Walnut hollow form start to finish #2: Shaping the vessel

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Blog entry by jeffthewoodwacker posted 10-06-2009 12:29 AM 4856 reads 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Blank prep Part 2 of Walnut hollow form start to finish series Part 3: Finish time »

I got an early start today as I want to finish this piece and get two more rough turned. Lumberjocks Steven and Roper both brought up good points about putting a plastic bag over the piece if it was going to sit overnight to prevent cracks and checks. Since this wood has been stored in the barn since early in the year I decided to not cover it and see what would happen. Inspected the piece this morning and there were no checks, cracks or splits – probably wouldn’t gamble again and would wrap the piece with a plastic bag. Before I turn a piece I draw up what I visualize the finished vessel will look like. I want this piece to be about 10” in diameter and 9” high with a lip at the opening. To give the piece a different look the sapwood will be at the bottom and the heartwood will be at the top. SAFETY – I always wear eye protection and use dust protection when I turn. A lot of time is spent making sure the piece is securely mounted either between centers or in the chuck. I start turning at slow speed and work my way up in speed as the piece gets balanced.

I have rough turned the piece between centers and am ready to reverse chuck it onto my Nova chuck

The piece has now been secured in the Nova chuck being held by the tenon that I cut. I have spent some time refining the shape and it is getting close the the final form.

The piece is now turned to the final shape and ready for hollowing. I will do some light sanding and make sure there are no defects in the wood. This piece has dried nicely in the barn – almost no moisture!

The finish process that will be used on this piece will be 4-5 coats of clear gloss poly applied with clean tee shirt material. Will get the first coat on, set it aside to dry and start another piece.

I will use a 1 1/4” forstner bit secured in the Jacobs chuck on the tail stock to start the hollowing process. The lathe speed should be set slow (600rpm maximum) for this task. I will go slowly, backing the chuck out several times to clear all the shavings. My big air compressor will get a work out today.

I use a Monster Articulated Hollowing Rig to hollow out the vessel ( I am aiming for a uniform wall thickness of 3/16” – 1/4”. In this picture I am using the 45 degree steel cutting tip and the laser (red dot) to get to my desired thickness. When the red dot falls off of the side of the vessel it is time to stop.

I have sanded the piece down to 320 grit and used an old brown grocery bag to buff it up. I will now take the vessel off of the chuck and mount it in my vacuum chuck to clean the tenon of the bottom.

For finish I will apply 4-5 coats of gloss wipe on poly applied with clean tee shirt material. Will get the first coat on and set it aside to dry. Will post the rest of the blog when I have completed the finish process. Thanks for all the comments and critiques. If you have any questions send me a PM.

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

8 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35300 posts in 5860 days

#1 posted 10-06-2009 12:48 AM

Great job Jeff. Nice looking design.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Innovator's profile


3589 posts in 4873 days

#2 posted 10-06-2009 03:06 AM

Jeff it looks fantastic, nice job.

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View peruturner's profile


317 posts in 4822 days

#3 posted 10-06-2009 03:38 AM

Nice job there great piece my friend well done

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 5173 days

#4 posted 10-06-2009 03:47 AM

very nice piece, i love the grain lines, great job. glad it idn’t check on you. have fun and be safe.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View mmh's profile


3701 posts in 5182 days

#5 posted 10-06-2009 04:09 AM

Nicely documented and a nicely turned piece at that. Now if only you had a video or invited us to sit in your workshop and watch!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5037 days

#6 posted 10-06-2009 05:56 AM

amazing wood looks like saturn


View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4841 days

#7 posted 10-06-2009 08:57 AM

I knew that was going to be gorgeous inside! Beautiful indeed.

I did not know those laser-guided hollowing devices even existed. I want one quite terribly now. Perhaps for Christmas :) Oh, and your URL is incorrect – “tool” needs to be plural:

Great work! I need one of those tailstock chucks in the worst way.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View jeffthewoodwacker's profile


603 posts in 5264 days

#8 posted 10-06-2009 03:29 PM

Gary, thanks for the heads up on the URL being incorrect. I have fixed it in the blog. You can purchase the laser rig separately from Monster Tools and a couple of other sources. I have also put a home made rig together that works well.

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

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