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from ficus log to turned bowl preform

This past Sunday I decided to saw a Y-shaped Ficus log in half and get some bowl blanks out of it. I couldn't fit the 14" section under my band saw's 12" vertical clearance, so I just cut the first half, up to the Y split. Then I spent about 20-30 minutes sawing through the Y with my 24" carpenter saw. Good workout!



I could fit a 10-7/8" circle on each log in the Y area, which I wanted to try turning for the twists in grain and color.



I had to give up for the night, and I'm tired of everything I look at splitting and checking, so I'm just coating every cut face from now on. I have a bunch of planks that had no checks, and which I sealed on the ends, and they split completely in half, right down their middles. What a pain.



10-7/8" diameter circle:



I sawed the ends off the log, and the corners, to start the circular shape, then screwed it to a board so I could prop it against my recently-made, and taller baltic birch fence. I didn't want the log spinning on me. The board would ride on its edge on the table and up against the fence. Now I had a flat on both sides.



Here's the back of the temp plywood rig. The deck screws go into the center of the side that will be the inside of the bowl, so they'll be turned away eventually. This plywood rides up against the fence, and the bowl blank on the other side has its widest edge sitting flush with the table top:



With the flat, I was able to saw it into a decent circle. Here it is with the other pieces I got out of the same log:



And a big bowl blank emerges:







And until I can turn it, I've sealed it entirely:



Meanwhile… I wanted to see what I could do with this little chunk:



This wasn't the shape I was going for, because I'm still learning how to control my tools. This just sort of emerged after a few slips and fixes:



And AS EVER, some checks. Unbelievable. They're just unavoidable for me. Actually, the end of the log was checked, and I think this piece came from down there. I don't know if ficus is even stable enough to fill.



Another problem with ficus is what I believe to be mold. It's a crappy wood for woodworking, but I do have a whole tree of it, and it is good scrap for learning how to resaw and turn things without ruining the good wood.





This is how I had it chucked, if you were wondering:



Had to stop for the night, so more sealing:



Yesterday I was able to turn a groove in the bottom so I could slip the jaws of my chuck into it and flip it around to turn the inside of the bowl. Here's that groove:



This was the first time I was able to easily turn the inside of the bowl, through a combination of the right tools, the right angles and roll of those tools, and proper pressure, cut depth, etc. It felt good to see some improvement in my skills finally.





I turned it very thick so it will hold shape better over the next few months as it dries. Honestly, I'm not sure it'll even hold up, but we'll see. Once it's dry, I'll chuck it again and turn it to its final, thinner, deeper shape.

I've decided to pick up a free shelving unit whenever I can from craigslist (an online classifieds that has a popular branch here in LA) and put it in my office at work. I can bring my turnings in to sit on the shelves there, acting as decorations and conversation pieces all in one. Then as each dries, I can bring it home and finish turning it, and apply a final finish to it. At any rate, this bowl won't be back in the spotlight for awhile. Wish it luck.
 

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from ficus log to turned bowl preform

This past Sunday I decided to saw a Y-shaped Ficus log in half and get some bowl blanks out of it. I couldn't fit the 14" section under my band saw's 12" vertical clearance, so I just cut the first half, up to the Y split. Then I spent about 20-30 minutes sawing through the Y with my 24" carpenter saw. Good workout!



I could fit a 10-7/8" circle on each log in the Y area, which I wanted to try turning for the twists in grain and color.



I had to give up for the night, and I'm tired of everything I look at splitting and checking, so I'm just coating every cut face from now on. I have a bunch of planks that had no checks, and which I sealed on the ends, and they split completely in half, right down their middles. What a pain.



10-7/8" diameter circle:



I sawed the ends off the log, and the corners, to start the circular shape, then screwed it to a board so I could prop it against my recently-made, and taller baltic birch fence. I didn't want the log spinning on me. The board would ride on its edge on the table and up against the fence. Now I had a flat on both sides.



Here's the back of the temp plywood rig. The deck screws go into the center of the side that will be the inside of the bowl, so they'll be turned away eventually. This plywood rides up against the fence, and the bowl blank on the other side has its widest edge sitting flush with the table top:



With the flat, I was able to saw it into a decent circle. Here it is with the other pieces I got out of the same log:



And a big bowl blank emerges:







And until I can turn it, I've sealed it entirely:



Meanwhile… I wanted to see what I could do with this little chunk:



This wasn't the shape I was going for, because I'm still learning how to control my tools. This just sort of emerged after a few slips and fixes:



And AS EVER, some checks. Unbelievable. They're just unavoidable for me. Actually, the end of the log was checked, and I think this piece came from down there. I don't know if ficus is even stable enough to fill.



Another problem with ficus is what I believe to be mold. It's a crappy wood for woodworking, but I do have a whole tree of it, and it is good scrap for learning how to resaw and turn things without ruining the good wood.





This is how I had it chucked, if you were wondering:



Had to stop for the night, so more sealing:



Yesterday I was able to turn a groove in the bottom so I could slip the jaws of my chuck into it and flip it around to turn the inside of the bowl. Here's that groove:



This was the first time I was able to easily turn the inside of the bowl, through a combination of the right tools, the right angles and roll of those tools, and proper pressure, cut depth, etc. It felt good to see some improvement in my skills finally.





I turned it very thick so it will hold shape better over the next few months as it dries. Honestly, I'm not sure it'll even hold up, but we'll see. Once it's dry, I'll chuck it again and turn it to its final, thinner, deeper shape.

I've decided to pick up a free shelving unit whenever I can from craigslist (an online classifieds that has a popular branch here in LA) and put it in my office at work. I can bring my turnings in to sit on the shelves there, acting as decorations and conversation pieces all in one. Then as each dries, I can bring it home and finish turning it, and apply a final finish to it. At any rate, this bowl won't be back in the spotlight for awhile. Wish it luck.
Gary,

Nice Work!

At this stage, I usually put shavings in the bowl, wrap the bowl with several layers of newspaper and then place the bowl in a paper bag packed with the shavings from the turning. This seems to slow the drying process an helps reduce the amount of checking. Just a thought.

Lew
 

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from ficus log to turned bowl preform

This past Sunday I decided to saw a Y-shaped Ficus log in half and get some bowl blanks out of it. I couldn't fit the 14" section under my band saw's 12" vertical clearance, so I just cut the first half, up to the Y split. Then I spent about 20-30 minutes sawing through the Y with my 24" carpenter saw. Good workout!



I could fit a 10-7/8" circle on each log in the Y area, which I wanted to try turning for the twists in grain and color.



I had to give up for the night, and I'm tired of everything I look at splitting and checking, so I'm just coating every cut face from now on. I have a bunch of planks that had no checks, and which I sealed on the ends, and they split completely in half, right down their middles. What a pain.



10-7/8" diameter circle:



I sawed the ends off the log, and the corners, to start the circular shape, then screwed it to a board so I could prop it against my recently-made, and taller baltic birch fence. I didn't want the log spinning on me. The board would ride on its edge on the table and up against the fence. Now I had a flat on both sides.



Here's the back of the temp plywood rig. The deck screws go into the center of the side that will be the inside of the bowl, so they'll be turned away eventually. This plywood rides up against the fence, and the bowl blank on the other side has its widest edge sitting flush with the table top:



With the flat, I was able to saw it into a decent circle. Here it is with the other pieces I got out of the same log:



And a big bowl blank emerges:







And until I can turn it, I've sealed it entirely:



Meanwhile… I wanted to see what I could do with this little chunk:



This wasn't the shape I was going for, because I'm still learning how to control my tools. This just sort of emerged after a few slips and fixes:



And AS EVER, some checks. Unbelievable. They're just unavoidable for me. Actually, the end of the log was checked, and I think this piece came from down there. I don't know if ficus is even stable enough to fill.



Another problem with ficus is what I believe to be mold. It's a crappy wood for woodworking, but I do have a whole tree of it, and it is good scrap for learning how to resaw and turn things without ruining the good wood.





