Maple vase (bowl 27)

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Project by Dave Polaschek posted 10-23-2021 12:09 AM 582 views 0 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Turned from bigleaf maple. This one fought me quite a bit: when drilling out the center with a spade bit on my lathe, it got pulled off-center partway down; when smoothing the outside with the skew, I kept getting catches, and even when I didn’t, I wasn’t getting the smooth finish I should; and finally, I cut off the tenon from the bottom before finishing the inside of the vase, so now I’m going to have to slowly finish it by hand.

Ah well. The next one, from the other half of the 6×6x3 blank I started with, is going much more smoothly. I guess I just needed to get this one out of my system.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

23 comments so far

View LesB's profile


3138 posts in 4727 days

#1 posted 10-23-2021 12:16 AM

You have a good start and with some ingenuity you can probably finish the outside on the lath. You might try creating a cone shape from a scrap that will fit into the opening of the vase and then bring up you tail stock to hold it in place while doing some sanding.

Big leaf maple tends to tear out easily on the end grain. A number of times I have resorted to 60 & 80 grit sandpaper to remove the tear out. I have a 14” X 6” blank of dry big leaf on my lathe right now that I am doing that with.

-- Les B, Oregon

View oldrivers's profile


2799 posts in 2851 days

#2 posted 10-23-2021 12:16 AM

Still looks good Dave.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

8802 posts in 1867 days

#3 posted 10-23-2021 12:28 AM

Thanks, Les. I’ve got a cone scrap / jam chuck, but it’s the inside of this one that needs the most work. The knot in the vase made for a little end grain on the sides of the vase, but the way it’s oriented, there’s very little end grain. I may hand-sand the inside and outside, or I may just call this one a learning experience.

Thanks, Oldrivers! It’s not horrible, or I wouldn’t have posted it, but it’s not what I’d like, either.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Oldtool's profile


3354 posts in 3475 days

#4 posted 10-23-2021 01:30 AM

Nice vase, and apparently a good learning experience since the next one is going much smoother.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Eric's profile


2276 posts in 1158 days

#5 posted 10-23-2021 02:08 AM

Dave, that still has a nice shape. I do see the knarrly knot in the first photo. Thanks for sharing, it will help some of us think and the grains before starting a turning.

I want to try my hand at a few different turnings, Celtic Knot, and a segment turning.

-- Eric, building the dream

View BB1's profile


2554 posts in 2132 days

#6 posted 10-23-2021 02:32 AM

The knot makes it interesting. Of course I’m not a turner so don’t appreciate the problems it likely can cause.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

8802 posts in 1867 days

#7 posted 10-23-2021 02:56 AM

Thanks, Tom! They’re from the same piece of wood, so I expected both to be ornery. Maybe the next one is just saving it up for tomorrow.

Thanks, Eric! More than once in my life, I’ve thought if nothing else, I can help people by being a bad example. ;-)

Thanks, Barb! It’s still a pretty vase, but to make it really nice will probably require hours of hand-sanding. I might do that, or I might not.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View therealSteveN's profile


9230 posts in 1859 days

#8 posted 10-23-2021 07:26 AM

I like any piece that talks to me, this one is saying it’s a Knee. :-) Sure has a beefy calf, or you have it turned upside down. :-)

Nice piece Dave.

-- Think safe, be safe

View crowie's profile


5111 posts in 3235 days

#9 posted 10-23-2021 08:21 AM

That has some beautiful figure and grain in the timber, gorgeous!

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View Eric's profile


2276 posts in 1158 days

#10 posted 10-23-2021 09:41 AM

I see the knee now. Artistic talents at work to bring out the beauty.

-- Eric, building the dream

View recycle1943's profile


5961 posts in 2907 days

#11 posted 10-23-2021 11:00 AM

good looking vase Dave

-- 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 adot45's profile


443 posts in 1909 days

#12 posted 10-23-2021 11:34 AM

Nice vase Dave, knots can add character…..and sometimes they can build character. Good job!

-- “Often wrong but never in doubt”. Dave in WV.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

8802 posts in 1867 days

#13 posted 10-23-2021 12:13 PM

Thanks, SteveN.

Peter, I’ve found pretty grain in many of the pieces of bigleaf maple I’ve bought from Cook Woods.

Thanks, Eric!

Thanks, Dick!

Thanks, Dave! The most problematic was actually the smaller knot on the lower left in the first picture, which had been buried in the wood, so I didn’t even know it was there until I started turning. I kept tearing out around that every time I tried turning that portion down with either a skew or a scraper. I finally got close with a paring cut with the skew, and then just attacked it with 60 grit. The much larger knot of the knee caused me much less trouble, but I saw that before I started turning, too…

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View adot45's profile


443 posts in 1909 days

#14 posted 10-23-2021 02:00 PM

Sometimes we just have to keep at a bump in the road until we get it like we want it. Nothing quite like finding a surprise in a turning, glad you ironed it out!

-- “Often wrong but never in doubt”. Dave in WV.

View Lazyman's profile


8229 posts in 2672 days

#15 posted 10-23-2021 03:42 PM

I really like the theme you’ve got going with the last few vases, Dave. Definitely going to try something along these lines down the road.

BTW, think I saw this tip on YouTube somewhere for doing the initial drilling with a spade bit on the lathe. Get the largest spade bit you can find (or smaller ones if you need them) and grind the point and square wings off to make it round. Once it is rounded, regrind cutting bevels all the way up the widest point on the sides. Make sure that the curves are uniform on both sides when you are done. This actually does a better job for me than using an unmodified spade bit or a Forstner bit. Without the point, you can also drill all the way down to full depth without a little hole in the middle. The largest spade bit I could find at garage sales was 1” so I a bought 1-1/2” Dewalt spade bit to modify on Amazon for this.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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