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Thread: A day that changed wood turning for me forever

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    A day that changed wood turning for me forever

    Yesterday i had the fortune to be able to take up Ed Thomas on his offer to teach me how to turn those couch legs i am determined to make versus buy.

    Well what can i say and where to begin.

    First Ed is a really great guy and incredibly competent in many more things than simply turning wood.

    We started in the morning and time flew by. I immediately realized that i knew A BIG FAT ZERO about turning wood. What i thought i knew was all wrong.

    Have i made some things on the lathe , yes, did i enjoy making them , yes and no. Did i do them with any kind of technique absolutely not. The consequence is the missing excitement that most of you spinny guys get was well missing for me.

    That all changed yesterday. What i wish to say to anyone that has not had any one on one tutoring on the lathe and considers themselves a hacker like i am, is get to have some one on one time with a REAL turner.

    Many years ago when i first joined the forum, i had an epiphany when i first sharpened my Dads old WW2 chisels. There were two parts to that experience. The first was the initial sharpening, which was ok but was still MEH and i could not understand at that time what the fuss was about in regards to sharp chisels. Then somewhere along the line i got to find out about scary sharp and when i then used the chisel i could understand.

    Well yesterday was the exact same epiphany for turning. I hope i never get too old to stop feeling the excitement and giddyness in ones stomach when you first experience these things.

    I wont go into the long list of take aways because i would then be writing a book. Lets just say flatly in the words of Manual from Faulty Towers .....I knowa nuthing.

    Well not quiet true now i know what i need to practice on and how to go about it. And this is only in the category of spindle turning.

    Something that hit me was that spinny work is essentially high speed wood carving with gouges but with trying to control at high speed where the cut takes place.

    However unlike carving where you can follow a tracing on the wood, in turning a curve one really needs to get a grip on where the curve starts and ends ( in my case what a proper curve is , THEN what the heck the motion is that is going to get your cutting edge to follow that path and do it in stages to get to where you need to be.

    Ed also got me to see that it did not need to be a white nuckle ride when you trying to take some wood off a rotating cylinder.

    Oh there is so much that by the end of the day between my darn knee killing me and all i was taking in i was pretty tired but in a great way.

    BIG THANKS TO ED THOMAS, Ed you changed my turning days. Now its down to doing some practice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Hands on instruction can't be got from YouTube! Glad you guys were able to get together. It sounds like the sore knee was well worth it

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
    Until I went to LV and took a course, anything I turned on the lathe looked like it had been chewed by the dog. I actually thought that the tools didn't have to be particularly sharp because of the speed the lathe turned at! The course was more than worth the money, especially as my daughter and son-in-law paid for it. Turning is the most fun I can have outdoors with my clothes on; it's a great hobby. I need to do more of it.

    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    So Rob, now you are hooked on, Larry warned you about it LOL, so I can see your next Xmas tree full of turned ornaments and maybe turned elks?.

    Glad you enjoyed the lesson and had a good time, seeing is believing says the sentence.
    Best regards,

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________
    web site:
    I also dream of a shop with north light where my hands can be busy, my soul rest and my mind wander...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean

    Have a good trip through spinney land!

    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Very cool, Rob, and way to go, Ed! Rob, you are in good company...there are a lot of folks who have turned for years without realizing they were missing the real fun because they were doing things wrong. One of the cool things about turning is that we get to have those epiphanies over and over as we pick up new skill sets. Or at least I know I do. And I still have a lot of areas where I'm uneducated and un-practiced.
    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
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Good deal! Glad its clicking because its to much fun to not get it

    The white knuckle comment strikes a chord, everyone wants to start there and it just makes it more difficult. Its also true with carving and a lot of other things as well (knot work and braiding come to mind, loml says wool spinning is the same way). I think I finally started to kind of "get it" in that regard when I realized I was taking a super thing finish planing cut with a bowl gouge and my front hand wasn't really doing anything after the tool was placed into the cut. It was just there for moral support... hmm.. interesting.. Then I realized that the same thing was mostly true with most skew cuts as well.. Not that I'm saying to take your front hand off of the tool, just that it ends up not doing as much as you'd think it ought to. The spindle detail gouge on the other hand.. Grrrr... I don't know why its not clicking, maybe its my grind (yeah must be :P).

    Your carving epiphany rings true as well. That's one reason (less clearly articulated ) that I encourage folks to try cuts with the tool and the lathe off. You can see how the cut works without the speed of the thing getting in your way. Its analogous to learning to ski without using poles in some obtuse way that makes a good analogy in my head and less so once written out. Anyway I found that the turning knowledge had a definite cross over to some carving and vice-versa once I thought about it that way.

    The better anti-fatigue mat has done wonders for my knees ability to handle a longish turning session, I tried a couple others and the one that came with my powermatic is still the nicest I have (no idea what it actually is though!?!).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Humid Gulf Coast
    Congratulations on that
    It's kind of fun to do the impossible

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Wapakoneta, OH
    Your experience confirms what everyone is telling me: you need a little hands on instruction. I've been struggling for a little over a year to trrn something, and haven't progressed past making square sticks into (not very) round ones. Unfortunately I'm a distance from any such help (or turning clubs) so will continue to struggle (or give it up). Glad to hear of your success.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    fred you may not be so far from help as you might think do some searching and you might be surprised.. jonathans gathering is only 3 hrs away, and there will be lathes and turners there i am sure..
    Last edited by larry merlau; 01-12-2015 at 03:11 PM.
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

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