This is how I had it chucked, if you were wondering:



Had to stop for the night, so more sealing:



Yesterday I was able to turn a groove in the bottom so I could slip the jaws of my chuck into it and flip it around to turn the inside of the bowl. Here's that groove:



This was the first time I was able to easily turn the inside of the bowl, through a combination of the right tools, the right angles and roll of those tools, and proper pressure, cut depth, etc. It felt good to see some improvement in my skills finally.





I turned it very thick so it will hold shape better over the next few months as it dries. Honestly, I'm not sure it'll even hold up, but we'll see. Once it's dry, I'll chuck it again and turn it to its final, thinner, deeper shape.

I've decided to pick up a free shelving unit whenever I can from craigslist (an online classifieds that has a popular branch here in LA) and put it in my office at work. I can bring my turnings in to sit on the shelves there, acting as decorations and conversation pieces all in one. Then as each dries, I can bring it home and finish turning it, and apply a final finish to it. At any rate, this bowl won't be back in the spotlight for awhile. Wish it luck.
Good step by step slideshow of the projevt.

A couple of tips I picked up that might be helpful:

  • When turning a bowl and I cant finish it and it sits on the lathe instead of putting sealer I have put a plastic bag over the piece with a little water in the bag.
  • If you see some checks put CA in it quickly to help the spreading of the check.
  • When I have rough turned the bowl I also seal the entire piece not just the endgrain, I have had better results with it this way.

Once again good tutorial, once you turn the final piece hopefully you will add it here.
Rob
 

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from ficus log to turned bowl preform

This past Sunday I decided to saw a Y-shaped Ficus log in half and get some bowl blanks out of it. I couldn't fit the 14" section under my band saw's 12" vertical clearance, so I just cut the first half, up to the Y split. Then I spent about 20-30 minutes sawing through the Y with my 24" carpenter saw. Good workout!



I could fit a 10-7/8" circle on each log in the Y area, which I wanted to try turning for the twists in grain and color.



I had to give up for the night, and I'm tired of everything I look at splitting and checking, so I'm just coating every cut face from now on. I have a bunch of planks that had no checks, and which I sealed on the ends, and they split completely in half, right down their middles. What a pain.



10-7/8" diameter circle:



I sawed the ends off the log, and the corners, to start the circular shape, then screwed it to a board so I could prop it against my recently-made, and taller baltic birch fence. I didn't want the log spinning on me. The board would ride on its edge on the table and up against the fence. Now I had a flat on both sides.



Here's the back of the temp plywood rig. The deck screws go into the center of the side that will be the inside of the bowl, so they'll be turned away eventually. This plywood rides up against the fence, and the bowl blank on the other side has its widest edge sitting flush with the table top:



With the flat, I was able to saw it into a decent circle. Here it is with the other pieces I got out of the same log:



And a big bowl blank emerges:







And until I can turn it, I've sealed it entirely:



Meanwhile… I wanted to see what I could do with this little chunk:



This wasn't the shape I was going for, because I'm still learning how to control my tools. This just sort of emerged after a few slips and fixes:



And AS EVER, some checks. Unbelievable. They're just unavoidable for me. Actually, the end of the log was checked, and I think this piece came from down there. I don't know if ficus is even stable enough to fill.



Another problem with ficus is what I believe to be mold. It's a crappy wood for woodworking, but I do have a whole tree of it, and it is good scrap for learning how to resaw and turn things without ruining the good wood.





This is how I had it chucked, if you were wondering:



Had to stop for the night, so more sealing:



Yesterday I was able to turn a groove in the bottom so I could slip the jaws of my chuck into it and flip it around to turn the inside of the bowl. Here's that groove:



This was the first time I was able to easily turn the inside of the bowl, through a combination of the right tools, the right angles and roll of those tools, and proper pressure, cut depth, etc. It felt good to see some improvement in my skills finally.





I turned it very thick so it will hold shape better over the next few months as it dries. Honestly, I'm not sure it'll even hold up, but we'll see. Once it's dry, I'll chuck it again and turn it to its final, thinner, deeper shape.

I've decided to pick up a free shelving unit whenever I can from craigslist (an online classifieds that has a popular branch here in LA) and put it in my office at work. I can bring my turnings in to sit on the shelves there, acting as decorations and conversation pieces all in one. Then as each dries, I can bring it home and finish turning it, and apply a final finish to it. At any rate, this bowl won't be back in the spotlight for awhile. Wish it luck.
Also keep in mind that lumber from limbs (aka not trunk) have a tremendous amount of pressure in them as they are thinner, and do not run vertically (in nature) thus having to "fight back" with gravity to keep them from growing downwards (as they have "weights" in the form of smaller limbs, leaves, buds, flowers,fruits, etc on them) - this creates lots of stress in the live wood just waiting to get released. so much, that as you discovered, even sealer can only go so far against mother nature.
 

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from ficus log to turned bowl preform

This past Sunday I decided to saw a Y-shaped Ficus log in half and get some bowl blanks out of it. I couldn't fit the 14" section under my band saw's 12" vertical clearance, so I just cut the first half, up to the Y split. Then I spent about 20-30 minutes sawing through the Y with my 24" carpenter saw. Good workout!



I could fit a 10-7/8" circle on each log in the Y area, which I wanted to try turning for the twists in grain and color.



I had to give up for the night, and I'm tired of everything I look at splitting and checking, so I'm just coating every cut face from now on. I have a bunch of planks that had no checks, and which I sealed on the ends, and they split completely in half, right down their middles. What a pain.



10-7/8" diameter circle:



I sawed the ends off the log, and the corners, to start the circular shape, then screwed it to a board so I could prop it against my recently-made, and taller baltic birch fence. I didn't want the log spinning on me. The board would ride on its edge on the table and up against the fence. Now I had a flat on both sides.



Here's the back of the temp plywood rig. The deck screws go into the center of the side that will be the inside of the bowl, so they'll be turned away eventually. This plywood rides up against the fence, and the bowl blank on the other side has its widest edge sitting flush with the table top:



With the flat, I was able to saw it into a decent circle. Here it is with the other pieces I got out of the same log:



And a big bowl blank emerges:







And until I can turn it, I've sealed it entirely:



Meanwhile… I wanted to see what I could do with this little chunk:



This wasn't the shape I was going for, because I'm still learning how to control my tools. This just sort of emerged after a few slips and fixes:



And AS EVER, some checks. Unbelievable. They're just unavoidable for me. Actually, the end of the log was checked, and I think this piece came from down there. I don't know if ficus is even stable enough to fill.



Another problem with ficus is what I believe to be mold. It's a crappy wood for woodworking, but I do have a whole tree of it, and it is good scrap for learning how to resaw and turn things without ruining the good wood.





This is how I had it chucked, if you were wondering:



Had to stop for the night, so more sealing:



Yesterday I was able to turn a groove in the bottom so I could slip the jaws of my chuck into it and flip it around to turn the inside of the bowl. Here's that groove:



This was the first time I was able to easily turn the inside of the bowl, through a combination of the right tools, the right angles and roll of those tools, and proper pressure, cut depth, etc. It felt good to see some improvement in my skills finally.





I turned it very thick so it will hold shape better over the next few months as it dries. Honestly, I'm not sure it'll even hold up, but we'll see. Once it's dry, I'll chuck it again and turn it to its final, thinner, deeper shape.

I've decided to pick up a free shelving unit whenever I can from craigslist (an online classifieds that has a popular branch here in LA) and put it in my office at work. I can bring my turnings in to sit on the shelves there, acting as decorations and conversation pieces all in one. Then as each dries, I can bring it home and finish turning it, and apply a final finish to it. At any rate, this bowl won't be back in the spotlight for awhile. Wish it luck.
Very nice work, Gary.

I really enjoy your blog postings. You take us through each project step-by-step. And even your comments are weighted with an appropriate amount of good humor, despite nature's setbacks!

Keep plugging along! And keep the blogs coming!

Dave
 

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from ficus log to turned bowl preform

This past Sunday I decided to saw a Y-shaped Ficus log in half and get some bowl blanks out of it. I couldn't fit the 14" section under my band saw's 12" vertical clearance, so I just cut the first half, up to the Y split. Then I spent about 20-30 minutes sawing through the Y with my 24" carpenter saw. Good workout!



