My lathe journeys.

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Blog series by JoeinGa updated 10-24-2016 10:30 PM 49 parts 85900 reads 429 comments total

Part 1: New lathe and first bowl

11-15-2014 02:39 PM by JoeinGa | 0 comments »

I’m thinking I really like working with the lathe, and I wanted to have a way to keep track of what and when I post “stuff” that I turn. I wish I had done my first bowl as a blog, but I didn’t. So to keep some semblance of order for my own purposes, I’ll start this blog for my lathe work. The first bowl I made was posted as a forum listing, and no sense repeating everything again. So here’s the link. Now IR...

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Part 2: Bowl #2, much improvement

11-15-2014 03:43 PM by JoeinGa | 9 comments »

Ok, so I’m thinking that I’m REALLY gonna like turning stuff on a lathe. My first attempt was ok, but in my opinion not great. LOTS of errors that hopefully I learned from. Which is what we’re SUPPOSED to do, right? So here’s bowl #2. This one is from some 4/4 maple that someone gave me. I started with four 8” X 8” blanks glued together, and added two 6” squares to use as a mount for the faceplate. Next was to cut ‘em into a kinda-sorta circl...

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Part 3: Oh man. I'm really diggin' this

11-29-2014 11:19 PM by JoeinGa | 4 comments »

This lathe work is GREAT FUN! I dont know WHY I waited so long to get into it! My daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter are here for the holidays and today was a sort of ”rest up from all the eating, shopping, eating, cooking for the men’s breakfast at church this morning, eating Thanksgiving leftovers, hanging out in front of the TV and eating some more, and just generally enjoying our granddaughter” kind of a day. About mid-day they all wanted to take a nap, but ...

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Part 4: Bowl #3 ... Gimmie some lip

12-03-2014 07:02 PM by JoeinGa | 7 comments »

OK, we all know how this works. We start with some wood, cut it into squares and glue it up. In this case the wood is maple.. .. Then, after cutting it into a more rounded shape on the band saw, we mount it on the lathe and start turning.... First thought was that this was gonna be like a salad bowl. Nothing fancy, just a plain, basic bowl....Unfortunately I took one heck of a chunk out of the rim, so after having to turn out that BIG BOO-BOO, it’s gonna be a FANCY salad bowl ...

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Part 5: ...Bowl #4 ... getting more practice in

12-05-2014 04:52 PM by JoeinGa | 4 comments »

For my fellow LumberJocks, I realize that you already know the basics of setup and getting started on the lathe, but I also cross-post these to Facebook and some of my non-woodworking friends have asked me to show the “steps” in making bowls. This time the wood is maple and oak in alternating layers. Same basic setup as the last bowl, glue up the square boards first, cut ‘em into a rounded shape on the bandsaw, then mount it on the lathe and start turning. .....This one...

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Part 6: ...Bowl #5 ... bark on, and a big BONK !

12-05-2014 08:33 PM by JoeinGa | 5 comments »

Yesterday, while I was waiting for the Tung oil to soak into the last bowl, I spotted a small log that a friend from church had given me. He said it was blackgum and suggested I try turning it while it was still green (freshly cut). So what the heck…. I screwed it to the faceplate and just sorta figured I’d see where it led me. Well after about two minutes of turning the tool grabbed a bit of bark and this thing popped off the faceplate. It jumped up and BONKED me on the for...

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Part 7: ... 'nother bowl... natural heavy

12-17-2014 05:00 PM by JoeinGa | 5 comments »

I have several logs of black gum and oak that were given to me. They were only cut 2 or 3 weeks ago, so I put some old paint on the ends and stacked them outside the shop to dry. Sunday in church the guy that gave it to me suggested that I might like to try and turn a piece of that gum while it was still wet. He said ” it’ll turn WAY EASIER than that dry oak and maple boards you’ve been gluing together.” So I figured why not? ... I cut off a piece of the gum about 1...

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Part 8: ... next one.. Other half of that heavy, wet log.

12-26-2014 08:59 PM by JoeinGa | 3 comments »

So I took the other half of that wet log I did last week and turned it too. ... This log was also 12” long and about 9” across the flat side. It’s black gum. I got one side a bit thin and a chunk of bark came flying off. I didn’t do any “action shots” while I was turning, so here’s the bowl. ........These next two shots show how the grain lined up when it was still one piece. The little white specks are from the rag I’ve been using to slath...

