LumberJocks

Spaulted Oak Firewood Vase - My 1st Turning

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Project by SawdustSteve posted 01-22-2021 06:00 PM 707 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This started as an old chunk of firewood so I could practice using some hand-me-down gouges on my recently purchased, used, Jet 1642.

Started slow just taking off little bits until it got somewhat round, then started playing with different knives to see how they worked (many YouTube videos later).

Eventually, after getting the speed up, really got going with a spindle gouge and started to add some shape, all the while expecting this old piece of firewood to fly apart at any moment. Well it didn’t, so turned the vase shape and added a tenon (not deep enough BTW).

OK, let’s try this new Super Nova chuck, and play with some old bowl gouges. Lot’s of trial and error later, and learning what catches feel like, on both gouges and scrapers, I was making very slow progress.

OK, let’s buy a tailstock chuck and hog it out with a forstner bit. That worked really well. After that, tried to use bowl gouges and scrapers to thin the walls down, but was catching so much, I decided to leave well enough alone.

Now what to do with that tenon? It’s a vase and all the bowl turning recommendations didn’t seem to apply, so after more reading decided to try a Cole Chuck fitted to my Super Nova. At this point I’m wondering what I just got myself into with this hobby?

Well after watching the vase fly across the workshop a couple of times, I adjusted the rubber bumpers and got a much better hold. An hour later, I finally had that tenon off!

Sanded through all the grits and it was actually starting to look pretty good! Decided to finish with a coat of Watco oil and about 6 coats of Tru-oil. That wood soaked it all up like a straw, but now I think it’s pretty stable.

Given this started with a free piece of firewood, it is probably the most expensive thing I’ve ever made. So that’s my first lathe project, and I hope many more to come!

-- Steve, California





11 comments so far

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

7888 posts in 4360 days


#1 posted 01-22-2021 06:57 PM

Your first turning and it’s firewood Wow! Looks like your making all the right moves! It’s beautiful! Nice work!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

4650 posts in 2229 days


#2 posted 01-22-2021 08:00 PM

There is no such thing as firewood, just wood that is below the standards we set for woodworking 8^)

The figure in that is really wild! Nice “first”, but now you have set the bar high for your second, fine work Steve!

View mike02719's profile

mike02719

290 posts in 4793 days


#3 posted 01-22-2021 10:17 PM

Great effort! You saved a beautiful chunk of wood and turned it into a piece of art. Make sure your name is on it because folks will be admiring this long after you are gone.

-- Mike, Massachusetts

View linjay's profile

linjay

115 posts in 3631 days


#4 posted 01-22-2021 10:38 PM

I really, really like this. I was just wondering how you identified that specific piece of firewood?
Here’s an idea that would have helped with thinning the walls. I have a 1/2” B&D belt sander that I use for a lot of different purposes. There are other makes and can sometimes be referred to as a finger file. I use it a lot when I’m carving totem poles. A 50 grit belt can remove a lot of material fast and if the part is rotating the finish is still pretty good. And you have a lot of control. And you can get finer belts.

-- It's easy when you know how - but that's the hard part. Ontario, Canada

View SawdustSteve's profile

SawdustSteve

21 posts in 62 days


#5 posted 01-22-2021 11:00 PM

Linjay, I picked that piece because it was a split piece from inside a bigger round (that tree was 3 feet in diameter), so I could see the grain from all sides and didn’t see any big cracks. It was also a bit heavier than some other pieces, so thought it may not be completely rotted. The piece was almost cube shaped when I started.

Regarding the belt sander, had to Google that. Never seen one before. You say I can use that inside the vase while it’s turning “safely”?

-- Steve, California

View SawdustSteve's profile

SawdustSteve

21 posts in 62 days


#6 posted 01-22-2021 11:01 PM

Linjay, I picked that piece because it was a split piece from inside a bigger round (that tree was 3 feet in diameter), so I could see the grain from all sides and didn’t see any big cracks. It was also a bit heavier than some other pieces, so thought it may not be completely rotted. The piece was almost cube shaped when I started.

Regarding the belt sander, had to Google that. Never seen one before. You say I can use that inside the vase while it’s turning “safely”?

-- Steve, California

View Maro2Bear's profile

Maro2Bear

40 posts in 40 days


#7 posted 01-22-2021 11:15 PM

Next time, when you are close to finishing up, try using your parting tool at the bottom of the vase, about 1/2 inch or so away from the chuck. If you angle it a bit away from the chuck & toward the bottom, you will create a nice convex polished bottom.

Thats a good looking first vase!

-- Mark B. Glenn Dale, MD

View SawdustSteve's profile

SawdustSteve

21 posts in 62 days


#8 posted 01-23-2021 12:01 AM

Mark, that makes a lot of sense. I just didn’t make the tenon nearly long enough to do that. Will do so next time! Thanks!

-- Steve, California

View MrWolfe's profile

MrWolfe

1454 posts in 1130 days


#9 posted 01-23-2021 12:32 AM

Great work!
Looks like fun and the vase turned out really well.
Keep it up!

View recycle1943's profile

recycle1943

5042 posts in 2629 days


#10 posted 01-23-2021 11:04 AM

beautiful end result and on a great looking piece of lumber

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View linjay's profile

linjay

115 posts in 3631 days


#11 posted 01-24-2021 04:13 PM

Yes the belt sander would work on the interior. The belt ‘finger’ only sticks out about 5” from the body and you’d have to be careful not to let the body touch the turning, so you might be limited to only going in about 4” or so. On your turning you could have made the lip as thin as you wanted. You can use just the nose and with a 50 grit belt you can remove material very quickly (you’d be amazed) while applying very little force. I think you’d also find it very useful for doing the final outer shaping because you have great control. I think of it as a carving tool. When I’m carving a totem pole (see my projects) I often use the 1/2” belt sander because I can remove material faster than I could using gouges and I can really control the shape I want to achieve and I have a finished surface when I’m done. In the example of my totem pole if you look at the depth of definition between the arms and legs on the racoon that was all done with the nose wheel of the 1’2” belt sander. I haven’t done a lot of internal turning but I’ve done enough to know that it’s tricky and it’s easy for a single point tool to catch or grab. In regards to safety the belt sander won’t catch because the belt is constantly moving. And in the case of spaulted wood, which can be delicate, it would be an ideal, faster and safer, choice for doing the outer contour.
The speed control on my B&D sander went up in smoke so I bypassed it and use a standard light dimmer. The axle for the nose wheel is pressed into the aluminum body and that loosened and the axle starting falling out. So I had to glue 2 thin pieces of wood to the body to keep it in place. So it has some issues but when I considered replacing it I decided another B&D was the way to go because the price can’t be beat. But as long as my fixes hold out I’ll keep using the one I have – and it’s seen some pretty heavy use.

-- It's easy when you know how - but that's the hard part. Ontario, Canada

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