Cherry Bowl--just learning still

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Project by NaptownWood posted 11-03-2013 11:59 PM 1324 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So i just unpacked a new Jet 1221vs and the barracuda chuck in the last pic and i needed to break it in stat. Im still a very very new turner and had been using a super tiny lathe that could make about a 5” bowl maximum and really wanted to get a quality piece of machinery to do some larger pieces, and this Jet and chuck combo is awesome. Ill do a review of both of them in the next few days, but the step up in quality was amazing.

This bowl ended up about 8.5” across and about 3” tall.

As for the bowl, it started out a a piece of firewood earlier in the day. I split it with the chain saw, traced a circle on the flat side using a bucket of drywall mud as the template because, well, it was about the right size and my compass broke. (All of my 5” bowls were the exact size as a half roll of duct tape).

So i am having trouble getting the inside bottom of the bowls smooth using the gouges im using—any pointers would be appreciated.

Im also getting roughness on two opposing sides of the inside of the bowl. Im not sure if this is a tool sharpness issue or a balance issue or what. —again, any help appreciated.

I sanded it to 400 and used a mineral oil and paste wax mix for the finish sanded in with the 400 grit paper. I wish i had some dye for those darker patches. I think it would have looked pretty cool with some green dye in there amd some amber on the rest of it.

Oh, and i used a moisture meter on it before the oil and wax and it was at 24% . I figured this was too wet, but i put the oil and wax on anyway. I left the sides at about 3/4” hoping any moisture loss through the finish wouldnt crack it. —-will it crack? Is 24% acceptable? I know kiln dried stuff can be at like 4-6% but i wasnt sure what the accepted moisture content was to apply green turning/drying/finishing techniques or not.

-- Witty signature line still pending

3 comments so far

View LesB's profile


2321 posts in 4054 days

#1 posted 11-04-2013 12:29 AM

You got a good start.
End grain roughness you mentioned varies with the type of wood and sometimes moisture content. Sharp tools do make a difference. For smoothing out the inside bottom you might try a scraping tool instead of the gouge. Some of the new carbide tipped ones like EasyWood tools work great. Especially for beginners.
Your piece at 24% moisture may crack or warp but your finish may slow the drying enough to save it. One quick way I like to deal with too much moisture is to microwave the roughed out bowl. After roughing it out put it in a brown paper shopping bag, folded closed, and microwave it until it is almost too hot to hold. Open the bag a little and let it cool. Repeat until it is properly dried. Basically this works like a steam kiln. Then finish turning. Check in between drying cycles and if you notice small cracks forming fill them with medium or thick super glue. That should stop the crack getting worse and you can cut through it later. The slow way is to do the same thing and wait weeks for the wood to dry.

Since you have a chuck here is a method I use for first mounting the bowl blank. I use a router with a dovetailed bit and a template guide mounted on the router base plate. With a scrap piece of plywood I cut a round hole in it to make a template to guide for the router, clamp it on the blank. Actually I make template long enough that I can clamp each end of it across the blank and onto the work bench to hold the whole thing in place. Then I rout a recess into the blank so I can mount it on the chuck. I usually do this to the side of the blank that will be the inside of the bowl. Then I completely turn and sand the bottom of the bowl leaving a new chuck recess in the bottom. I reverse the mounting and finish the inside. Some people prefer not to leave the chuck mounting recess in the bottom but I add some decorative rings from the center out with just enough space for the chuck jaws to fit and leave it.
There is a lot more that could be discussed here but you have a start.

-- Les B, Oregon

View luv2learn's profile


3003 posts in 2914 days

#2 posted 11-04-2013 01:36 AM

Congrats on scoring your new lathe. The bowl looks great for your first one. I like your measuring system, 1/2 roll of duct tape, etc. sounds like the way I measure; cut washers, milk caps, dry wall mud lids, etc. LOL. Looks like you have yourself a future woodworker eying your work.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View EzJack's profile


457 posts in 3782 days

#3 posted 11-04-2013 07:41 AM

fun ain’t it

-- Ain't better or worse than any other woodpecker in the woods.

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