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Part 9: Pecan bowl. Looks like a dog bowl :-)

01-24-2015 12:52 AM by JoeinGa | 4 comments »

This pecan is some that a co-worker gave me back in 2012. The slices are about 10” wide and just over 2” thick. So I cut a couple pieces and glued ‘em up. Tried to match the grain hoping it will give an interesting look. ....As I was turning it, I took a pretty healthy chunk from the side at the top, so it ended up being wider at the bottom. ...I’m pleased with how it turned out, but this shape reminds me of a dog’s water bowl. :-). ..And yeah, it DOES have s...

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Part 10: Just a couple of small bowls.

01-24-2015 01:03 AM by JoeinGa | 7 comments »

The one on the left is maple. I “clocked” every other piece to have the grain running opposite on each slice. The bowl on the right is a piece of 4X4 I cut from an old fence post. It’s kinda ugly but it gave me more practice (which is what I still need a LOT of)..... ....

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Part 11: ... Maple , walnut, & oak.

01-27-2015 09:23 PM by JoeinGa | 4 comments »

Made this one for a good friend who turned 70 last weekend. Geeze, we ARE getting old, aren’t we :-).Stacked up and glued a few pieces of wood, ....Cut the blocks into a “sorta round” shape and super-glued a small piece of 2X4 to it for a turning base. I usually dont have any idea what will come from the block once I start turning. I just start cutting and see what “feels right”. ...Here’s what it looks like with 3 coats of Danish oil. ...And here’s t...

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Part 12: ... Pecan & maple. I REALLY like how this one came out

01-27-2015 09:43 PM by JoeinGa | 8 comments »

Back in 10aSEE (April of 2012) a co-worker gave me a log of pecan that had fallen in his yard. He tried to slice it up with a chain saw and got discouraged so he asked if I wanted it. Well, heck yeah! So I found a local sawmill up there and he sliced it up for me. ...Hard to tell in the picture, but that big saw blade up there is almost 7 feet tall. . ..And here’s what I ended up with....So now it’s been almost 3 years, time to see what I’ve been holding on to. ..Didn...

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Part 13: ... from 2 X 12 floor joist to bowl. Who knew?

01-28-2015 08:26 PM by JoeinGa | 7 comments »

Who ever dreamed that a 2 X 12 pressure treated floor joist could look so nice? . Interesting how the grain lined up on one end, but not the other. I know a lot of folks say turning pine is a pain, but this was just another little something so I could get more practice. It actually wasn’t that bad to turn. And it was plenty dry so it shouldn’t crack or split. (fingers crossed) The finished bowl is right at 10” across the top.......

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Part 14: ... small P.T. pine bowl. Got any spare change?

01-28-2015 08:36 PM by JoeinGa | 1 comment »

Here’s another (smaller) piece of pressure treated pine, sitting on a maple base. Just getting more practice in. Finished with Danish oil topped with 2 coats of spray lacquer. The wood was plenty dry, it’s been lying in my shop for over a year. Started out life as a 2 X 12 floor joist, but now it’s a bowl. It’s just over 5” across the top. ......

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Part 15: ... Couple more bowls.... practice, practice, practice.

02-06-2015 08:23 PM by JoeinGa | 3 comments »

You all know the drill… Here’s the pix. Here’s the first one..........And now the 2nd one.......And I dont know about you guys, but I just love that “WOW” factor when you first wipe the oil on a dry piece of sanded wood and the grain just POPS !..

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Part 16: ... faceplate mount using notebook paper. Who knew? :-)

02-11-2015 12:47 AM by JoeinGa | 13 comments »

A few weeks back I asked about this method of using paper to put on the mounting block for turning on the lathe. Got a bunch of good answers. (Thanks!) And yesterday I finally got around to trying it. First I tried using superglue …. the block popped off after just a few minutes of turning. I dunno, perhaps I didn’t use enough glue?So I re-mounted the piece with paper using Titebond II. Well. waddya know. It works! ...Just a few easy taps on the chisel and it came right off. San...

