I really wish I documented my first wood turning bowl!
I grabbed a piece of willow that was laying in the river for 10 years or more, surprisingly it dried quickly and I was able to turn it. It was soft, there were many spots that were almost rotten, however, I still turned it and my wife has it on the table with some apples in it 🙂
I finished the bowl with mineral spirits from rockler.com, although I could have gotten the finish cheaper elsewhere, I wanted to make sure the finish was safe to put food into.
Now my second bowl was from the wood pile that was destined to be firewood. I’m almost positive it’s a piece of ash, it’s very hard and very difficult to shape…. although that could just be because I have a Harbor Freight Lathe 🙂 It had a diameter of 11″ or so, it was perfect for my harbor freight lathe.
This is really the first time I started a bowl or any wood turning project and had my Nova Chuck, I wasn’t sure if I should make a tennon or make a recess. I ended up making a recess on the bottom of the bowl for the Nova chuck jaws, first I cleaned up the end of the log and then I flattened it.
I had some cracks and checks. Just mixed up some CA glue with wood shavings and also used some plain ole wood glue with wood shavings. Basically, you stuff the crack or hole with wood shaveings or sawdust and squirt some CA into it or you can use plain ole wood glue, but remember both will take on a different color when you apply a finish to the project. You just need to experiment to see what works best for you. Most wood turners seem to be using CA or an Expoxy mixed with the wood shavings. You can look up more on the subject and also search for “stablizing wood” you’ll get a good idea on how to use the different glues and expoxies on your wood turning projects. Did you know that you can use CA glue for a finsh? I need to find a good supplier for CA (superglue) glue in a larger container. I ended up getting small tubes and they always dry up or harden if not used right away.
I suppose I should tell you how I started.
I grabbed the ash log, it had a diameter of 12″ and I cut it to length of 12″. Then I cut the log in half, thru the center of the log.
I wanted to mount my face plate on the outside (bark side) of the log so I flattened that area of the log by running it through the band saw, the other bowl project I just used a chain saw. Next I flipped the log over and traced a circle from the faceplate side and cut the circle out using the band saw. It was a rough circle and I’ve watched some guys just mount the log without rounding the corners …..looked a little to dangerous that way so I wanted to round it off first.
I mounted the faceplate with attached log, pushed my live center into the log and started turning. You can see by the image what I had and how it was working. So far so good, I like the shape, I’ve been sharpening my tools by hand, I haven’t had the time to set up my oneway grinding/sharpening guide. I really need to do that because I want to see what these tools can do before I invest in anything expensive or I try some of the carbide tipped tools I plan on making.
All I can say is this that wood turning is a log of fun, very addicting! Already I wish I had a lathe with a little more power 🙂 The harbor freight
has turned some of the softer woods very easily, but this dry ash is really tough on the lathe. I was thinking of a Laguna or Nova Wood Lathe, several guys have these and love em!
For instance if you’re looking for a new lathe check out some of these features. I have a couple of other Laguna power tools and really like them.
The Revo 18|36 Lathe from Laguna combines power, precision and advanced features, resulting in a turning experience like no other. The lathe features a polished steel bed for the utmost in strength and stability, and the smoothest possible movement of the headstock, tailstock and tool rest. A full 18” of outboard capacity allows you to turn large bowls, while 36” of inboard capacity lets you turn long spindles, table legs and island legs. The lathe is powered by a unique motor that converts a 1-phase input to a 3-phase output. This 3-phase output delivers smooth, even power, even when the lathe is under heavy loads. It also provides infinitely variable speed within the two general speed ranges without sacrificing power or torque at lower RPMs. The anodized aluminum control panel is exquisitely designed, and angled for easy visibility and accessibility to all knobs. It features a large blue-hued digital read-out that gives you precise RPM readouts at all times, and easy adjustments with the comfortable rubber-coated knob.
Second bowl for me, a lot less tears, less gouges and a lot less tear outs! I used my Woodstock Bowl Gouge and 1″ scraper for most of it so far. I also used the skew to create the recess for the Nova Chuck.
I think I’ll make up some of Cap’n Eddie’s OB Shine Juice for a finish. One thing I didn’t think of is how do I deal with the insert hole for the Nova Chuck Jaws? I know with a tennon I can just cut it off, but not sure how to deal with a hole in the bottom of my bowl….. guess I’ll have to do a little research!
Maybe I’ll shoot some video of turning and finishing this bowl. I will post some pics of how it turns out and will try to do a sequence. My wife thinks they are beautiful, all I see are the imperfections …..I could easily throw them away. Oh…I need to tell you about the cup I made from gluing up about 5 2×6’s …. looks really cool!
And…. I have another project in mind. I was driving past a local city landfill…. organic stuff, and I found some pine with a 8 to 10 inch diameter. I have a lamp project in mind!
You gotta keep you eyes open for downed wood, cable, electric and phone line guys are always around keeping the right away clear for their lines…. an excellent place to pick up enough wood to turn for a whole year!
I did a post on how and where to find free wood for your turning projects. Not quite done with it, but I think it will help some of you guys out. Will try to get that stuff posted in the next week of so.
Until then….. happy wood turning!!!