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Showcase cover image for Finial top lidded bowl - figured maple and sapele

Project Information

I had a chunk of figured maple that I knew was going to have awesome chatoyancy, and it was about the right size for a small bowl. I've never done a finial top lidded bowl, so I figured what the hell?

I turned the bowl body first, then used a vacuum chuck to hold the lid blank well enough to cut a lip on it, then used the bowl body as a jam chuck to finish the lid. The cats eye is just awesome. The pics clearly don't do it justice, I had a piece of walnut for the finial, but it ended up being all checked when I got it turned down, so I found a really pretty piece of sapele. I feel like the finial is a bit chunky, but it's my first attempt at it, so I'm not too upset. Sanded to 600 then, finished with homemade friction polish and a little Renaissance wax.

First time with this type of bowl, first time with the vacuum chuck and transfer tail stock insert (neat setup!). I did learn the limits of the vacuum chuck, which is probably a good thing too!

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Comments

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Beautiful bowl Ryan, great grains and the color looks good. It's always good to learn new things and how the new tools work. Including the limitations. Well done.
 

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Cool lidded bowl Ryan.
The figure maple is sweet and the whole process you describe is clever. I've just started using jam chucks and its fun.
The maple sure looks nice.
Great job.
 

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28,470 Posts
damn sweet buddy !!!!!
 

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Awesome wood, and a great project!
 

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Spectacular job Ryan! That wood is exceptional :) I've never seen a chuck mounted in the tailstock like that. Is there a live-center type adapter available commercially?
 

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It's not a live center, it's an MT2 shank with a 1×8 male thread to receive the chuck. It allows you to spin off a chuck, put it into the tail stock, and thereby have perfect alignment for the vacuum chuck to pick back up the work piece from the other side. I used it for fitting the bowl lid/lip to the body.

I used the big vacuum chuck to hold the lid blank and put the bowl body chucked up in the tail stock. As I turned down the lip of the lid, I would just slide the tail stock up to fit the bowl against it until I got a press fit.

Once it had a nice fit, I put the chuck (and bowl) back onto the head stock and used it as a jam chuck for the lid (using a live center on the tail stock to support the lid) and finished turning the lid. Then I removed the lid and scraped the inside edge of the bow body to loosen up the fit just a little so the lid wouldn't get stuck in regular use.

The combination of 4 jaw chuck, that MT2 transfer piece, and the vacuum chuck means you can move pieces around pretty freely and still keep the initial alignment. It's really cool. It takes some head scratching to figure out in what order it's best to do things, and I'm still not really good at that, but it definitely adds flexibility. I still have no idea what I'm doing, but it's starting to make more sense.

I did find that turning a piece on a vacuum chuck needs to be done with very little pressure, although the large vacuum chuck is pretty robust, the small one doesn't hold quite as tight. Little cuts for sure. And supported with a live center if at all possible. Learning lessons are good!
 

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Ahhh. That makes good sense. Thanks for the info!
 

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Nice shallow box. Seems like most would have just made a deeper bowl. Adding the top, AND the finial makes a neat mix on that sized chunk of wood. Speaking of chunk of wood, that one is a winner.

Killer blog. Gotta love a blog that even a non turner like me can follow. :)
 

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Thanks! In retrospect I wished I'd assembled the finial to the top with a wedged tenon…instead of epoxy. I'd like to turn another one and have it be thinner and taller. I suppose I could just drill it all out…or just turn another bowl!
 
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