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Part 17: ... 'nother bowl, a pecan "platter"

02-15-2015 10:57 PM by JoeinGa | 7 comments »

Started out with a slab of pecan. About 11” X 9” X 1.75”thick. Thought I might try for some sort of “dish” instead of a bowl this time. .....It’s got some cracks and voids on the sides that I know I’ll have to deal with later....As I started turning, I realize that if I keep turning till it’s round, this is gonna wind up pretty small, so I figured if I left 2 of the sides “flat” it might be sorta rectangle shaped when finished. ...Ye...

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Part 18: ... More pecan. A bowl this time.

02-16-2015 09:03 PM by JoeinGa | 5 comments »

Glued 2 small slabs of pecan together, one piece has a pretty nasty crack in it. I’m gonna try using a mix of superglue and sawdust to fix this one....Once I had the basic shape coming along, I tried mixing superglue and sawdust together BEFORE putting it in the crack. BZZZZZZZ!! Wrong answer. It sets up too fast to be able to work with it. Figured out the trick is to put DRY sawdust in the crack , then drizzle the glue into it, and repeat this process several times to build it up. (A...

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Part 19: ... bowl (or chalice?) more pecan & maple

02-24-2015 05:47 PM by JoeinGa | 5 comments »

More bowls, more practice. Here’s another with pecan over maple. This one is 7” tall and 6” wide at the top. These first 3 pix are with just 2 coats of Danish oil......And these 3 shots are after 3 coats of spray lacquer was put on. .....Did you notice that big flat side on the rim? That happened when my tool caught a crack and sent a big chunk flying. At first I was tempted to throw it against the wall, but thought I’d try to see if I could save it in some way. Didn&...

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Part 20: ... was gonna turn a vase, ended up with a cup! :-)

02-24-2015 08:08 PM by JoeinGa | 12 comments »

Glued up layers of maple and cedar. Figured the red/white would make a nice contrast in the colors. ....Had in my mind to turn a vase, wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. But the more I turned, fighting my way thru some pretty nasty catches with the tool, it soon became clear that this was NOT gonna be a vase. ...Because of a few cracks in the maple that I didn’t see when gluing up the blanks, I had to take a lot from the lower-middle section, so it started looking more like a b...

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Part 21: ... wife's birthday present. Light-n-Dark

02-25-2015 08:51 PM by JoeinGa | 6 comments »

Bonnie has always liked the contrast between the light colored woods and the dark colors. So I decided to make something for her birthday (which is today). I started out with a somewhat tall piece but somewhere along the way it just didn’t look “right”. If I had kept with the original plan, it would have looked something along the lines of this…....But long before it got to the finishing stage I decided to go in another direction. If you look closely, you can see it a...

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Part 22: ... Tupelo gum w/ natural edge. This stuff was nice to turn.

02-28-2015 05:16 PM by JoeinGa | 10 comments »

This is a piece of the Tupelo gum which was given to me by a friend at church. I asked him if there was another name for this wood and he said some folks call it black gum. The tree doesn’t put off those little burr cones like sweet gum, but it’s in the same family. This piece was a “half of a log” that I sanded a flat spot on the bark side and mounted it on the lathe. When I started to turn it, I noticed it was off center by a bit. So only one side has any bark le...

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Part 23: .... DIY carbide lathe tools ... I shoulda done this sooner :-)

03-19-2015 11:46 PM by JoeinGa | 19 comments »

After reading a LOT of threads here about folks making their own carbide turning tools, I thought I’d give it a go. So last week I ordered some square cutters from Capt Eddie and dug thru my metal pile and found a few pieces of 5/8” square 2024 aluminum sticks left over from some long ago project.....While waiting for the cutters to come in I started doing the rough shaping on my 12” disc sander, using 120 grit paper. ....According to an Internet search I did, the 2024 alum...

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Part 24: ... Crime scene pix, not for the squemish!

03-20-2015 04:27 PM by JoeinGa | 12 comments »

Catastrophe !!! . The question is always not “IF” it will happen, but “WHEN” it will happen. Well it finally happened to me..I started out with a maple and cedar sandwich....Cut out an 11” circle and spent 4 hours turning and sanding what WOULD have been a beautiful 2.5” deep bowl. .. .. I had just put on the 2nd coat of Tung oil and had picked it up to move it from my bench and I FUMBLED IT ! As it slipped from my hands I almost caught it, but...