I could fit a 10-7/8" circle on each log in the Y area, which I wanted to try turning for the twists in grain and color.



I had to give up for the night, and I'm tired of everything I look at splitting and checking, so I'm just coating every cut face from now on. I have a bunch of planks that had no checks, and which I sealed on the ends, and they split completely in half, right down their middles. What a pain.



10-7/8" diameter circle:



I sawed the ends off the log, and the corners, to start the circular shape, then screwed it to a board so I could prop it against my recently-made, and taller baltic birch fence. I didn't want the log spinning on me. The board would ride on its edge on the table and up against the fence. Now I had a flat on both sides.



Here's the back of the temp plywood rig. The deck screws go into the center of the side that will be the inside of the bowl, so they'll be turned away eventually. This plywood rides up against the fence, and the bowl blank on the other side has its widest edge sitting flush with the table top:



With the flat, I was able to saw it into a decent circle. Here it is with the other pieces I got out of the same log:



And a big bowl blank emerges:







And until I can turn it, I've sealed it entirely:



Meanwhile… I wanted to see what I could do with this little chunk:



This wasn't the shape I was going for, because I'm still learning how to control my tools. This just sort of emerged after a few slips and fixes:



And AS EVER, some checks. Unbelievable. They're just unavoidable for me. Actually, the end of the log was checked, and I think this piece came from down there. I don't know if ficus is even stable enough to fill.



Another problem with ficus is what I believe to be mold. It's a crappy wood for woodworking, but I do have a whole tree of it, and it is good scrap for learning how to resaw and turn things without ruining the good wood.





This is how I had it chucked, if you were wondering:



Had to stop for the night, so more sealing:



Yesterday I was able to turn a groove in the bottom so I could slip the jaws of my chuck into it and flip it around to turn the inside of the bowl. Here's that groove:



This was the first time I was able to easily turn the inside of the bowl, through a combination of the right tools, the right angles and roll of those tools, and proper pressure, cut depth, etc. It felt good to see some improvement in my skills finally.





I turned it very thick so it will hold shape better over the next few months as it dries. Honestly, I'm not sure it'll even hold up, but we'll see. Once it's dry, I'll chuck it again and turn it to its final, thinner, deeper shape.

I've decided to pick up a free shelving unit whenever I can from craigslist (an online classifieds that has a popular branch here in LA) and put it in my office at work. I can bring my turnings in to sit on the shelves there, acting as decorations and conversation pieces all in one. Then as each dries, I can bring it home and finish turning it, and apply a final finish to it. At any rate, this bowl won't be back in the spotlight for awhile. Wish it luck.
i also enjoy all of your blogs … i get to learn with you. you are able to explain and show pictures and videos that help a lot.
thanks
 

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from ficus log to turned bowl preform

This past Sunday I decided to saw a Y-shaped Ficus log in half and get some bowl blanks out of it. I couldn't fit the 14" section under my band saw's 12" vertical clearance, so I just cut the first half, up to the Y split. Then I spent about 20-30 minutes sawing through the Y with my 24" carpenter saw. Good workout!



I could fit a 10-7/8" circle on each log in the Y area, which I wanted to try turning for the twists in grain and color.



I had to give up for the night, and I'm tired of everything I look at splitting and checking, so I'm just coating every cut face from now on. I have a bunch of planks that had no checks, and which I sealed on the ends, and they split completely in half, right down their middles. What a pain.



10-7/8" diameter circle:



I sawed the ends off the log, and the corners, to start the circular shape, then screwed it to a board so I could prop it against my recently-made, and taller baltic birch fence. I didn't want the log spinning on me. The board would ride on its edge on the table and up against the fence. Now I had a flat on both sides.



Here's the back of the temp plywood rig. The deck screws go into the center of the side that will be the inside of the bowl, so they'll be turned away eventually. This plywood rides up against the fence, and the bowl blank on the other side has its widest edge sitting flush with the table top:



With the flat, I was able to saw it into a decent circle. Here it is with the other pieces I got out of the same log:



And a big bowl blank emerges:







And until I can turn it, I've sealed it entirely:



Meanwhile… I wanted to see what I could do with this little chunk:



This wasn't the shape I was going for, because I'm still learning how to control my tools. This just sort of emerged after a few slips and fixes:



And AS EVER, some checks. Unbelievable. They're just unavoidable for me. Actually, the end of the log was checked, and I think this piece came from down there. I don't know if ficus is even stable enough to fill.



Another problem with ficus is what I believe to be mold. It's a crappy wood for woodworking, but I do have a whole tree of it, and it is good scrap for learning how to resaw and turn things without ruining the good wood.





This is how I had it chucked, if you were wondering:



Had to stop for the night, so more sealing:



Yesterday I was able to turn a groove in the bottom so I could slip the jaws of my chuck into it and flip it around to turn the inside of the bowl. Here's that groove:



This was the first time I was able to easily turn the inside of the bowl, through a combination of the right tools, the right angles and roll of those tools, and proper pressure, cut depth, etc. It felt good to see some improvement in my skills finally.





I turned it very thick so it will hold shape better over the next few months as it dries. Honestly, I'm not sure it'll even hold up, but we'll see. Once it's dry, I'll chuck it again and turn it to its final, thinner, deeper shape.

I've decided to pick up a free shelving unit whenever I can from craigslist (an online classifieds that has a popular branch here in LA) and put it in my office at work. I can bring my turnings in to sit on the shelves there, acting as decorations and conversation pieces all in one. Then as each dries, I can bring it home and finish turning it, and apply a final finish to it. At any rate, this bowl won't be back in the spotlight for awhile. Wish it luck.
Why don't you just turn it down thin like the end grain hollow form guys do? They claim it just moves and doesn't check.
 

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from ficus log to turned bowl preform

This past Sunday I decided to saw a Y-shaped Ficus log in half and get some bowl blanks out of it. I couldn't fit the 14" section under my band saw's 12" vertical clearance, so I just cut the first half, up to the Y split. Then I spent about 20-30 minutes sawing through the Y with my 24" carpenter saw. Good workout!



I could fit a 10-7/8" circle on each log in the Y area, which I wanted to try turning for the twists in grain and color.



I had to give up for the night, and I'm tired of everything I look at splitting and checking, so I'm just coating every cut face from now on. I have a bunch of planks that had no checks, and which I sealed on the ends, and they split completely in half, right down their middles. What a pain.



10-7/8" diameter circle:



I sawed the ends off the log, and the corners, to start the circular shape, then screwed it to a board so I could prop it against my recently-made, and taller baltic birch fence. I didn't want the log spinning on me. The board would ride on its edge on the table and up against the fence. Now I had a flat on both sides.



Here's the back of the temp plywood rig. The deck screws go into the center of the side that will be the inside of the bowl, so they'll be turned away eventually. This plywood rides up against the fence, and the bowl blank on the other side has its widest edge sitting flush with the table top:



With the flat, I was able to saw it into a decent circle. Here it is with the other pieces I got out of the same log:



And a big bowl blank emerges:







And until I can turn it, I've sealed it entirely:



Meanwhile… I wanted to see what I could do with this little chunk:



This wasn't the shape I was going for, because I'm still learning how to control my tools. This just sort of emerged after a few slips and fixes:



And AS EVER, some checks. Unbelievable. They're just unavoidable for me. Actually, the end of the log was checked, and I think this piece came from down there. I don't know if ficus is even stable enough to fill.



Another problem with ficus is what I believe to be mold. It's a crappy wood for woodworking, but I do have a whole tree of it, and it is good scrap for learning how to resaw and turn things without ruining the good wood.





This is how I had it chucked, if you were wondering:



Had to stop for the night, so more sealing:



Yesterday I was able to turn a groove in the bottom so I could slip the jaws of my chuck into it and flip it around to turn the inside of the bowl. Here's that groove:



This was the first time I was able to easily turn the inside of the bowl, through a combination of the right tools, the right angles and roll of those tools, and proper pressure, cut depth, etc. It felt good to see some improvement in my skills finally.





