a homemade tool that cost me

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Project by Mark posted 04-19-2013 09:24 PM 4518 views 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just got some hickory logs and so I started on a vase today. It was going to be a gift for my nieces wedding. I had the vase hollowed out 14 inches deep, sanded to 400 grit on the outside and started to sand the inside with a homemade sanding tool that could sand the inside with the lathe running (the head spins on a bearing). I was at 120 grit when the tool handle broke at the head and blow the 90% completed vase apart. Big time bummer of a day.

Moral of the story is that sometimes homemade tools cost you a full day of turning if they break. This tool actually worked well till it failed. I got this tool from someone else and will make a new handle out of hickory, rather than the pine this handle was made from.

I know that this forum is for completed projects. This is my first attempt at what I call this project, hickory smoking fuel ” firewood”.

-- Mark clio,mi ..making wood talk is fun

22 comments so far

View adamwells's profile


19 posts in 3053 days

#1 posted 04-19-2013 09:38 PM

dude that sucks bad….. i remember my first catastrophic project….

-- there is always room for improvement.

View Don W's profile

Don W

20089 posts in 3680 days

#2 posted 04-19-2013 09:54 PM

I agree it sucks when a home made tool causes havoc. It sucks even more when you’ve paid good money for the tool.

Sometimes we make projects from firewood, sometimes we make firewood from projects.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View TerryDowning's profile


1152 posts in 3230 days

#3 posted 04-19-2013 09:58 PM

+1 what Don W said!!

Been there done that!!
My synpathies

-- - Terry

View shooterscott's profile


7 posts in 2980 days

#4 posted 04-19-2013 10:02 PM

Very sorry to hear about that, good luck on the returning.

View Oldtool's profile


3240 posts in 3303 days

#5 posted 04-19-2013 11:30 PM

Sorry about the vase. It’s really tough when the project is almost complete & something like this happens. Don’t blame home made tools though, because these are generally as good as any. I think it was the material that failed, and possibly the grain orientation on the failed sanding tool. If possible, your next make of this should try to have long grain running from the shaft through the arm where the head mounts. If this is not possible, maybe you should steam bend the required elbow (for lack of a better term)
Good luck with the next build.

-- "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 kenn's profile


813 posts in 4832 days

#6 posted 04-19-2013 11:34 PM

To offer a glass half full comment, you can see how we’ll your walls look now that the vase blew apart, and they look great, flowing and thin walls. Almost a great project.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View Mark's profile


84 posts in 3072 days

#7 posted 04-20-2013 12:16 AM

Thanks for all the sympathy and helpful comments. I still had fun turning this project and was really looking forward to showing it to my wife before it blew up on me. My mentor said he blew up four pieces in a row when was a less experienced turner.

-- Mark clio,mi ..making wood talk is fun

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26279 posts in 4218 days

#8 posted 04-20-2013 12:42 AM

Ouch!!!!!!!!! Make another one with an aluminum or steel tubing handle! That area at the end is pretty thin and takes some stress. I would not use wood again! Use the same end you made with the bearing.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Mark's profile


84 posts in 3072 days

#9 posted 04-20-2013 01:04 AM

Jim and Oldtool, I am thinking either make a laminated wood handle or a metal handle with a movable joint. This would also allow me to adjust the sanding head angle if I need to and be robust enough to handle the stress. Thanks, this is a great site!

-- Mark clio,mi ..making wood talk is fun

View HRLou's profile


20 posts in 3092 days

#10 posted 04-20-2013 02:50 AM

This may be a little bit of an alternative view, but…

I think it’s just as important to share the mistakes, “whoopses”, and failures as it is to share the successes. It’s a great learning experience and lesson learned to be passed on to others.

Thanks for sharing it.

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 4148 days

#11 posted 04-20-2013 05:10 AM

That does create a vacuum in the mouth! (aka: SUCKS!)

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View Mark55's profile


164 posts in 3176 days

#12 posted 04-20-2013 10:32 AM

Hey, the ingenuity was a great idea. It gets you that much closer to making one that works better next time. It’s all part of the process. I could probably heat a home for the winter with all the firewood I created throughout the years with mistakes or flubs.

-- Mark, Newton, NC.

View BigAl98's profile


274 posts in 4152 days

#13 posted 04-20-2013 01:09 PM

Yes I agree. learning from the mistakes is sooooo important! Sharing our mistakes is humbling but helps all become better at the craft. Cast your bread upon the waters….so to speak

-- Al,Midwest -To thine own self be true

View JUC's profile


116 posts in 3003 days

#14 posted 04-20-2013 05:45 PM

Thanks for sharing. Just love it when you are forced to learn something. Good luck with the returning.

-- If no one will ever see it, all the more reason to make it right

View Mark's profile


84 posts in 3072 days

#15 posted 04-20-2013 06:18 PM

I added a picture …. I spend winters in Florida at a resort with a woodshop, when I got to the shop this morning the guy’s had left a gift for me on my lathe. It was a old ceramic vase with a note on it (R.I.P) It was funny this morning … it would not had been yesterday after I blew up this project.

Thanks for all the comments … and understanding my pain!

-- Mark clio,mi ..making wood talk is fun

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