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Part 25: ...Christmas bowl that split, here's the replacement.

03-20-2015 11:26 PM by JoeinGa | 5 comments »

I had made a bowl for my son-in-law for Christmas, but unfortunately I had used a fresh cut piece of wood and it split while in the gift box before he even got to unwrap it. . If interested, you can see THAT fiasco here … still had the other half of the branch I used and I waited a few months to let it dry out. So a few days ago I turned a replacement to send him. ..I made a maple base for it and turned the new bowl. Here’s how the rep...

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Part 26: ... Been busy past few weeks. Practice, practice, practice.

03-25-2015 12:28 PM by JoeinGa | 6 comments »

I’ve been doing quite a bit of turning these past few weeks. I’ve been turning out a bowl every few days. The oil and lacquer coats take longer than the actual turning time, what with having to wait for drying times. Any hoooooo… Rather than make separate blog posts for all these, I figure I’ll put them here a couple at a time....These 2 bowls came from the same cypress log. When I was given this piece it had been sitting in a guys shop for almost 10 years, It had s...

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Part 27: ... Get served lemons? Make lemonade!

03-25-2015 12:56 PM by JoeinGa | 7 comments »

This one started out to be an 11” bowl. I glued together 3 layers of 4/4 maple. Unfortunately when I was turning it the dang tool caught it BIG TIME and threw it on the floor. Took a chunk out of the bottom too deep to fix. I wasn’t taking pictures at that time so there’s no evidence it even happened. My first reaction was to toss it into the burn pile, but I set it on a shelf and over a few days I pondered it’s fate. I knew there was no way it could ever be a bowl....

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Part 28: ... made new carbide tools, now with handles :-)

04-07-2015 03:49 PM by JoeinGa | 11 comments »

A few weeks ago I posted that I had ordered some carbide cutters from Capt. Eddie and made a cutter bar using 5/8” aluminum barstock. For the grips, I used some sports wrap that I found At Wally World.... The tool does what it’s supposed to, enough to see that I did like using the carbide cutters. So I decided to make a couple new ones and this time I made wood handles. These pieces of walnut and mahogany came from an old entertainment center I broke down. The pieces were alre...

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Part 29: .. First thing I turned with the new lathe.

05-16-2015 09:53 PM by JoeinGa | 11 comments »

New lathe, all set up and ready to go and I realize I dont have any blanks glued up to turn bowls … CRAP ! Looking around the shop to see what I can try out I spy a branch of walnut someone gave me last year. It’s been in his shop for a coupe years and is good to go. I still have some of that 5/8” aluminum bar stock that I used to make carbide tools with, so why not make another and this can be a handle? So I cut off about 11” and put it between the centers. ...It was...

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Part 30: .. "Hey buddy. How do I get to Carnagie Hall?"

06-15-2015 10:01 PM by JoeinGa | 9 comments »

... “Practice, practice, practice!” Yup, and that’s the same answer for “How do I get better on the lathe?” :-) So I been doing a lot of practicing on my new lathe. I’m really digging this bad boy, and what a DIFFERENCE from that old POS I was using! I can readily see why someone would get discouraged who was just starting out on one of those. So here’s some of what I’ve been doing… in no particular order ............... .IR...

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Part 31: ... More practicing, more bowls.

06-15-2015 10:20 PM by JoeinGa | 13 comments »

Been spending a lot of time on the new lathe. Here’s some of what I’ve been doing.............. .

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Part 32: Just a funky little bowl

07-29-2015 06:24 PM by JoeinGa | 6 comments »

This one is a piece of that black gum someone gave me. I rough turned it maybe 4 or 5 months back and it warped like crazy! The bowl stayed basically round, but the top lip did anything BUT stay flat. I actually like the way it is so all I did was mount it back up and turn the sides a bit thinner and deeper. . It came from a small branch crotch similar to this, and you can see where the branch grew thru it on both sides. ....And here’s a few random pix of the finished piece. ... ...

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Part 33: ... Making new lathe tool handles.