I turned it very thick so it will hold shape better over the next few months as it dries. Honestly, I'm not sure it'll even hold up, but we'll see. Once it's dry, I'll chuck it again and turn it to its final, thinner, deeper shape.

I've decided to pick up a free shelving unit whenever I can from craigslist (an online classifieds that has a popular branch here in LA) and put it in my office at work. I can bring my turnings in to sit on the shelves there, acting as decorations and conversation pieces all in one. Then as each dries, I can bring it home and finish turning it, and apply a final finish to it. At any rate, this bowl won't be back in the spotlight for awhile. Wish it luck.
I recently heard an experienced commercial turner explain that he puts green turned finished bowls in 2 large chest freezers for a few weeks. The ice crystals break the cell walls in the wood causing millions of microscopic cracks that cant be seen and dont weaken the wood but allow even drying out after later thawing. This gives him a much lower failure rate.
More commonly used is the microwave method but that has size limitations and has to be done in lots of short bursts of 30 to 60 seconds weighing each time until the weight ceases to drop indicating completed drying. This can also stink out the kitchen and if you try to do longer burns as I once did the inner wood turns to charcoal and fire alarms are triggered!
 

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from ficus log to turned bowl preform

This past Sunday I decided to saw a Y-shaped Ficus log in half and get some bowl blanks out of it. I couldn't fit the 14" section under my band saw's 12" vertical clearance, so I just cut the first half, up to the Y split. Then I spent about 20-30 minutes sawing through the Y with my 24" carpenter saw. Good workout!



I could fit a 10-7/8" circle on each log in the Y area, which I wanted to try turning for the twists in grain and color.



I had to give up for the night, and I'm tired of everything I look at splitting and checking, so I'm just coating every cut face from now on. I have a bunch of planks that had no checks, and which I sealed on the ends, and they split completely in half, right down their middles. What a pain.



10-7/8" diameter circle:



I sawed the ends off the log, and the corners, to start the circular shape, then screwed it to a board so I could prop it against my recently-made, and taller baltic birch fence. I didn't want the log spinning on me. The board would ride on its edge on the table and up against the fence. Now I had a flat on both sides.



Here's the back of the temp plywood rig. The deck screws go into the center of the side that will be the inside of the bowl, so they'll be turned away eventually. This plywood rides up against the fence, and the bowl blank on the other side has its widest edge sitting flush with the table top:



With the flat, I was able to saw it into a decent circle. Here it is with the other pieces I got out of the same log:



And a big bowl blank emerges:







And until I can turn it, I've sealed it entirely:



Meanwhile… I wanted to see what I could do with this little chunk:



This wasn't the shape I was going for, because I'm still learning how to control my tools. This just sort of emerged after a few slips and fixes:



And AS EVER, some checks. Unbelievable. They're just unavoidable for me. Actually, the end of the log was checked, and I think this piece came from down there. I don't know if ficus is even stable enough to fill.



Another problem with ficus is what I believe to be mold. It's a crappy wood for woodworking, but I do have a whole tree of it, and it is good scrap for learning how to resaw and turn things without ruining the good wood.





This is how I had it chucked, if you were wondering:



Had to stop for the night, so more sealing:



Yesterday I was able to turn a groove in the bottom so I could slip the jaws of my chuck into it and flip it around to turn the inside of the bowl. Here's that groove:



This was the first time I was able to easily turn the inside of the bowl, through a combination of the right tools, the right angles and roll of those tools, and proper pressure, cut depth, etc. It felt good to see some improvement in my skills finally.





I turned it very thick so it will hold shape better over the next few months as it dries. Honestly, I'm not sure it'll even hold up, but we'll see. Once it's dry, I'll chuck it again and turn it to its final, thinner, deeper shape.

I've decided to pick up a free shelving unit whenever I can from craigslist (an online classifieds that has a popular branch here in LA) and put it in my office at work. I can bring my turnings in to sit on the shelves there, acting as decorations and conversation pieces all in one. Then as each dries, I can bring it home and finish turning it, and apply a final finish to it. At any rate, this bowl won't be back in the spotlight for awhile. Wish it luck.
lew - I've heard that a few times now. Must be something to it. I'll have to give it a whirl on one of these things soon. Thanks.

Rob - thanks for the tips. I've been trying to think of what to do outside of sealing the whole bowl for awhile, because this ficus seems to mold over immediately when sealed. I have a few species of ficus now, and when I end-seal the little logs, they coat over in green spots, and eventually become completely coated in puffy black on the ends, which seems to be mold. This also happens with paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia). The rest of my supply seems to be holding up well enough in this regard.

Purp - true enough. However, beggars can't be choosers. Here in LA, I take what I can get! Mostly limbs so far, unfortunately. Who knows, though… maybe I'll figure out ways around it one day, after years of experience, and then we'll all be talking about the Fixler method of avoiding checks in limbwood :)

Dave - thanks for the kind words. I'm big on showing off my mistakes. It helps push me to make fewer of them, because of course really I don't want to show failures, and I think it helps embolden the novices (there can't be too many below my level!), and shows them at least that it's okay to make mistakes. They're still the best way to learn. I don't mind too much rushing headlong into something, especially when I have plenty of extra wood. I juggle a bit, too, and I had to drop probably tens of thousands of balls before I could juggle pretty well, especially when I tried to learn the 5-ball cascade. There's a saying I learned from my art pals back in art school - not sure who first said it, as it's been attributed to everyone from Walt Disney to Glenn Vilppu (great figure artist) - but it was basically this: "Everyone has 10,000 bad drawings in them. Once you've drawn all of them, you can begin to draw the good ones." Another saying I love, and I'm pretty sure it was Thomas Edison in reply to someone asking him about his genius was this one: "Genius? Nothing! Sticking to it is the genius! I've failed my way to success."

Paul - thank you! I'm glad the posts are appreciated.

Topamax - I'm going to be doing a lot of that, too, but meanwhile, I want to turn a few things that don't move, which entails turning thick, leaving to dry for months, then turning to final size to remove the subtle warping that still occurs in thicker pieces as they dry. Heavy wood movement can occur in thinner pieces, and in some cases, I'll want that, as it makes for really unique, interesting, and often beautiful pieces with warps and wrinkles all through them. I want to know both techniques, each of which is riddled with sub-techniques, of course. If you remember this weird bowl, I never got shots of it before I gave it away to some guy at work who curiously fell in love with it, but by the time he got it it was very dry, and had warped considerably. It was like a wiggly potato chip, but very hard. I guess you could say like a crispy potato chip. The edge of the bowl made about 2 sine waves around the outside.

David - Interesting! You know, I put a very small piece of Hollywood Juniper (Juniperus chinensis) - seen in this post - in my microwave, just out of curiosity, as I'd not heard of this as a technique at that point. It was maybe 2" long, and not quite 1" thick. After only 5-8 seconds, it was hissing like crazy, and blasting a white vapor out of itself. All the microwaves I've had seem to operate on high, or super-high, because I always have to back off directions by half, or 2/3ds. When you say 30-60 seconds, I cringe, knowing it would be 10 in my microwave. Anyway, the microwave still - months later - stinks like burned juniper. Parts of the little piece were blackened, I guess where the steam was venting out. Juniper is positively loaded with resin, and it just never splits. I've had pieces cut and unsealed now for just about a full year, and none of them have developed checks. I think if you look closely, you'll see a tiny hairline crack near the pith on a couple of them. It's the least splitty wood in my collection, and I'm guessing it's because of the resin filling it up. I was considering using my gas stove in the kitchen to pitch-set a bunch of my small pieces, but then I read that the compounds that come out are highly flammable, and it's just asking for a small explosion or fire in my stove. I'm always frustrated when my seemingly brilliant plans fall through :)
 

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from ficus log to turned bowl preform

This past Sunday I decided to saw a Y-shaped Ficus log in half and get some bowl blanks out of it. I couldn't fit the 14" section under my band saw's 12" vertical clearance, so I just cut the first half, up to the Y split. Then I spent about 20-30 minutes sawing through the Y with my 24" carpenter saw. Good workout!



