Reply by Underdog

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Posted on Wood that can't be turned?

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1804 posts in 3372 days

#1 posted 09-22-2020 02:40 AM

Contrary to what you might think, a nicely sharpened 3/8 spindle gouge with a fingernail grind is exactly what I’d use on this. Well. At least on the finishing cuts.
I’d use a 3/4 or 1” spindle roughing gouge for the rough out.

A few key things.
1) DON’T overtighten the tailstock. It’ll cause the spindle to bow up, and whip as it turns. I normally get it tight enough for the spur center to get a good bite, then back off until it’s loose, then just snug it up enough to drive it.
2) work from the tailstock towards the headstock. Or from the center out. The biggest problem areas are usually in the middle because that’s the greatest potential for the work flexing. So start there first.
3) A very sharp tool and a good presentation angle are key. You want to cut rather than scrape. There are lots of YouTube videos on the subject, if you can’t find a local turner who will help you. If you go to the AAW website you can find the contact information for a local club. Basics ABC: ANCHOR the tool on the tool rest with the cutting edge above the center line (handle down), and not quite touching. Run the BEVEL carefully up the to center line of the spindle. then raise the back of the handle up until the cutting edge just starts to CUT. You can get a peeling cut this way fairly easily. It takes more of an angle to get a planing cut.
4) DON’T press the tool in too hard. You want to have as light a tool pressure as possible, and cut. If you press hard, then the stock will flex out of the way, bounce back in, and VOILA! you have chatter that you can’t seem to get rid of.

It takes some time to become proficient, but it pays off.

I highly recommend contacting a local turner if possible. They’ll be only too glad to help.

PS. Oh, and Maple is an extremely good turning wood. (I actually don’t know any that I wouldn’t recommend actually… well maybe some soft woods like cypress or white pine- but even those can be turned with good sharp tools and a good technique… Or with a lot of sanding!)

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

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