08-06-2015 05:51 PM by JoeinGa | 9 comments »

..Back when I first started turning, I bought a set of Freud turning tools from Ebay. They were cheap enough ($75) that I thought in case I decided I didn’t like wood turning, I wasn’t into the tools too deep. They’re not anything to write home about, but at least they got me started. That said, now that I’ve been using them a while, they’re just TOO DANG SHORT, and way too thin in my hand. They’re only 16” overall. Since I started making my own c...

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Part 34: ... One log, three bowls

08-06-2015 06:21 PM by JoeinGa | 15 comments »

..A friend gave me a cedar log that had been lying on the ground next to his barn for about 10 years. I took it home, pressure washed all the sand and CRUD off it and figured I might be able to get 4 or 5 bowls from it. Turns out, on one end the center core was rotted out almost 18” into the log. Once I started slicing it up, the rotted end was too far gone to save, but I did get three nice bowls from the rest of it. On the two that I cut into the end grain I left the outside as n...

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Part 35: ... Bean pot bowl

08-08-2015 02:46 PM by JoeinGa | 14 comments »

. This is the biggest bowl I’ve made to date. Reminds me of a bean pot LOL! Maple and cedar. Some interesting observations: Gluing up the flat blanks took one day.Turning the bowl took a total of about 4 hours.Finishing (one coat of Tung oil and about 6 coats of rattle-can lacquer) took over a week! ..Here’s some more pictures. ........It just over 9” across and about 6” tall. Thanks for looking. Comments welcomed !..

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Part 36: ... Dang! That was a hard "catch" !

08-30-2015 12:23 AM by JoeinGa | 10 comments »

So I’m turning my latest bowl. It’ll be the biggest one yet that I’ve done. Everything is going along fairly well and I can only guess ( in hindsight ) that I must have shifted my weight and leaned in a bit too much, because all of a sudden … BANG! The tool catches and next thing I know I’m holding only HALF of the tool! YIKES! Made me jump when it happened. .Looking at the pix you can see that my glue joint actually held, it was the walnut that snapped. .......

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Part 37: ... Salad bowl? or Bean pot?

08-30-2015 12:39 AM by JoeinGa | 11 comments »

This is the biggest bowl (size-wise) that I’ve made yet to date. It’s just over 5” deep but it’s just a bit more than 1” wider than that other “bean pot” I turned. This one is layered (top to bottom) with maple, oak, cedar, oak, and maple. Wiped a coat of BLO on it before spraying it with about 6 coats of rattle-can lacquer. Here’s several angles of the finished product. ..... ..AFTER I had glued up the slices of wood, I noticed the bottom ...

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Part 38: ... Replaced the lathe handle I broke.

09-16-2015 02:31 PM by JoeinGa | 11 comments »

I broke one of my home made lathe handles a few weeks ago. You can see that here. .I finally got around to making a replacement. I used the bandsaw and my 12” disc sander to get the broken piece off the shaft. This tool is right at 24” long. I’m not 100% sure but I THINK this is a piece of the fig tree that I cut down. Anyway, here it is. ....As usual, comments welcomed. Thanks for looking.

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Part 39: ... Made a new lathe tool rest

09-16-2015 03:24 PM by JoeinGa | 10 comments »

I’ve been using the “standard” tool rest that came with the lathe, it’s that basic piece of cast “pot metal”. I actually have several sizes but they’re all made of the same cheap crap. ...I’ve been oogling those nice ones made from round steel stock, but Boy-howdy! are they ever proud of them things! Well, yesterday I broke one of the cheap ones I had. This one was not actually cast from one piece, but the head is held onto the stem with a s...

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Part 40: ... Pine? Really? THAT'S pine??

09-22-2015 01:08 PM by JoeinGa | 20 comments »

Who knew that pine might look nice as a bowl/dish/whatever? First I glued up 2 pieces of 1”X12” shelving boards. I used a glue-block for mounting and had a couple issues when I took the mounting block off the back, had to use a bit of filler. . ..Here’s what the 1st one came out looking like. (I’ll show you the bottom with the filler a bit further down)...Next I glued up 3 pieces of the 1X12 and decided to try to do this one as a sort of square, winged dish. ....Th...