I could fit a 10-7/8" circle on each log in the Y area, which I wanted to try turning for the twists in grain and color.



I had to give up for the night, and I'm tired of everything I look at splitting and checking, so I'm just coating every cut face from now on. I have a bunch of planks that had no checks, and which I sealed on the ends, and they split completely in half, right down their middles. What a pain.



10-7/8" diameter circle:



I sawed the ends off the log, and the corners, to start the circular shape, then screwed it to a board so I could prop it against my recently-made, and taller baltic birch fence. I didn't want the log spinning on me. The board would ride on its edge on the table and up against the fence. Now I had a flat on both sides.



Here's the back of the temp plywood rig. The deck screws go into the center of the side that will be the inside of the bowl, so they'll be turned away eventually. This plywood rides up against the fence, and the bowl blank on the other side has its widest edge sitting flush with the table top:



With the flat, I was able to saw it into a decent circle. Here it is with the other pieces I got out of the same log:



And a big bowl blank emerges:







And until I can turn it, I've sealed it entirely:



Meanwhile… I wanted to see what I could do with this little chunk:



This wasn't the shape I was going for, because I'm still learning how to control my tools. This just sort of emerged after a few slips and fixes:



And AS EVER, some checks. Unbelievable. They're just unavoidable for me. Actually, the end of the log was checked, and I think this piece came from down there. I don't know if ficus is even stable enough to fill.



Another problem with ficus is what I believe to be mold. It's a crappy wood for woodworking, but I do have a whole tree of it, and it is good scrap for learning how to resaw and turn things without ruining the good wood.





This is how I had it chucked, if you were wondering:



Had to stop for the night, so more sealing:



Yesterday I was able to turn a groove in the bottom so I could slip the jaws of my chuck into it and flip it around to turn the inside of the bowl. Here's that groove:



This was the first time I was able to easily turn the inside of the bowl, through a combination of the right tools, the right angles and roll of those tools, and proper pressure, cut depth, etc. It felt good to see some improvement in my skills finally.





I turned it very thick so it will hold shape better over the next few months as it dries. Honestly, I'm not sure it'll even hold up, but we'll see. Once it's dry, I'll chuck it again and turn it to its final, thinner, deeper shape.

I've decided to pick up a free shelving unit whenever I can from craigslist (an online classifieds that has a popular branch here in LA) and put it in my office at work. I can bring my turnings in to sit on the shelves there, acting as decorations and conversation pieces all in one. Then as each dries, I can bring it home and finish turning it, and apply a final finish to it. At any rate, this bowl won't be back in the spotlight for awhile. Wish it luck.
Yes Gary,
I think it depends a lot on the thickness and type of wood as well as the strength of the microwave that determines the time for each treatment. I tried it a few times on several bowls - all only about 7 or 8 cms diameter. If you have thick resinous green wood the steam pressure must be really high in the deepest parts of the wood and you would need to set the microwave as low as possible and start with short bursts. As the moisture decreases you could slowly increase the time. My microwave has 5 strength settings the lowest being one below defrost.I suspect microwaving works best on thin walled turnings. Anyway I also agree that smell can be a turn-off for some wood types.Many turners do however find a way to use microwave as a good way of speeding up drying but they still get warping , just not so often checking.
The freezing method apparently is more successful at limiting warping.
By the way I must say i really like your enthusiasm about everything you try out. You remind my of myself at a very much younger age.I first stumbled across your blog about salvaging eucalyptus branches in the dark hours.
Here of course we live in forests of gum trees. I have about 10 acres of virgin eucalyptus and other Australian natives on my 18 acres.
 

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from ficus log to turned bowl preform

This past Sunday I decided to saw a Y-shaped Ficus log in half and get some bowl blanks out of it. I couldn't fit the 14" section under my band saw's 12" vertical clearance, so I just cut the first half, up to the Y split. Then I spent about 20-30 minutes sawing through the Y with my 24" carpenter saw. Good workout!



I could fit a 10-7/8" circle on each log in the Y area, which I wanted to try turning for the twists in grain and color.



I had to give up for the night, and I'm tired of everything I look at splitting and checking, so I'm just coating every cut face from now on. I have a bunch of planks that had no checks, and which I sealed on the ends, and they split completely in half, right down their middles. What a pain.



10-7/8" diameter circle:



I sawed the ends off the log, and the corners, to start the circular shape, then screwed it to a board so I could prop it against my recently-made, and taller baltic birch fence. I didn't want the log spinning on me. The board would ride on its edge on the table and up against the fence. Now I had a flat on both sides.



Here's the back of the temp plywood rig. The deck screws go into the center of the side that will be the inside of the bowl, so they'll be turned away eventually. This plywood rides up against the fence, and the bowl blank on the other side has its widest edge sitting flush with the table top:



With the flat, I was able to saw it into a decent circle. Here it is with the other pieces I got out of the same log:



And a big bowl blank emerges:







And until I can turn it, I've sealed it entirely:



Meanwhile… I wanted to see what I could do with this little chunk:



This wasn't the shape I was going for, because I'm still learning how to control my tools. This just sort of emerged after a few slips and fixes:



And AS EVER, some checks. Unbelievable. They're just unavoidable for me. Actually, the end of the log was checked, and I think this piece came from down there. I don't know if ficus is even stable enough to fill.



Another problem with ficus is what I believe to be mold. It's a crappy wood for woodworking, but I do have a whole tree of it, and it is good scrap for learning how to resaw and turn things without ruining the good wood.





This is how I had it chucked, if you were wondering:



Had to stop for the night, so more sealing:



Yesterday I was able to turn a groove in the bottom so I could slip the jaws of my chuck into it and flip it around to turn the inside of the bowl. Here's that groove:



This was the first time I was able to easily turn the inside of the bowl, through a combination of the right tools, the right angles and roll of those tools, and proper pressure, cut depth, etc. It felt good to see some improvement in my skills finally.





I turned it very thick so it will hold shape better over the next few months as it dries. Honestly, I'm not sure it'll even hold up, but we'll see. Once it's dry, I'll chuck it again and turn it to its final, thinner, deeper shape.

I've decided to pick up a free shelving unit whenever I can from craigslist (an online classifieds that has a popular branch here in LA) and put it in my office at work. I can bring my turnings in to sit on the shelves there, acting as decorations and conversation pieces all in one. Then as each dries, I can bring it home and finish turning it, and apply a final finish to it. At any rate, this bowl won't be back in the spotlight for awhile. Wish it luck.
this is a great blog and comments. Lots of information here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
turnings - some failures as prelude to some successes

Earlier this week I ended up with some scrap baltic birch ply, and cut it into squares with the band saw. I sanded the faces a bit and glued them all together overnight with Titebond III and a Bessey K-Body clamp:



A little turning later:



And I was starting to get a wine glass shape:



That's probably where I should have stopped. I knew that going thin-stem with the plywood in this orientation was asking for trouble, but I just kept going anyway, mad with power:



I knew, as well, that I should have turned the inside of the cup before doing the stem, but I got myself confused. I was still turning between centers, and felt that switching to a chuck would make turning the stem too difficult, and also that once the inside of the cup was gone, turning between centers wouldn't be possible. I think both of these conjectures was wrong, but it took some learning the hard way to get here.

I switched to a chuck, and then threw together this makeshift support structure, which actually did work. The brackets were slippery enough that the piece rattled around between them without really getting any marks on it.





Here it is in action:

http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=71377

It was actually wrapping blue tape around the stem to help support it that caused it to break at its weakest ply:



It was a clean break, and fits back together perfectly:



I'm going to glue it back together, then drill a hole straight through the cup and into the base, through the center of the stem (carefully!), then insert a thin dowel through the stem and glue it in tightly. That'll shore it up against finishing up the turning, which I still want to do.

Just for fun, I failed a bit more on turning this small slice of ficus into a plate. I had made a groove in the back for the chuck jaws, then accidentally turned into it once it was chucked. I knew it was going to be risky, because it was very thin, and I'm very inexperienced still, but I'd hoped for the best. It's times like these I wish I had x-ray vision.



