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Taffy Turner

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Does anyone have any experience of turning this timber?

I am a novice turner, and so far by bowl turning exploits have been confined to native species such as beech, ash and cherry, all of which I have found to be fairly straightforward, and have produced some nice bowls. :D

However, I am in the process of turning my first bowl from an exotic timber, namely a piece of Purpleheart which I received in a mixed bag of bowl blanks from Craft Supplies. :?

I am experiencing some major problems with this timber, namely the gouges don't seem to want to cut properly, and don't hold an edge - I am back and for to the grinder all the time. In desperation I tried using scrapers, which works a bit better, but I have quite severe vibration problems. :cry: I have tried changing speeds, both upwards and downwards, but nothing seems to help.

Am I doing something wrong, or did I just choose an unfortunate timber for my first foray into exotics? :roll:

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Gary
 

ike

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Gary,

I haven't turned it but have worked with it quite a bit while teaching and making furniture in Belize (where it's native). It is a pipper to work (but sOOOO gorgeous to look at).

cheers

Ike
 

Cutting Crew

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Hi Gary,

Not sure about the vibration but purpleheart has never ben the easiest of timbers to turn.

I recently had a "small" job to do for a leading furniture maker, he was commissioned to make a chair for a wine merchant that featured a two piece back rest (hope that's the correct terminology) made from sycamore.

The two pieces of the back rest were seperated by a series of grape shaped beads held loosely on stainless rods, these were turned from purpleheart. The problem for me was that each one of the grapes had to be smaller than the one below by .2 of a mm. The largest at the foot of the chair upto the smallest at the top of the back rest.

I found it easier on this occasion to use a scraper to help me with the accuracy. Don't be worried if the timber looks a dullish brown as you turn it, once exposed to light the purple colouring will come back.

Regards....Mike
 

Chris Knight

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CC,

That must have been a very difficult job. Turning to such an accuracy for no doubt lots of the little grapes - you must have the patience of Job.
 

Taffy Turner

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Ike, Mike,

Thanks for the re-assurance.

I have been thinking about why I am getting so much vibration, and I think it may be because I have the blank held on my screw chuck. I normally use a 7mm plot hole, but because the wood is so hard, I was unable to screw it on, so had to open the hole up to 8mm. It was still very difficult to screw on, and I think maybe I don't have it fully bottomed out, hence the vibration

I have completed the dovetail recess in the bottom now, so I am going to try gripping on that while I turn another recess on the opposite face (where the screw hole is now). Hopefully this should allow me a better grip and less vibration while finish turn the outside of the bowl. Obviously I will get rid of it when I start work on the inside.

Does this sound reasonable? I will let you know how I get on!

Regards
Gary
 

Taffy Turner

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Alan,

Thanks for the link. I have read all of your tips on the Record Power website, and found them most helpful.

Do you know if Record ever plan to update their website - it has been untouched for over a year now?

By the way, the screwchuck I was referring to is the screw held in my RP4000 chuck. I have used it for all the bowls I have made so far without any problems - it is just the purpleheart that is giving me grief! (homer) Doh!

Cheers

Gary
 

Alan Holtham

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Gary,

Yes, as you say Purpleheart is a tricky one to turn, though it does actually scrape quite cleanly if you can't make any progress with a gouge.

As regards the Record website I know for certain that they have a new version that is about to go live. It has been a long time coming but there has been so much else to do after the MBO and some of the delays have not been of their making, :roll: Fingers crossed it should be online in the next few weeks.

Alan
 

Argee

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I've recently turned a couple of 12" diameter bowls, about 4" tall. I found purpleheart to be really "grabby" and unless the tools were really sharp a lot of heat was generated. Now that I've discovered how to do it, here's a picture of one of the bowls



Ray.
 

Cutting Crew

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Hello Ray,

Welcome to the forum, I like the work you did with the Hegner stand, the cupboard units you made look great.

