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A bit of advice please

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Hi....I'm a novice when it comes to woodturning. I have managed to turn a few rustic vases out of driftwood that were a success. I sell them in my little online shop. Its all trial and error though....which I hate! I've had a block of wood come flying off the lathe which was really painful. It was my mistake though....I forgot to put the tail stock in. A mistake I won't make again.

The problem I'm having now is the turning of natural egde bowls....or bowls in general. The first one I attempted was a crude success and I was chuffed to bits. The second kept coming off the lathe but was salvagable. Every attempt after that has been a disaster to the extent I've completely lost my confidence. The gouge keeps digging in on the inside and the bowl comes flying off. Its like a horse that can sense my nervousness...lol. I'm unsure of what height the rest should be...I keep adjusting it. How to hold the tool...which tool to use. I've watched videos until they are coming out of my ears....it all looks so easy.

I have a beautiful burr on the lathe just now. The outside is gorgeous....the inside I'm down to a depth of only an inch and the bowl gouge keeps catching. This is as far as I seem to get then off it comes!! Its held on with screws...the chuck wasn't working for me...lol.

So....my confidence is shattered as I know its going to come off and be ruined. I'm being all girly now. I use all the power tools under the sun....but when something goes wrong....I walk away. Can someone point me in the right direction.

Jane
 
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Right....when I looked at the gouge, I was horribly embarrassed by how I had sharpened it. Thought I'd include a pic of my terrible set-up :oops: All my tools are rusty as my shed roof is leaking and very damp.
 

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petercharlesfagg

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Congratulations on trying something that is outside your comfort zone!

It looks as if you have a lovely piece of timber on your lathe and it would be terrible not to make the most of it!

In the first instance I would say that although your shed leaks there is no reason for your tools to be rusty, cover the lathe with a plastic sheet and when you have finished with your main gouges take them indoors, I did for years until I had enough money to build a custom workshop, a leather or cloth tool roll is very useful.

Judging by the picture of your gouge, my first thought is to lose those wings! (The sticky up bits!) 90% of your catches are probably due to those and removing them will improve the tool handling immensely!

What are you using to sharpen your tools? The ground surface looks particularly rough, most people would recommend a 60 to 100 grit grinding wheel, expensive in the beginning but will pay for itself extremely rapidly in satisfaction of a job well done! The expensive wet wheels can wait until the bug bites really deeply! :D

For the first 5 years of my turning I used the cheapest 6 inch diameter grinder from Clarke tools but fitted it with the above mentioned wheel. A set of angled wooden blocks that could be screwed to the bench in front of the grind wheel sufficed as a guide for sharpening.

Above all do not give up hope, we have all been down the same road, I think, so catches are something to live with, I still get them now and again!

Have you got any good woodturning instruction books? They will show you better than I can describe what your bowl gouge should look like.

Please try again, we all want you to be happy and relaxed in your turning.

Regards Peter.

PS. I too started with a single bar lathe, you will find things so much easier if you use some emery paper on the bar to polish it and then apply something like Lubo from Liberon, wipe everything down after each session and everything will move much better and less likely to rust. (Polish the top edge of your toolrest)

PPS. As regards setting to toolpost, if you sight the tip section of the gouge, level, at the centre of the timber, dependent on the diameter of the gouge the toolrest will be about the thickness of the gouge below centre.
 

nev

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firstly, Hi Jane, welcome to the forum!
I'd say that your bowl turning experience will become a whole lot more enjoyable with a bit of work to that gouge.
Excuse me if I state the obvious, but I'll start at the beginning just in case.

The gouge will need to be ground at the correct angle (varies slightly due to personal preferences), the correct profile (shape, again varies) and needs to be sharp! (doesnt vary :) )
and the bevel needs to be one smooth constant. something like this from another post

.

it is this bevel that supports the tool in use so it doesnt bounce around the place. As peter says, the 'wings' you have on yours will dig in almost immediately, as you can see on this one they are swept back so that the tool can be presented at the correct angle to cut without digging in and frightening your trousers brown :shock:

there are a lot more eloquent explanations out there and you could do a lot worse than investing in the new to woodturning turners bible ...
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Woodturning-Fou ... 1861081146

which covers all of the basics of turning including not only the how but also the why to sharpening each tool to a particular profile etc. I really could not do without it when i started (and i still refer back to it now and then when i have a senior moment :oops: )

To sharpen you will need a minimum of a 6 inch bench grinder with a 'white' or 'finer' wheel on it, and an adjustable platform / jig to support the gouge at the correct angle whilst sharpening.

some advice here grinder-help-t57826.html?hilit=grinder%20help

a home made jig is fine, there are some instructions on how to make a simple one in the rowley book
(you can flick through the pages online :wink: )

So question 1. do you have a bench grinder and jig?
 
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Can I say a big thank you to you both for your advice!

Peter...you are right. There is no excuse for a rusty lathe or tools....but being a female I could come up with loads =). I am using a grinding wheel but I cant access it properly due to loads of gardening equipment and stuff being in front of it. I have to stretch at an angle to sharpen. Tomorrow, I am going to clear the shed up properly, clean all the tools up and start again. I am totally unorganised and untidy in the shed to the extent its hindering me from doing anything properly! Thanks for the confidence boost though. I am so excited about learning the art of woodturning....exposing beautiful wood grain....and having fun!