In retrospect, it was a pretty deep groove. I had to turn a bit deeper than I wanted there, as that side of the wood was angled significantly. Until I got that deep, the groove stuck out one side of the bark, and the jaws wouldn't be able to hang on. An alternative would have been to flatten that face with a sander, plane, or with another careful resawing, then to glue on a block the chuck could hold, but I'm unsure about gluing onto wet wood yet, and this was just a small scrap of a junky wood, and not worth it to me to go through all of that. At least I was getting some pretty good control on making the face of the plate. It gave me hope for future, successful turnings.

In other news, I gave sharpening my tools on my WorkSharp 3000 a try finally. I haven't had a good home for it, so setting it up always requires dragging it out and clearing a space for it. Being lazy, this means it's been sitting under a table, collecting dust. I definitely need to find a permanent place for it now. With the slotted wheel, which lets you see the edge straight on as you're sharpening it - it was very easy and fast to bring my bowl and spindle gouges back from just rubbing against the surfaces to smoothly creating shavings again.
 

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turnings - some failures as prelude to some successes

Earlier this week I ended up with some scrap baltic birch ply, and cut it into squares with the band saw. I sanded the faces a bit and glued them all together overnight with Titebond III and a Bessey K-Body clamp:



A little turning later:



And I was starting to get a wine glass shape:



That's probably where I should have stopped. I knew that going thin-stem with the plywood in this orientation was asking for trouble, but I just kept going anyway, mad with power:



I knew, as well, that I should have turned the inside of the cup before doing the stem, but I got myself confused. I was still turning between centers, and felt that switching to a chuck would make turning the stem too difficult, and also that once the inside of the cup was gone, turning between centers wouldn't be possible. I think both of these conjectures was wrong, but it took some learning the hard way to get here.

I switched to a chuck, and then threw together this makeshift support structure, which actually did work. The brackets were slippery enough that the piece rattled around between them without really getting any marks on it.





Here it is in action:

http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=71377

It was actually wrapping blue tape around the stem to help support it that caused it to break at its weakest ply:



It was a clean break, and fits back together perfectly:



I'm going to glue it back together, then drill a hole straight through the cup and into the base, through the center of the stem (carefully!), then insert a thin dowel through the stem and glue it in tightly. That'll shore it up against finishing up the turning, which I still want to do.

Just for fun, I failed a bit more on turning this small slice of ficus into a plate. I had made a groove in the back for the chuck jaws, then accidentally turned into it once it was chucked. I knew it was going to be risky, because it was very thin, and I'm very inexperienced still, but I'd hoped for the best. It's times like these I wish I had x-ray vision.



In retrospect, it was a pretty deep groove. I had to turn a bit deeper than I wanted there, as that side of the wood was angled significantly. Until I got that deep, the groove stuck out one side of the bark, and the jaws wouldn't be able to hang on. An alternative would have been to flatten that face with a sander, plane, or with another careful resawing, then to glue on a block the chuck could hold, but I'm unsure about gluing onto wet wood yet, and this was just a small scrap of a junky wood, and not worth it to me to go through all of that. At least I was getting some pretty good control on making the face of the plate. It gave me hope for future, successful turnings.

In other news, I gave sharpening my tools on my WorkSharp 3000 a try finally. I haven't had a good home for it, so setting it up always requires dragging it out and clearing a space for it. Being lazy, this means it's been sitting under a table, collecting dust. I definitely need to find a permanent place for it now. With the slotted wheel, which lets you see the edge straight on as you're sharpening it - it was very easy and fast to bring my bowl and spindle gouges back from just rubbing against the surfaces to smoothly creating shavings again.
Interesting lessons, Gary.

In retrospect, it may be easier to turn the goblet's inside first. That would provide more support for the end type turning. Then use the tail stock to support the work while turning the outside shape.

Lew
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
turnings - some failures as prelude to some successes

Earlier this week I ended up with some scrap baltic birch ply, and cut it into squares with the band saw. I sanded the faces a bit and glued them all together overnight with Titebond III and a Bessey K-Body clamp:



A little turning later:



And I was starting to get a wine glass shape:



That's probably where I should have stopped. I knew that going thin-stem with the plywood in this orientation was asking for trouble, but I just kept going anyway, mad with power:



I knew, as well, that I should have turned the inside of the cup before doing the stem, but I got myself confused. I was still turning between centers, and felt that switching to a chuck would make turning the stem too difficult, and also that once the inside of the cup was gone, turning between centers wouldn't be possible. I think both of these conjectures was wrong, but it took some learning the hard way to get here.

I switched to a chuck, and then threw together this makeshift support structure, which actually did work. The brackets were slippery enough that the piece rattled around between them without really getting any marks on it.





Here it is in action:

http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=71377

It was actually wrapping blue tape around the stem to help support it that caused it to break at its weakest ply:



It was a clean break, and fits back together perfectly:



I'm going to glue it back together, then drill a hole straight through the cup and into the base, through the center of the stem (carefully!), then insert a thin dowel through the stem and glue it in tightly. That'll shore it up against finishing up the turning, which I still want to do.

Just for fun, I failed a bit more on turning this small slice of ficus into a plate. I had made a groove in the back for the chuck jaws, then accidentally turned into it once it was chucked. I knew it was going to be risky, because it was very thin, and I'm very inexperienced still, but I'd hoped for the best. It's times like these I wish I had x-ray vision.



In retrospect, it was a pretty deep groove. I had to turn a bit deeper than I wanted there, as that side of the wood was angled significantly. Until I got that deep, the groove stuck out one side of the bark, and the jaws wouldn't be able to hang on. An alternative would have been to flatten that face with a sander, plane, or with another careful resawing, then to glue on a block the chuck could hold, but I'm unsure about gluing onto wet wood yet, and this was just a small scrap of a junky wood, and not worth it to me to go through all of that. At least I was getting some pretty good control on making the face of the plate. It gave me hope for future, successful turnings.

In other news, I gave sharpening my tools on my WorkSharp 3000 a try finally. I haven't had a good home for it, so setting it up always requires dragging it out and clearing a space for it. Being lazy, this means it's been sitting under a table, collecting dust. I definitely need to find a permanent place for it now. With the slotted wheel, which lets you see the edge straight on as you're sharpening it - it was very easy and fast to bring my bowl and spindle gouges back from just rubbing against the surfaces to smoothly creating shavings again.
Agreed, Lew. I have some things to post soon, maybe tonight, where I did that, and it worked out great!
 

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turnings - some failures as prelude to some successes

Earlier this week I ended up with some scrap baltic birch ply, and cut it into squares with the band saw. I sanded the faces a bit and glued them all together overnight with Titebond III and a Bessey K-Body clamp:



A little turning later:



And I was starting to get a wine glass shape:



That's probably where I should have stopped. I knew that going thin-stem with the plywood in this orientation was asking for trouble, but I just kept going anyway, mad with power:



I knew, as well, that I should have turned the inside of the cup before doing the stem, but I got myself confused. I was still turning between centers, and felt that switching to a chuck would make turning the stem too difficult, and also that once the inside of the cup was gone, turning between centers wouldn't be possible. I think both of these conjectures was wrong, but it took some learning the hard way to get here.

I switched to a chuck, and then threw together this makeshift support structure, which actually did work. The brackets were slippery enough that the piece rattled around between them without really getting any marks on it.





Here it is in action:

http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=71377

It was actually wrapping blue tape around the stem to help support it that caused it to break at its weakest ply:



It was a clean break, and fits back together perfectly:



I'm going to glue it back together, then drill a hole straight through the cup and into the base, through the center of the stem (carefully!), then insert a thin dowel through the stem and glue it in tightly. That'll shore it up against finishing up the turning, which I still want to do.

Just for fun, I failed a bit more on turning this small slice of ficus into a plate. I had made a groove in the back for the chuck jaws, then accidentally turned into it once it was chucked. I knew it was going to be risky, because it was very thin, and I'm very inexperienced still, but I'd hoped for the best. It's times like these I wish I had x-ray vision.



