1st time turner vs. ambitious project... advice please

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Forum topic by JackStraw42 posted 07-17-2016 06:02 PM 967 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 1488 days

07-17-2016 06:02 PM

Hi all. I’m planning to turn at 13” segmented teak bowl to be used as a sink in my basement. I’ll be using g-flex marine epoxy for the glue-up and a Teak Oil varnish mix to finish, at the recommendation of the wooden boat builders forum. I designed the bowl using Woodturner Pro. I’m planning to turn a couple test bowls first using less expensive wood before attempting the real thing. I’ve built one of the wedgie sleds, stop jig, and zero clearance insert for my table saw. It works great! I’m finishing up gluing my 1st test bowl now. However, i still have work to do before i can start turning. Here are my questions for you guys:

Tools: I assume that i’m going to get addicted to turning, but i’m not ready to jump in with both feet yet. I would like to spend as little as possible on tools to start, and upgrade later if it’s a hobby that sticks. What would be the minimum required turning tools i need to buy to get this done? I’ve read that the Simple carbide tools have a shorter learning curve, but that traditional tools are still proffered by experienced turners. Could i get by with the Simple bowl hollower for now? Or, is there something better i should use?

Lathe RPM: I’m thinking slow and steady wins this race, right? I have a salvaged washing machine motor that i’ve wired up to switches to control RPM. 850, 1250, and 1750. The motor will have a small pully that will drive a larger one to reduce the RPM. Exactly how large i’m not sure. I’ve read that the bowl diameter times the RPM should be between 6000 and 9000? If that is true, and i go with the smaller number, that puts me at around 460 rpm. Does that sound right? Should i go even slower?

Safety: Not a question here… just couple notes. I do have a full face shield that i’ll be using for this. I’ll also keep out of the line of fire where possible. I was thinking i might make the v-belt driven pullies a little shallow and the belt tension a little slack so that any real resistance will actually halt the lathe rather than break something. I’ve seen other people do this… does that sound reasonable?

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

4 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


5829 posts in 4472 days

#1 posted 07-17-2016 08:17 PM

Could i get by with the Simple bowl hollower for now?

Harrison’s Simple Hollower is a fine tool, and should be all you need. I have had one for about two years now (just finished a hollow form with it today), and have been absolutely satisfied with the tool and the cutters.

As for speed, the formula you cited is commonly accepted, however once you get past the roughing stage you should be able to creep the speed up. The piece I was working on today is only 5” deep and 6” in diameter, and I was turning at 1500rpm.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View JackStraw42's profile


12 posts in 1488 days

#2 posted 07-18-2016 05:26 PM

Thanks Dane! I’ve ordered the Simple hollower and a handle. I’ve decided to build several step pullies so i can play with more speeds. I appreciate your response… thanks again!

View runswithscissors's profile


3107 posts in 2834 days

#3 posted 07-19-2016 07:12 AM

Before gluing up teak, wipe down the mating surfaces with acetone to remove the natural oils, which epoxy doesn’t get along with very well.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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12 posts in 1488 days

#4 posted 07-19-2016 11:21 AM

Thanks RWS… yep, that’s the plan!

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