Keep repeating this until you're at your final grit.

    Use good sanding products. Harbor Freight is not them. You'll spend more money and time using the cheap crap than you will if you order good products from a guy like Vince at Wood N Wonders.

    I've turned hundreds of bowls. I'm still jazzed when I remount a piece in a chuck and it runs true. I'd say 98% of the time, I have to re-true any piece I remount on the chuck, no matter how careful I am about realigning things. This is more apparent on bigger bowls. A 4" or 6" bowl will usually remount pretty true, but a 12" or 16" bowl usually won't. I just grin and bear it...and get out a sharp bowl gouge to true it back up.

    I know it's probably not nearby or convenient, but I'd highly recommend hooking up with the Long Island Woodturners and finding someone who'll give you a couple of hours of mentoring. The amount of time and frustration you'll save will be well worth the hassle. And chances are, you'll find other turners relatively close to you who are more than willing to help you out.
    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

  3. #3
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    As per usual Vaughn has great advice

    Only thing I could add is in the first pic the white line about 1/3 of the way from the left (base) of the bowl doesn't look like a sanding line to me, that looks like a tool mark from here. You'll likely be happier if you can get rid of if before switching grits to much. Sometimes a little hand sanding with the lathe off like Vaughn mentioned is the easiest way to deal with those.

    Also I'd probably glue+?filling? fill those voids now. Filling and glue type depending on what you want it to look like. Its easier to do that (imho) which you're still at higher grits so you aren't trying to sand the glue/fill off/out of the rest of the wood later .

  4. #4
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    As a newbie turner, I'm certainly not one to offer any advice but I can confirm some of what Vaughn said. It seemed that no matter what, I would get sanding marks. Now, I knew the sandpaper was getting quite warm - even hot - at speeds I was using initially, but it took some experimenting to get better. I slowed the lathe down, sanded with the lathe spinning, then stopped and sanded with the same grit longitudinally, blew off the dust and repeated the steps with the next grit. By being more patient (not my strong suit), I'm getting better results.

    On use of lathe tools, I'm getting more comfortable by slowing down also - not the lathe speed - my "attack" of whatever I'm turning. One mistake I was making was using too low a speed while shaping. I'd get chatter and catches. When I used a higher speed and a lighter touch, I got smoother cuts. I'm a long way from having a piece in near finish condition with just lathe tools, but I keep practicing. Sandpaper is our friend!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
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  5. #5
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    v-I only went to harbor for the drill attachment. Ive been using abrasive resources paper and discs. I don't buy product from HF, but I broke the 2 inch disc holder so I wanted another for the drill.
    I ran the lathe under 150rpms this morning, almost when I pressed the lathe stopped running.
    Ill keep sanding.


    *nothing to do with this, but I have to mention this:this is long:
    back in 1977, my first full year completed at my store, then I was only an employee, when we went to close one night, there was a young woman, maybe 2 or 3 years younger than myself at that time, sitting on our front bench crying.
    She didn't speak English(we had a large Hispanic population in our area back then, and still today I understand), but she continued to cry.
    2 babies next to her.
    My partner/then my boss, spoke Spanish and got out of her her husband, abandoned her there and told her hed be right back, that was 8 hours ago.
    She was in this country only 4 or 5 weeks, and I guess her husband couldn't handle the children, whatever.
    she had no family, no friends, nothing.
    (this is a human interest story, nothing to do with woodworking, so follow if you want)
    My boss told her he would take her to a local hotel, give her money, pay for her room for a week, and tomorrow she should come to the store where hed have one of the Spanish speaking workers take her to a govt office and see if she can get help, at least housing.
    My boss was very generous. He was a superb fellow, treated me great, very generous to me when he retired. Just the type of person he was.
    Anyway, she remained a good customer needless to say for the next 30 years. She remarried, and then tradegy struck her, her new husband, another fine person, owned a small grocery store, and one night 2 thugs came in with a shotgun and blew his brains out even though witnesses said he didn't resist and gave them the money.
    The story was in the local newspapers, it was sad.
    She moved away, but every so often she would come in over thoseyears and say hello to me, as my boss, ex partner, passed away in 2000.

    fast forward after all that to today, after hf I headed over to Home depot to see if they had the 2 inch sanding attachment.
    someone tugs on my sweatshirt sleeve, it was her,R , and I cant believe she saw me and recognized me, since I don't think Ive seen her in 7 years at least.
    I never would have recognized her as she gained a ton of weight, and well, she was old, almost as old as me, and I still picture her as that young skinny woman crying on the bench.
    Life is good for her now, and I couldn't be more happy for her, and she again mentioned the generosity of my ex partner saved her and her children.
    sorry, just a nice story, incredible what a small world we live in. she was shopping with her oldest son, who looked around 40 years old to me, he was a tiny infant that day in the store.
    Last edited by allen levine; 11-13-2014 at 08:15 PM.
    Human Test Dummy

  6. #6
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    Thumbs down

    As usual Vaughn has good advice.

    I purchased Bill Grumbine's DVD Turned bowls made easy. I highly recommend it.