In retrospect, it was a pretty deep groove. I had to turn a bit deeper than I wanted there, as that side of the wood was angled significantly. Until I got that deep, the groove stuck out one side of the bark, and the jaws wouldn't be able to hang on. An alternative would have been to flatten that face with a sander, plane, or with another careful resawing, then to glue on a block the chuck could hold, but I'm unsure about gluing onto wet wood yet, and this was just a small scrap of a junky wood, and not worth it to me to go through all of that. At least I was getting some pretty good control on making the face of the plate. It gave me hope for future, successful turnings.

In other news, I gave sharpening my tools on my WorkSharp 3000 a try finally. I haven't had a good home for it, so setting it up always requires dragging it out and clearing a space for it. Being lazy, this means it's been sitting under a table, collecting dust. I definitely need to find a permanent place for it now. With the slotted wheel, which lets you see the edge straight on as you're sharpening it - it was very easy and fast to bring my bowl and spindle gouges back from just rubbing against the surfaces to smoothly creating shavings again.
Interesting post and concept….I don't think I have ever tried a softwood or any engineered woods on my lathe….Part of the reasoning is just what happened to you….It could also be very dangerous if that piece had launched at you….(do you have your speed down - maybe around 300-500 I'd say?) ..

Thanks for sharing some of the things that go wrong too…nice to discuss them so that we can learn from someone elses experience and thus save us from repeating the same errors.

Also, by the way, what kind of glue did you use? and how did you chuck the piece?

And thanks for sharing about the worksharp…I have looked at them…but still continue to hand sharpen my tools….takes a long time if I use em hard…
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
turnings - some failures as prelude to some successes

Earlier this week I ended up with some scrap baltic birch ply, and cut it into squares with the band saw. I sanded the faces a bit and glued them all together overnight with Titebond III and a Bessey K-Body clamp:



A little turning later:



And I was starting to get a wine glass shape:



That's probably where I should have stopped. I knew that going thin-stem with the plywood in this orientation was asking for trouble, but I just kept going anyway, mad with power:



I knew, as well, that I should have turned the inside of the cup before doing the stem, but I got myself confused. I was still turning between centers, and felt that switching to a chuck would make turning the stem too difficult, and also that once the inside of the cup was gone, turning between centers wouldn't be possible. I think both of these conjectures was wrong, but it took some learning the hard way to get here.

I switched to a chuck, and then threw together this makeshift support structure, which actually did work. The brackets were slippery enough that the piece rattled around between them without really getting any marks on it.





Here it is in action:

http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=71377

It was actually wrapping blue tape around the stem to help support it that caused it to break at its weakest ply:



It was a clean break, and fits back together perfectly:



I'm going to glue it back together, then drill a hole straight through the cup and into the base, through the center of the stem (carefully!), then insert a thin dowel through the stem and glue it in tightly. That'll shore it up against finishing up the turning, which I still want to do.

Just for fun, I failed a bit more on turning this small slice of ficus into a plate. I had made a groove in the back for the chuck jaws, then accidentally turned into it once it was chucked. I knew it was going to be risky, because it was very thin, and I'm very inexperienced still, but I'd hoped for the best. It's times like these I wish I had x-ray vision.



In retrospect, it was a pretty deep groove. I had to turn a bit deeper than I wanted there, as that side of the wood was angled significantly. Until I got that deep, the groove stuck out one side of the bark, and the jaws wouldn't be able to hang on. An alternative would have been to flatten that face with a sander, plane, or with another careful resawing, then to glue on a block the chuck could hold, but I'm unsure about gluing onto wet wood yet, and this was just a small scrap of a junky wood, and not worth it to me to go through all of that. At least I was getting some pretty good control on making the face of the plate. It gave me hope for future, successful turnings.

In other news, I gave sharpening my tools on my WorkSharp 3000 a try finally. I haven't had a good home for it, so setting it up always requires dragging it out and clearing a space for it. Being lazy, this means it's been sitting under a table, collecting dust. I definitely need to find a permanent place for it now. With the slotted wheel, which lets you see the edge straight on as you're sharpening it - it was very easy and fast to bring my bowl and spindle gouges back from just rubbing against the surfaces to smoothly creating shavings again.
Reggie - I'm curious to try all things. Plywood turnings can be really pretty, and I've seen some that use multicolor laminates to make colorful stripes through the pieces. You can buy plywood pre-colored like this from some places. The glue was Titebond III. The piece was first put between centers while I turned it to a cylinder. Then I chucked one end of the piece in my one-way chuck with the other end supported by the tailstock. You can see these setups in some of the pics.

Hope I end up helping out some! I'm still quite an amateur, however.
 

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European Olive champagne glass

Not a drinker, but I still appreciate the form of champagne glasses. I had a chunk of completely unsplit European olive from my pile of blanks, about the right length and diameter when turned to cylindrical to let me try my hand at something beyond plates and bowls, even though I've far from mastered them yet.

I put the block between centers, turned it cylindrical, then swapped the head center for my Oneway Talon chuck, and used the tail center to support it a bit as I carved the outside of the flute, down to the stem, but not narrowing it down anywhere near the final thin diameter. Once I had an okay shape outside, I removed the tailstock and carefully turned the inside with a mix of Sorby tools: 1/4-inch bowl gouge, 1/2-inch Spindlemaster, and as it got deeper, the internal shear scraper. Then I went back and did the stem and base, still unsupported.



I got the wall pretty uniform in thickness, and it's pretty smooth. The outside is perfectly smooth, but the inside has very faintly-felt ridges. Still have to learn better how to feel those away with the tools.





At this point I was excited to try BLO on this thing and wiped on several coats. I decided I wasn't too thrilled with it. It really mutes the contrasts instead of making them stand out. Also, I picked up wipe-on poly, but it's water based, and later I realized I should really use an oil-based topcoat over BLO. I guess I'll have to go out and get some of that, too.

You can see some light coming through the thin wall of the cup inside.



I'm leaving the chunky base on it so I can chuck it back up later to do more sanding and finishing work, then I'll part it off to leave a thin base.



It's been 3 days since I turned and coated it, so I've got at least another 3 or 4 before it's pretty dry and ready for the next steps.



The base and cup have both warped into a rounded isosceles triangles sitting on my desk this week (no pictures since the turning day yet), so I won't be doing any more turning on this piece. The walls of the cup are about 3/32" - not enough left to try to re-round the shape. I'm fine with that, and like the odd look to it, but it'll be fun in the future to also turn some perfect things that stay more or less perfectly round. I'll have to wait for the olive to dry entirely before I can do that.

I'll follow up on this with pics of the warped shapes and final finish when I get there next week sometime.

The important thing is that 3 days later, I still have not one check anywhere in the entire piece. No splits! This is Euro olive we're talking about. It splits when you look at it funny. I think it has a lot to do with where in the log the turning blank comes from. I went through a week ago and sorted all my Euro olive bottle-stopper blanks into 3 piles of 'no checks at all,' 'very few, light checks,' and 'heavily checked down entire length, some nearly split in half.' The piles were surprisingly even - about the same number per pile - but I noticed something later. All the ones that split lightly were a pretty mix of sap and heart woods, with the division kind of cutting through the middles of the pieces. All the completely unsplit pieces seemed to be without one, though I forget which. They were either all heart, or all sap, and I kind of think it was all-heart. I'll have to check later and get some pics, and do a blog post on just that, as I think it's interesting info.

I think the BLO is also helping this thing to not lose moisture too fast as it dries.
 

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European Olive champagne glass

Not a drinker, but I still appreciate the form of champagne glasses. I had a chunk of completely unsplit European olive from my pile of blanks, about the right length and diameter when turned to cylindrical to let me try my hand at something beyond plates and bowls, even though I've far from mastered them yet.

I put the block between centers, turned it cylindrical, then swapped the head center for my Oneway Talon chuck, and used the tail center to support it a bit as I carved the outside of the flute, down to the stem, but not narrowing it down anywhere near the final thin diameter. Once I had an okay shape outside, I removed the tailstock and carefully turned the inside with a mix of Sorby tools: 1/4-inch bowl gouge, 1/2-inch Spindlemaster, and as it got deeper, the internal shear scraper. Then I went back and did the stem and base, still unsupported.



