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Cole-jaw extenders #3: Finish-turning the bowl

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Blog entry by BuckeyeDennis posted 04-11-2022 10:37 PM 502 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Making the extender segments Part 3 of Cole-jaw extenders series no next part

I finally finished up the applewood bowl last December, as a Christmas present for my wife. But first, after getting a little more hands-on experience with the Cole-jaw extenders, I made one final tweak to streamline their setup.

After a bowl is trued up, the “buffers” need to be set to a uniform radius. I found that the easiest technique was to set them all relative to the outside radii of the extender segments. So to true up those surfaces, I fully closed the chuck jaws and turned the OD of the entire assembly round. I experimented with using a sharp scraper to do this, but found that the plywood was too prone to chipping out on the trailing edges of the extender segments. So I switched over to “abrasive turning”, meaning that I propped a sanding block atop the lathe tool rest and sanded the OD round while the assembly was spinning.

Now I can use an ordinary combination square as a depth gauge, measuring to the backside of the buffer. To position the buffers, I like to place them outboard of their final positions and tighten the mounting screws just enough to provide a small amount of sliding resistance. Then I use the combination square blade to push them into their final positions. When the head contacts the extender segments, the buffers are properly positioned, and ready to lock down.

At maximum buffer radius, that big washer can stick out past the end of extender segment and interfere with the head of the combo square. In that case, I simply reference off the backside of the WoodAnchor sliding nut instead of the buffer, and the combo square fits nicely beneath the washer. The buffer and washer are normally in place when I do this, but I removed them for the pic below just so that the nut is visible.

Now to finish up that bowl! The first order of business was to finish-turn the bottom of the bowl, and true up the tenon. The thickness variation of the unturned “rim” shows just how out of round the bowl was after drying.

Now, with the tenon trued up, I can flip the bowl around and chuck up on the tenon. The pic below was taken after finish-turning the inside of the bowl, refining the bottom curves a bit, and applying a few coats of satin wipe-on poly. Instead of just putting a flat on a roundish bowl bottom, I decided to leave a small “pedestal” for visual interest.

Now it’s time to get rid of the tenon, so back into the Cole-jaw extenders the bowl goes. When I see turners removing tenons from large bowls on YouTube videos, they usually cut it off with a hand saw, and then flatten and smooth the bowl base with a sander. But the Cole-jaw extenders enabled me to simply turn it off, which is a much nicer process.

Before:

And after:

Having seen my lame attempt at using a Sharpie to sign the base of a bowl that I turned for my daughter, my wife had taken pity on me the previous Christmas and bought me a personalized branding iron. I hadn’t used it yet, but this was definitely the time to do so! After playing with the head temperature and contact time, I finally managed a couple of decent practice brands in a row. So I held my breath and proceeded to brand the pedestal base. Then back the bowl went into the Cole jaws, where I turned an accent groove around the brand, and applied finish to the base.

I’ll close this story with a couple of beauty pics of the finished bowl. My daughter found a great bowl arrangement photo on the internet, and we shamelessly stole their staging idea. After all, who could argue with putting apples in an applewood bowl? My daughter did the fruit arrangement, and I did the photography.

Thanks for reading!

-- Dennis 'We are all faced with a series of great opportunities, brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.' Charles Swindoll



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