First Hollowform Attempts

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Project by JamesVavra posted 04-20-2011 05:56 PM 2007 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In preparation for Joe's hollowform course, I purchased a set of John Jordan hollowing tools. It seems that I was unable to wait for the course to start, so I had a couple of goes at turning hollow forms on my own.

The Black Cherry HF was my first attempt. It is about 4.5” tall. The inside is not as smooth as I wanted, and the hole got slightly larger than what I originally drilled. This one had a pretty large crack going through it that I had to keep filling with CA glue but it turned out pretty well.

The second one was a piece of pecan saved from the smoker wood pile. It would have been about six inches in diameter and 9 inches tall. I had a catch on the inside and blew it apart. I was surprised to see that the wall thickness was down to 1/8th – 1/16th – I thought it was a bit thicker than that.

Both were turned end grain from very well air-dried stock. The Cherry HF is finished with a few coats of Danish oil and wax.

9 comments so far

View JamesVavra's profile


304 posts in 3800 days

#1 posted 04-20-2011 05:59 PM

Oh, and the pecan HF is now back in the pile of wood for the smoker!

View Glen Peterson's profile

Glen Peterson

556 posts in 3540 days

#2 posted 04-20-2011 06:03 PM

Nice first attempts. I’ve turned lots of planned hollow forms into bowls over the past few years.
I’m signed up the HF course too.

-- Glen

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3502 days

#3 posted 04-20-2011 07:47 PM

Your underwear still clean??? :-) I know the feeling, it happened to me several times and it made me go buy a set of calipers that will show me the thickness of the wall and I check frequently! Very nice first successful HF!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View peteg's profile


4435 posts in 3307 days

#4 posted 04-20-2011 10:04 PM

Hey James, welcome to the world of “designer firewood”, nice result in the finish :)

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

711 posts in 3264 days

#5 posted 04-20-2011 11:37 PM

You may already be aware of this technique, but one of the visiting demonstrators at my woodturning club had a set-up with a rod with a light bulb on the end, which he inserted inside the hollowed-out form. He then finished the outside, using the reduced ‘glow’ to show where the walls were still too thick.

Experience obviously told him that when the glow was extremely bright, he had gone too far LOL!

The one you completed successfully fills me with envy – a beautiful shape and colouration.

-- Don, Somerset UK,

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4730 days

#6 posted 04-20-2011 11:55 PM

Nice turnings, I think you’ll do very good in Joe’s class.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View a1Jim's profile


117713 posts in 4061 days

#7 posted 04-21-2011 01:25 AM

an ouch and a winner. looks like fun.

View Joedcatman's profile


172 posts in 3599 days

#8 posted 04-21-2011 01:43 AM

Nice job. Great learning experience too. Exciting for a few minutes while you are feeling around to see if your body parts are still attached and you’re not leaking red anywhere. How do I know this? Nothing like first-hand experience.

-- JoeR Nothing that I could make will ever be perfect but I'll use it anyway.

View JamesVavra's profile


304 posts in 3800 days

#9 posted 04-21-2011 02:33 PM

I’ve been turning for a couple of years now. I’ve had bowls blow up on me before, and those were a lot more of an – ahem – check my pants moment. Because my hollowing tool was still inside, the separated part just spun around my tool a few times until it stopped. Not too violent at all – a very low kinetic activity to blue streak swearing ratio.

But yes, I’m already hooked on the hollow forms.

@Don – I’d be afraid that my insides were not uniform enough to try finishing it from the outside. Although I have used that method for natural edged bowls that I wanted under a sixteenth thick.

At the Tennessee Assoc of Woodturning Symposium this January, one of the demonstrators mentioned that he has students use cutaways on their practice hollow forms, so that they can see the hollowing tool on the inside. I may give that a shot as I work to refine my freehand hollowing technique.

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