I got the wall pretty uniform in thickness, and it's pretty smooth. The outside is perfectly smooth, but the inside has very faintly-felt ridges. Still have to learn better how to feel those away with the tools.





At this point I was excited to try BLO on this thing and wiped on several coats. I decided I wasn't too thrilled with it. It really mutes the contrasts instead of making them stand out. Also, I picked up wipe-on poly, but it's water based, and later I realized I should really use an oil-based topcoat over BLO. I guess I'll have to go out and get some of that, too.

You can see some light coming through the thin wall of the cup inside.



I'm leaving the chunky base on it so I can chuck it back up later to do more sanding and finishing work, then I'll part it off to leave a thin base.



It's been 3 days since I turned and coated it, so I've got at least another 3 or 4 before it's pretty dry and ready for the next steps.



The base and cup have both warped into a rounded isosceles triangles sitting on my desk this week (no pictures since the turning day yet), so I won't be doing any more turning on this piece. The walls of the cup are about 3/32" - not enough left to try to re-round the shape. I'm fine with that, and like the odd look to it, but it'll be fun in the future to also turn some perfect things that stay more or less perfectly round. I'll have to wait for the olive to dry entirely before I can do that.

I'll follow up on this with pics of the warped shapes and final finish when I get there next week sometime.

The important thing is that 3 days later, I still have not one check anywhere in the entire piece. No splits! This is Euro olive we're talking about. It splits when you look at it funny. I think it has a lot to do with where in the log the turning blank comes from. I went through a week ago and sorted all my Euro olive bottle-stopper blanks into 3 piles of 'no checks at all,' 'very few, light checks,' and 'heavily checked down entire length, some nearly split in half.' The piles were surprisingly even - about the same number per pile - but I noticed something later. All the ones that split lightly were a pretty mix of sap and heart woods, with the division kind of cutting through the middles of the pieces. All the completely unsplit pieces seemed to be without one, though I forget which. They were either all heart, or all sap, and I kind of think it was all-heart. I'll have to check later and get some pics, and do a blog post on just that, as I think it's interesting info.

I think the BLO is also helping this thing to not lose moisture too fast as it dries.
looks great Gary fun turning
 

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European Olive champagne glass

Not a drinker, but I still appreciate the form of champagne glasses. I had a chunk of completely unsplit European olive from my pile of blanks, about the right length and diameter when turned to cylindrical to let me try my hand at something beyond plates and bowls, even though I've far from mastered them yet.

I put the block between centers, turned it cylindrical, then swapped the head center for my Oneway Talon chuck, and used the tail center to support it a bit as I carved the outside of the flute, down to the stem, but not narrowing it down anywhere near the final thin diameter. Once I had an okay shape outside, I removed the tailstock and carefully turned the inside with a mix of Sorby tools: 1/4-inch bowl gouge, 1/2-inch Spindlemaster, and as it got deeper, the internal shear scraper. Then I went back and did the stem and base, still unsupported.



I got the wall pretty uniform in thickness, and it's pretty smooth. The outside is perfectly smooth, but the inside has very faintly-felt ridges. Still have to learn better how to feel those away with the tools.





At this point I was excited to try BLO on this thing and wiped on several coats. I decided I wasn't too thrilled with it. It really mutes the contrasts instead of making them stand out. Also, I picked up wipe-on poly, but it's water based, and later I realized I should really use an oil-based topcoat over BLO. I guess I'll have to go out and get some of that, too.

You can see some light coming through the thin wall of the cup inside.



I'm leaving the chunky base on it so I can chuck it back up later to do more sanding and finishing work, then I'll part it off to leave a thin base.



It's been 3 days since I turned and coated it, so I've got at least another 3 or 4 before it's pretty dry and ready for the next steps.



The base and cup have both warped into a rounded isosceles triangles sitting on my desk this week (no pictures since the turning day yet), so I won't be doing any more turning on this piece. The walls of the cup are about 3/32" - not enough left to try to re-round the shape. I'm fine with that, and like the odd look to it, but it'll be fun in the future to also turn some perfect things that stay more or less perfectly round. I'll have to wait for the olive to dry entirely before I can do that.

I'll follow up on this with pics of the warped shapes and final finish when I get there next week sometime.

The important thing is that 3 days later, I still have not one check anywhere in the entire piece. No splits! This is Euro olive we're talking about. It splits when you look at it funny. I think it has a lot to do with where in the log the turning blank comes from. I went through a week ago and sorted all my Euro olive bottle-stopper blanks into 3 piles of 'no checks at all,' 'very few, light checks,' and 'heavily checked down entire length, some nearly split in half.' The piles were surprisingly even - about the same number per pile - but I noticed something later. All the ones that split lightly were a pretty mix of sap and heart woods, with the division kind of cutting through the middles of the pieces. All the completely unsplit pieces seemed to be without one, though I forget which. They were either all heart, or all sap, and I kind of think it was all-heart. I'll have to check later and get some pics, and do a blog post on just that, as I think it's interesting info.

I think the BLO is also helping this thing to not lose moisture too fast as it dries.
Good job Gary!
 

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European Olive champagne glass

Not a drinker, but I still appreciate the form of champagne glasses. I had a chunk of completely unsplit European olive from my pile of blanks, about the right length and diameter when turned to cylindrical to let me try my hand at something beyond plates and bowls, even though I've far from mastered them yet.

I put the block between centers, turned it cylindrical, then swapped the head center for my Oneway Talon chuck, and used the tail center to support it a bit as I carved the outside of the flute, down to the stem, but not narrowing it down anywhere near the final thin diameter. Once I had an okay shape outside, I removed the tailstock and carefully turned the inside with a mix of Sorby tools: 1/4-inch bowl gouge, 1/2-inch Spindlemaster, and as it got deeper, the internal shear scraper. Then I went back and did the stem and base, still unsupported.



I got the wall pretty uniform in thickness, and it's pretty smooth. The outside is perfectly smooth, but the inside has very faintly-felt ridges. Still have to learn better how to feel those away with the tools.





At this point I was excited to try BLO on this thing and wiped on several coats. I decided I wasn't too thrilled with it. It really mutes the contrasts instead of making them stand out. Also, I picked up wipe-on poly, but it's water based, and later I realized I should really use an oil-based topcoat over BLO. I guess I'll have to go out and get some of that, too.

You can see some light coming through the thin wall of the cup inside.



I'm leaving the chunky base on it so I can chuck it back up later to do more sanding and finishing work, then I'll part it off to leave a thin base.



It's been 3 days since I turned and coated it, so I've got at least another 3 or 4 before it's pretty dry and ready for the next steps.



The base and cup have both warped into a rounded isosceles triangles sitting on my desk this week (no pictures since the turning day yet), so I won't be doing any more turning on this piece. The walls of the cup are about 3/32" - not enough left to try to re-round the shape. I'm fine with that, and like the odd look to it, but it'll be fun in the future to also turn some perfect things that stay more or less perfectly round. I'll have to wait for the olive to dry entirely before I can do that.

I'll follow up on this with pics of the warped shapes and final finish when I get there next week sometime.

The important thing is that 3 days later, I still have not one check anywhere in the entire piece. No splits! This is Euro olive we're talking about. It splits when you look at it funny. I think it has a lot to do with where in the log the turning blank comes from. I went through a week ago and sorted all my Euro olive bottle-stopper blanks into 3 piles of 'no checks at all,' 'very few, light checks,' and 'heavily checked down entire length, some nearly split in half.' The piles were surprisingly even - about the same number per pile - but I noticed something later. All the ones that split lightly were a pretty mix of sap and heart woods, with the division kind of cutting through the middles of the pieces. All the completely unsplit pieces seemed to be without one, though I forget which. They were either all heart, or all sap, and I kind of think it was all-heart. I'll have to check later and get some pics, and do a blog post on just that, as I think it's interesting info.

I think the BLO is also helping this thing to not lose moisture too fast as it dries.
Very nice. A goblet is definitely on my todo list!
 
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