Nev....haha....my trousers seem to be brown all the time. The washing machine is tired of them! Its my birthday soon so I'll put in a request for the turners bible =)
Answer 1....yes, I have a bench grinder but with very rough wheels. And no I don't have a jig. I had looked at making one though so I'll have a look at the link you gave me.

Thank you both again. I'll re-read and digest.....and let you know how I get on.

Jane
 

nev

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tidalcreations":1lr0l710 said:
...Thank you both again. I'll re-read and digest.....and let you know how I get on.

Jane
please do. My only turning instruction is from the Keith Rowley book and this forum. They are friendly bunch on here and i imagine there would have been a lot more replies if they weren't all either in the shed desperately trying to suspend their balls before the deadline! (February challenge) or down the pub drowning their sorrows (if they're English) or celebrating (if they're not :twisted: ) after the rugby :mrgreen:
 

Dieseldog

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Have you thought about joining a local woodturning club....i did and they was and still are very helpful and im sure you will pick up lots of tips from the guys at a club

You could take your turning tools along and im sure they would show you what grinding wheel to use and they would sort your tools out for you... ie get rid of them wings

Also have a look on Youtube as there is loads of Vidoes on there and ive found them to be very helpful
 

Paul.J

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Hello Jane and welcome :D
I would try and get those corners ground off the gouge as these will be causing most of your catches,they don't need to be as far swept back as what Nev is showing to start with,that can be done as you grind the gouge,taking the wings back further a little more each time you grind.
What size bowl gaiuge are you using?
This can be done free hand with patience,and you can use your coarser stone to take most the steel away to reshape it,and finish off with a smoother stone for your final bit of shaping.
Your tool rest should be set so the tools cutting tip is on center to the work piece,also looking at your piccy take the rest past the center of the work so the tool don't fall off the rest when cutting.
How many screws,and what size, have you got holding the work on.Did you get a good tight purchase with the screws?
What size face plate are you using?
You also seem to have your lathe set quite away back from the front edge of the bench,if you can bring it nearer so you aren't reaching as far over.
Are you wearing any face protection?
 

Paul Hannaby

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Hi Jane,
Is that piece of wood you have on the lathe is mounted with the grain running parallel to the bed so you are hollowing end grain?
 

wabbitpoo

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If you have been hurt by flying wood, please make sure you have a good face protector (and lungs, come to that)
 
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Nev....It does look like a friendly place. I'm looking forward to participating more =)

Dieseldog...I think the local woodturning club is quite a distance away but I'll look into it. I am supposed to be having a professional woodturner coming here sometime. As he lives quite a distance away also, I would like to get a head start with woodturning and get the workshed cleaned up.

Paul....thanks for the welcome. I'll try and take some of the wings off. Its a 1/2 inch gouge. Its the only bowl gouge I have. I've loads of other tools though, roughing gouges, skew chisels, scrapers, etc. I inherited or rescued the lathe and oodles of tools from a rundown workshop that was going to be destroyed.

There are 8 1 1/2" screws holding it on...and I didn't get a tight purchase with any of them! The faceplate is about 4 1/2". I'll look into getting the lathe nearer the front.
Face Protection?....Ummm...just goggles.....yeah....I know!

Hi Paul H.....Yes the grain is running parallel with the bed. I guess thats why I didn't get a tight purchase with the screws? I did try and angle them slightly. I can't cut my own blanks at the moment so am limited to what I have....thats another thing I have to address.

Thanks Wabbitpoo....your comment is duly noted =)
 

richburrow

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keep at it :D

what do you mean by
the chuck wasn't working for me...

take a pic and post it up for us to see what is is like.
End grain turning bowls is a swine, however you approach it!!!!!
rich
 

boysie39

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Welcome Jane , You will get good advice on here, most important to date is GET FACE PROTECTION.
 

dickm

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boysie39":2ih855t3 said:
Welcome Jane , You will get good advice on here, most important to date is GET FACE PROTECTION.
.... and make sure you WEAR it. (he says, nursing a split lip, having just taken off his chainsaw helmet, thinking that he wouldn't slip onto that sharp ended piece of branch)
 

Wood spoiler

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Welcome to the forum Jane

for what is to follow I apologise :oops:

nev":1ac0l57g said:
or down the pub drowning their sorrows (if they're English) or celebrating (if they're not :twisted: ) after the rugby :mrgreen:
Thats right we can't all be jammy Welsh relying on poor eye sight of the umpires or lack of knowledge of the rules. It went to TV ref before "advantage over" was called. If the tv is inconclusive the advantage is meant to be with the attacking team. Me a bitter Englishman .... never. We just have to suffer the insults from the subjugated masses! :lol: :twisted: :-# :-#

ps sorry to hijack your thread Jane.

pps Do keep trying. Nev may be Welsh ... but he is right with his woodturning comments.

ppps Sorry Nev - no real offence intended :lol:
 

nev

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Wood spoiler":33b8lj91 said:
...ppps Sorry Nev - no real offence intended :lol:
None taken. Not many of can choose where we're born. Its just unfortunate that some are born on the wrong side of the bridge :wink:

Sorry Jane :oops:
 

Sawyer

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Welcome the to the forum Jane.
As has already been suggested, the bevel profile is all-important and is probably the cause of much of the problem.
Another point though; are you hollowing from the the middle outwards or from edge inwards?
The technique for end grain (cut towards the edge) and side grain (cut towards the centre) are different in this respect, with the basic principle being to cut 'with' the grain, not against it, which invites trouble.
 
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