    He starts with the chain saw & goes from there. This DVD has very good instruction on bowl gouge technique. I haven't watched it in a number of years. But when I did watch it I had a TV right close to my lathe & watched & practiced & learned quite a bit which I may need to review because it's been a long time.


    http://wonderfulwood.com/
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bart Leetch View Post
    As usual Vaughn has good advice.

    I purchased Bill Grumbine's DVD Turned bowls made easy. I highly recommend it.

    He starts with the chain saw & goes from there. This DVD has very good instruction on bowl gouge technique. I haven't watched it in a number of years. But when I did watch it I had a TV right close to my lathe & watched & practiced & learned quite a bit which I may need to review because it's been a long time.


    http://wonderfulwood.com/

    I just watched a video of sanding a large bowl with the 2 inch drill sanding discs.

    It was how I sanded the other bowl I made, but I see the few mistakes I made, especially with the heavy handed approach I used today.
    Ill wait for the new sanding disc bit and move on from there. Theres plenty of wood in my garage I can butcher up in the meantime.
    I really want to torture myself so tomorrow Ill start cutting segmented pieces to glue up for another large bowl.
    That should keep me busy for a while.
    Human Test Dummy

  8. #8
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    Allen, don't fret the wood. There's plenty of it...it even grows on trees. What appear to be voids are probably pitch pockets typical of cherry. When it comes to re-chucking, a good tip is to use a pencil to outline the position of the chuck jaws and number the outline to match the corresponding number on the jaws. Then you can re-chuck in the same alignment. Also, if you take a bowl off the lathe or have to leave a partially finished turning for any length of time, it's a good idea to wrap it in a plastic bag to slow down drying. The blank I sent was still a bit green and will keep moving.
    That bowl has a nice shape but it looks to me like you started sanding too early and will have a tough and frustrating journey to finish. There is still plenty of thickness to play with there and I would suggest you investigate shear scraping as a means of removing the lines you are seeing. It will be good practice. Shear scraping involves taking light, whisper thin shavings that leave a smooth ready to sand surface. You can shear cut with a scraper (the small burr left after sharpening does the work), a negative rake scraper http://www.hiltonhandcraft.com/Artic...%20Scraper.pdf , or even your bowl gouge. Lots of YouTube vids on the subject. Here's one to get you started:


    As suggested, a couple of hours of one on one with an experienced turner will get you on the right track. Unfortunately, I can't offer that, but the next time you get the wanderlust come on down and I'll show you how I muddle through.

    Having been a stranger in many foreign places, I can relate to your story. Thanks for sharing.
    Last edited by Ted Calver; 11-13-2014 at 10:42 PM.

  9. #9
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    Very cool story, Allen. Thanks for telling it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Arnold View Post
    ...One mistake I was making was using too low a speed while shaping. I'd get chatter and catches. When I used a higher speed and a lighter touch, I got smoother cuts...
    You bring up a great point Bill. Things got a lot easier for me when I bumped the speed up a bit. I liken it to driving a car on a washboard road. At a certain speed, the ride smooths out and things become easier to control. The downside to the higher speed is that if you do get a catch, the results can be that much more dramatic. For this reason, it's a good idea to have your tool technique pretty well dialed in before cranking up the speed. And you should never turn at a speed that feels uncomfortable to you. I'm confident with my tool technique, haven't had a catch in years, but I see some guys turning at speeds I wouldn't even think of trying.

    Ted also brings up a good point about shear scraping. It's a great technique for fixing tool marks.
    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

  10. #10
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    Maybe one of these my help. I read all the other suggestions and some of these may be a duplication.

    Stay with the lowest grit (80?) until the lines/defects are gone. You said "but Im having a lot of sanding lines and Im not sure if going to lighter grits will eliminate them"; in my opinion nope. You should have uniform scratches from whatever grit you are using. Going to a finer grit just takes longer and uses more sandpaper.
    Once sanded you are only removing the scratches from the previous grit. The 80, 100, or if I'm lucky 120 grit takes the longest. After that it is probably < 1 minute for each additional grit (maybe 2 with your size bowl.
    Dampen the item with mineral spirits and look at it with the light parallel (even if it is a handheld flashlight). Sanding/tool/defects will show up much easier compared to overhead light.
    What the others said on backing off from heat. If your normal bowl is 8" and that is 16" then you have twice the amount of wood sliding against the sandpaper. For that size I have psa backed sandpaper on a roll and I apply a piece to a pad and sand by hand (lathe running); a 2.5"X4" is probably a lot less expensive for more area of sandpaper. You can also feel the heat if it starts to build up.

    I'm still trying to learn good sheer scraping so I can't offer a lot on that. It does take concentration. In Lyle Jamiesons video he states "sometimes I forget to breath" and in John Jordans "It's hard to do this and talk". May not be exact quotes but pretty close.

    1+ on Vinces supplies. Make sure you get plenty of low end grits. I probably go through 5 or 6 80/100 for each 180/240.

    Added
    I watched John Lucas video above and he shows the sheer scraping with Jordan's sheer scraper(about the 6 minute mark). I noticed Lucas did not talk during that particular "cut" either.
    Last edited by Mike Mills; 11-13-2014 at 10:41 PM.
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

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