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Logs that may be too short for Bowls

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artanddecco

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I was fortunate to get some logs from an Ash tree. As a newbie, I stupidly had them cut too small, the diameter is 10 inches and the lengths are only 5 inches. I have since been told that the lengths should be greater than the diameter. So having only used my lathe for a day, wonder how I can Turn this wood, could I make them into plates, as I had in mind making some turned backing plates with rims and inserting mosaic. I realize bowls are turned from logs that our split in two, with the grain running across the bowl, but can I hollow out a shallow insert on these logs, possibly cut to even shorter lengths, and have the grain running along the line of the short spindle. I cannot see why not, but as a newbie, have no experience and maybe this is a no no. If the answer is no, and no other suggestions for their use, then they can always be chopped for firewood !
John
 

Paul Hannaby

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Hi John,
You are right that bowls are normally turned side grain from a section of a log but that doesn't mean they always have to be. You can turn bowls end grain but I would suggest you aim for a thin wall and make it even thickness throughout so if the wood contracts, it will distort rather than cracking.

Remember that because of the grain direction, you shape the outside of the (end grain) bowl by cutting from the outside to the centre and for hollowing, cut from the centre to the edge.

Here's an example of an end grain bowl just to show I'm not making it all up! :wink:

 

artanddecco

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Hi Paul
Very impressed with your unusual bowl, and encouraged that all is not lost. My big problem as a beginner will be to obtain such a thin and even finish, without breaking through the delicate sides. Me thinks that I have a long way to go before I even attempt such a feat. Any tips on how you achieved it would be appreciated. How thick are the walls, what tools did you use, what lathe speeds. Because it is so thin, it must be quite nerve racking coming close to the final stage !
John
 

Paul Hannaby

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Hi John,
The outside was done with a spindle gouge. The inside is usually done with a combination of bowl gouge and some form of hollowing tool. For open end grain hollowing like this, the ring tool is one of my favourites but you could use whatever you have available.
Lathe speed is usually worked out by dividing the diameter of the piece being worked on into 6000. i.e. a 6 inch diameter work piece would be turned at 1000 rpm but the proviso here is start slow and increase the speed but if you start to get vibrations, slow it down until they stop.
Wall thickness can be whatever you feel safe with but within reason, the thinner you go, the better the chances are that it won't split. I usually aim for around 3mm on something like this. To turn a thin walled bowl, remember to work in sections, finishing each section as you go - the reason here is the unturned section ahead of the one you're working on gives support so once you move on to the next section, don't go back!
If you are methodical it's not nerve racking at all, just don't rush things and concentrate on what you're doing.
 

ncpaladin

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You can do as suggested and turn some endgrain.
You can also quarter some (pie shaped) cut the sharp end off (to mount) and turn as 5" diameter bowls, coin trays, saucers, etc.
If you have quite a bit you can split some into 5" lengths (different size squares) for future boxes, stoppers, and may other small items.
 

Jacob

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Knobs, shaker pegs, very small bowls.
 

Tony Spear

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artanddecco":15buqwrq said:
I stupidly had them cut too small, the diameter is 10 inches and the lengths are only 5 inches. John
You should worry?

A few years ago, walking the dog, I heard chainsaw noises coming from the grounds of the local Manor House. As I know the "General Factotum" who looks after the place, I asked him what was going on and he told me that they were felling a large, old Yew. Obviously, I asked him what they were going to do with the wood and he told me it was being cut up for firewood. When I asked if I could have some and he said that I could have what I could shift as long as I didn't hold up the contractors. Next day I took the Land Rover over there and now I have several slabs of Yew 4 - 5" thick and around 3 ft diameter!

Imagine how I felt when I saw what they'd done! :shock: :shock:
 

Bodrighy

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Tony Spear":1491v4ns said:
artanddecco":1491v4ns said:
I stupidly had them cut too small, the diameter is 10 inches and the lengths are only 5 inches. John
You should worry?

A few years ago, walking the dog, I heard chainsaw noises coming from the grounds of the local Manor House. As I know the "General Factotum" who looks after the place, I asked him what was going on and he told me that they were felling a large, old Yew. Obviously, I asked him what they were going to do with the wood and he told me it was being cut up for firewood. When I asked if I could have some and he said that I could have what I could shift as long as I didn't hold up the contractors. Next day I took the Land Rover over there and now I have several slabs of Yew 4 - 5" thick and around 3 ft diameter!

Imagine how I felt when I saw what they'd done! :shock: :shock:
Don't tell me you are whingeing LOL. Platters that size are a gold mine.

Pete
 

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