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Part 41: I really HAVE been turning... here's proof :-)

03-18-2016 02:10 PM by JoeinGa | 11 comments »

Ok, SO Mark Wilson called me out. He “casually mentioned” in another post that I haven’t posted any of my lathe works since October. Truth be known, I hadn’t realized it had been that long. I was posting so much for a while that I kinda got tired of the effort it took to do these blogs. Side-note… kudos to you folks that do the daily blogs (lookin’ at you Sheila! ) I dont think I’d have the wherewithal to do that every day. But I do enjoy reading ...

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Part 42: ... Curved carbide tool, for gettin' in deep

03-26-2016 12:53 PM by JoeinGa | 13 comments »

A friend (and fellow turner) mentioned in church last Sunday that he’d watched a youtube vid of someone using a lathe tool with a curved end for easier access to the inside of a bowl. I had made him a carbide tool last year and he asked me if I thought I could make a curved one. He thought that because I have been using that thick 5/8” aluminum bar stock that I might not be able to bend it. Well, challenge accepted ! Here’s the progression of how it went….. The ...

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Part 43: ... Plywood bowl

03-27-2016 08:01 PM by JoeinGa | 5 comments »

I’ve been seeing some of you turning plywood. I know that most of what I’ve seen so far is the segmented turnings, but I haven’t tried that yet. So I’m gonna start with a simple glue-up and try to not kill myself doing this. Here’s what I’m starting with, will probably take a week or so before I get it done ......That’s 6 layers of 3/4” birch ply. I usually dont wear a face shield when I turn, but I’ll wear it to start this one and see ...

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Part 44: ... Using the Cole Jaws

03-27-2016 08:05 PM by JoeinGa | 8 comments »

Here’s the first thing I’ve tried on my new Cole Jaws. It wasn’t quite centered so I had to move it a couple times till I got comfortable with it. This is a piece or cedar that I have. ...

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Part 45: ... couple more bowls. Maple & cedar.

04-03-2016 10:17 PM by JoeinGa | 11 comments »

I really like the way the colors of the maple and cedar compliment each other. So here’s a couple more that I put the final finish coat on yesterday. Each of them is approximately 9.5” across and 3” tall. I’ll be sending these to my daughter and she’ll take them to the “Arts & Craps” fair next weekend. ........And I dont remember if I posted this one yet, but it REALLY came out nice. It’s cedar & pecan. I left some of the chainsaw marks...

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Part 46: ... new rack for the lathe tools.

04-04-2016 08:09 PM by JoeinGa | 8 comments »

First off, a big LJs “THANK YOU” to David ( ) for the idea. I TOLD you I was gonna steal it! :-) Here’s the one David made… This is what I did last year when I got the lathe.. ..But after awhile I realized the tools were a bit too close together for comfort. One or two pokes while reaching for a tool convinced me of that. So here’s my version of the one David made.......It is on a tur...

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Part 47: ... few more bowls for the sale

04-08-2016 01:34 AM by JoeinGa | 9 comments »

So tomorrow I’m heading across the state to join my daughter who has got a booth at an “Arts-N-Craps” fair. I’ll be bringing a few more birdhouses and 7 or 8 bowls with me to add to the inventory. These are what I’ve finished in the past few months...Realized I had another piece of cedar log and I got 4 more pieces out of it. ....This one is black gum. About 8.5” across and 5” high. Where you see the dip in the rim is almost paper thin. This piece fl...

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Part 48: ... Results from the Arts & Craps Fair this weekend

04-11-2016 12:58 PM by JoeinGa | 13 comments »

Some of you do read my drivel, so this is a follow up to the Arts Fair I went to this past weekend. I’ve posted before that I really don’t have much interest in sitting out in the sun for a day or two trying to sell the bowls and things I make, but my wife and daughter concocted a plan whereby my daughter would be my “Sales Agent” (for a small cut of course :-) . She went to our first fair 2 weekends ago and did surprisingly well. More than once she was told that we ...

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Part 49: My aluminum lathe tools, how're they holding up?

10-24-2016 10:30 PM by JoeinGa | 23 comments »

I made my own lathe tools using 5/8” aluminum bar stock. You can see the previous posts about them here…. folks have asked me how the aluminum has held up as far as getting gouged or bent from banging against the tool rest. So today I took a few pictures. As you can see, there really isn’t much more than surface scuffing on the tooling. I have had some pretty hard catches, but th...

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