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Thread: How long does it take to hollow out a small hollow form?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Southern Indiana

    How long does it take to hollow out a small hollow form?

    I have been reading these forums for a few months now but this is my first postasking about turning. I am new to turning, about 8 months now, a Jet mini. I have made several dozen pens nad gett very good at them, a couple bottle stoppers and 4-5 bowls ( I still need to work on using a bowl gouge).

    I have started a small maple hollow form, the wood is dry. It seems like I can spend hours on it and get now where. I tried the Sorby Hollow Master and the Oneway Termite, both very hard to control for a beginner, lots of catches. I resently purchased a Mini Moster and it works much better no catches, but it still seems very slow.

    How long does it usually take to hollow out a form. The one that I am working on is about 5x5.

    Thanks, Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Goodland, Kansas
    What kind of wood are you turning? It depends with me since I have did several but it might take me 1 to 3 hrs. depending on how hard the wood is. The first one took me a long time because it was dry. Green wood is a lot easier to work with and hollowing is less time consuming. I take my time when hollowing.
    Last edited by Bernie Weishapl; 04-04-2008 at 03:02 AM.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: That’s when you return from work one day
    and say, “Hi, Honey, I’m home – forever.”

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  3. #3

    That is why watching even a master turner do a hollowing demo is like watching grass grow. It is a slow process. A 5" form would take me 1-2 hours to hollow. But I'm a slow turner in general.

    Do you have the laser rig on your mini-monster? That will save you some measuring time, but you still need to stop often to clear shavings and take small cuts. The rig will reduce the "stress" of a catch, but your form can blow to pieces just the same.

    The Ellsworth and Jordan hollow turning DVDs are well worth watching.

    BTW, I have the big brother to your system on order!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Mike, I'll pretty much echo what the other guys have said. A lot depends on the wood, but with a green 5 x 5 blank I'm guessing the rough hollowing is anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, then potentially that much time again after it's dried doing the finish turning. (And then there's sanding time to add to that.) I'm using the large Monster articulating arm rig on a PM 3520B. I've only been turning hollow forms for a bit more than a year, but I am definitely faster now than when I was just starting.

    David's right...if you try to push the hollowing tools too hard, you can still blow up the piece, so it's a good idea not to get in too much of a hurry.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Drums, PA
    Really depends on what you are turning. (BTW, I use the Kelton hand held hollowers)

    When I turn a 4" box, which is really a mini hollow form, I can rough hollow to about 5% of my finial dimension in about 15-20 minutes. I let it sit for a few days then spend another 1/2 to 1-1/2 hours finishing up the box. So a few days total.

    The last hollow form I turned was about 6"-7" tall, green curly maple. Less than an hour to rough turn it, a year later I finished it, I'm guessing 1-2 hours. This one took me about a year.

    But the bottom line is this, unless you are a production turner that needs to meet a deadline, it really doesn't matter how long it takes. It's supposed to be fun, remember?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I like Oneway Termite tool a lot and I never had a catch with it. This tool is for End-grain hollowing though, so make sure that you have the grain orientation right.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Harvey, Michigan
    Mike - since you are hollowing dry wood - I'll only address that. Knowing what you are doing, using the correct and 'sharp' cutters and not counting the sanding time - I would think you would be able to have the maple 5x5 hollowed in 2 hours or less.

    Seeing as how you are starting out I have to ask which cutter(s) you are using with the Mini-Monster? Super hard & dry maple can be a challenge to hollow. I would suggest using the small 1/8" cutter and take light cuts until you get a feel for it. Make sure the cutter is making contact inside the hollow form at the center line - anything above or below that point will cause catches. If the cutter is properly sharpened you should have shavings when cutting - not dust. If you have dust - it's time to sharpen again.

    As far as sharpening - a lot of folks hone the edge - a practice I have never mastered. I remove the cutter and take it over to the grinder and just touch it up. I use a 150 grit wheel and a light touch so I don't remove much metal. One of the ways you will recognize that your cutter is getting dull is you will notice that you are starting to apply pressure in order for the tool to work. With a sharp cutter you will get instant shavings - sort of like comparing a razor to a butter knife - both will cut with enough pressure!

    Well, thats a starting point. If you still are having problems let us know as there are some really good turners here that I am sure will be able to answer your questions.

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