Looking at the photographs I noticed that you have the anti vibration feet fitted, I have two of these lathes in my teaching room and have fitted both with strengthening made from box section steel under the small strip that supports the feet. This has made the lathe even more stable and when turning large out of balance wet timbers, pretty much vibration free.

Regards....Mike.
 

Argee

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Mike,

Thanks for the welcome. The anti-vibration feet are fitted because my garage/workshop slopes downwards from right to left. I've got another couple of sets fitted to the bandsaw and drill press for the same reason. They're certainly robust enough so far!

Ray.
 

UKTony

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Taffy Turner":w9fvyxhz said:
Does anyone have any experience of turning this timber?

I am a novice turner,

If your a novice after all the advice you have given me, i give up. :) ..good luck with the purpleheart, im sticking to green wood for the time being until i finish my 8 week course

Ray welcome to the Forum, ive been away on business for a few weeks and this section has been as quiet as Highbury on a good day, good to see some new postings

Tony
 

Alf

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Welcome to the forum, Ray.

What an excellent stand for you Hegner, and a beautiful bowl too. Bloomin' neat workshop and a Bessey gloat to get more than a few of the inmates round here getting all drooly! :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 
A

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:idea:
Gary, you mentioned using a screw chuck in an earlier message; have you thought about using a saw tooth forstener bit to make a recess instead... you can buy a cheapie 2 1/8" from places like Proops and similar.
Re-chucking: If you've mastered fine and controlled cuts you can get away with a turning a 1/16" recess to complete the bowl... a word of warning... one catch and you'll say goodbye to the bowl and your good looks if you're not wearing protection!!
 

dedee

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Ray,
as well as all the other compliments which are well deserved you have a very good web site . Your links pages have some excellant stuff and your space saving solutions in your garages look well thought out and executed.

Andy
 

Taffy Turner

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oldsoke":3q3zjsm7 said:
:idea:
Gary, you mentioned using a screw chuck in an earlier message; have you thought about using a saw tooth forstener bit to make a recess instead... you can buy a cheapie 2 1/8" from places like Proops and similar.
Re-chucking: If you've mastered fine and controlled cuts you can get away with a turning a 1/16" recess to complete the bowl... a word of warning... one catch and you'll say goodbye to the bowl and your good looks if you're not wearing protection!!
Graham,

Funny you should say that - that is more or less exactly what happened.

I gave up with the screwchuck, and mounted it on a faceplate (recently acquired). I got the outside turned and sanded, and everything was looking good. I mounted it on the recess for hollowing, and off I went. Things were going well, and I got a bit too confident, tried to take a slightly bigger cut, and had the mother and father of a catch, and the bowl just disappeared!! :shock: I was a bit stunned and puzzled as to where it had gone, when I heard it bounce of the garage door some 15' behind me! Certainly makes your heart beat a little faster!!! :?

Fortunately it missed me (I was wearing a faceshield just in case). Unfortunately the chucking recess was completely b*gg*r*d, with a 2" pice ripped out of it, so that was the end of that little exercise! Another lovely piece of timber converted into firewood! I had to open the worshop window to let all teh swearwords out! :evil:

I have stuck to native species since - I turned a piece of London Plane last weekend - what a fantastic wood to turn! I hardly needed to sand it all, and it has the most wonderful fleck pattern to it (hence it's alternative name of Lacewood). I am going to try a bowl out of it this weekend, and see what that looks like.

As to losing my good looks - a lifetime of playing rugby and falling of horses saw to that years ago!!!! :D I have got a nose like a blind cobbler's thumb! :cry:

Regards

Gary
 

Cutting Crew

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Hello Gary,

Pieces coming off the lathe is another reason to turn them thin. It makes them so light that they simply float down to the floor :wink:

On the subject of London Plane, I have a woodyard within 10 minutes drive of my workshop that has recently cut down 40 very large specimins and no one is interested in them.

Regards....Mike
 
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