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Bowl learning.... (Read 2,899 times)
 
badger
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Bowl learning....
May 26th, 2005 at 8:03am
 
I just finished a smallish sized bowl (pics later) but I realize during the process of making it, I have nearly no idea what I'm doing.

I've read books for days, but when I go to lay chisel to wood (apple, mostly green in this case) I get catch after catch after catch.  I'm doing something wrong, or sometimes I realize I actually have no idea how to lay to the tool to the wood.

The outside gave me a lot of trouble, so much so the first attempt I got so frustrated with catches, that I gave up!

Any good resources, or tips on how to learn to turn a bowl?

-- badger
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Chris Wright
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Re: Bowl learning....
Reply #1 - May 26th, 2005 at 8:56am
 
The main problem in learning to turn on your own Badger is getting a "feel" for the tools.  The biggest problem I encountered when I started out is remembering to rub the bevel and knowing how far to open the flute.

Many times it will feel like the cut is going smoothly and the bevel is rubbing and then, WHAM! a major catch occurs.  Another issue may be the grind you are using on your bowl gouges.  If it is too steep, making a turn can be difficult while trying to rub the bevel.

Here's a quick primer for the process:

  • Mount the blank on the lathe, if possible, bandsaw the blank to round first.
  • Make your first cuts at the tailstock end, forming the foot and working towards the edge of the blank.  To do this, start with light-medium cuts across the blank until a foot is formed.
  • Next work the edge of the blank to eliviate the "corner" and begin forming your curve.
  • Once the edge is relieved, return to the foot area and make longer cuts from foot to rim to blend the foot in with the sides to create the profile of the bowl.  Remember to make the foot slightly longer so you can make a tenon for a chuck.
  • Once the outside profile is complete, you can sand and detail the outside (beads, bands, etc.)
  • Reverse the piece into the chuck.
  • Working from the outside edge, true up the face of the bowl from edge to center.
  • To help define the rim and determine it's thickness, use a parting tool and make a shallow cut.
  • Now, starting back towards the center (about 1" from center), start taking cuts to core out the inside.
  • At this point, the gouge is turned so the flute is at about the 2:30-3 o'clock position.  The cutting edge should be aligned with the centerline of the bowl.  Your lead hand (the one holding the tool shank) should allow a comfortable, but stable grip.  Your back hand should be towards the end of the handle, pinned at your side.  this will cause you to move your body instead of your hands and be much more stable.
  • When you start a coring cut, find the bevel first and then swing the gouge to present the cutting edge slowly until you find the cut.  This means find the bevel and then swing your back hand to the right which will introduce more of the cutting edge.  Once the cut is started, allow it to cut, swinging your back hand to the left to create an arch or bowl shape.
  • By raising your back hand, you introduce more of the cutting edge into the wood.  Raising it too far will allow the non-cutting side to come into contact with the wood and create a catch.  A good rule of thumb (depending on your height and the height of your lathe centerline) is to keep your back hand somewhere between your hip and waist.
  • Continue until you reach the parting cut you made at the rim and begin to work into the bowl in 1" increments.  This pattern of coring and then thinning will keep the gouge from running into the core, which can also create a catch.
  • Work down to the bottom of the bowl and finish it off.


Hope this all makes sense.  I will try and work on a video for tool presentation in making bowls.


Chris
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billtr96sn
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Re: Bowl learning....
Reply #2 - May 26th, 2005 at 8:57am
 
Hi Badger, as most of us here are self taught, we have all been through what you are doing, all I can say is practice practice practice and it will come.
Doont worry about the 'right' way to do things, find your way, hold the tools at differing angles until they work for you, thats what I done, I got very good at dodging flying wood and tools. I havent read a book on turning at all, just a few mags and most of what I have learnt has come from this forum.

Good Luck.
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billtr96sn
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Re: Bowl learning....
Reply #3 - May 26th, 2005 at 8:58am
 
Wow, i just read that Chris and I do it all wrong! but what I do works for me, 8)
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Chris Wright
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Re: Bowl learning....
Reply #4 - May 26th, 2005 at 9:08am
 
If you want a pro's point of view, Stuart Batty and Mike Mahoney did a video called "Two ways to make a bowl" that I thought was very well done.  They have different styles of cut and such and both demonstrate their way of doing things to make the same bowl.  Definitely worth watching.  Bill Grumbine also made a bowl turning video that many have said was excellent.  I haven't seen it yet, but a few friends liked it alot.  Here are links to buying the videos:

Stuart & Mike's DVD: Multimedia File Viewing and Clickable Links are available for Registered Members only!!  You need to Login or Register

Bill Grumbine's DVD: Multimedia File Viewing and Clickable Links are available for Registered Members only!!  You need to Login or Register
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Keith_Bundy
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Re: Bowl learning....
Reply #5 - May 26th, 2005 at 9:08am
 
Badger- There are plenty of good books and videos out there for bowl turning. Richard Raffans Turning Wood, Bill Grumbines Turned Bowls Made Easy are a couple. I hope from reading your question that your using a gouge and not a chisel. A good place to start is to hold the tool at about 45 degrees to the wood, the handle slightly down and the flute of the tool rolled over about 45 degrees. Let the bevel of the tool rub on the wood. Gently move the tool handle toward you until the edge starts to cut and then move the gouge forward. I don't know your location, but, if you can join a club, take a class, or just get with another turner either in your shop or theirs, that would be a big help. Hands on help is the best way to go. I hope this helps you out. If you any questions feel free to email me.
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Chris Wright
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Re: Bowl learning....
Reply #6 - May 26th, 2005 at 9:10am
 
Hey Bill, I always say there isn't a right way or a wrong way...there's only the way that works!  If what you do works for you, then keep doing it...can't argue with success.  Smiley
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E. Bud Gillaspie
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Re: Bowl learning....
Reply #7 - May 26th, 2005 at 9:19am
 
Badger, lad, Here's some "advise" from a man who began turning never having read a book, seen a video, or been to a demo., and began turning wood at age 60+.  Have at, lad!  You're gonna have to learn how to use your gouges, scrapers, skews, and parting tools. The most difficult tool to use is the skew=hours of practice on junk wood w/great care.  The second most difficult (for me) is the bowl gouge w/an Irish, et al grind. It can be tricky if you don't "roll" the tool when cutting.

I started w/center-to-center or spindle turning. I mounted up wood from the firewood pile and practiced for a week b4 trying to actually turn a piece. I musta gone through 100 lb of wood.

In theory, the more/longer you turn the better you'll become at it. Watch all the videos you want, read all the books you can, and go to all the demos and workshops in your area but that's another person usin' the tools, not you. Ultimately you will learn to turn wood "your way." not my way, not Elsworth's way, not Chris' way or Keith's way nor Gil's way, ad nausium.

Just do it! You're in the vortex now--there's no escape.

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kidcolombia
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Re: Bowl learning....
Reply #8 - May 26th, 2005 at 3:14pm
 
Hey Badger, hang in there!  Chris gave some great pointers.  Keith mentioned, among others, Richard Raffan's books, one of which is on bowl turning.  I did most of my initial learning with Raffan whose instructions are very clear, detailed, and easy to follow.  Its almost a "you can't miss" situation with him.  Lots of very good photographs also.  Highly recommended.  Great for beginners. 

Good luck,

Jim
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Re: Bowl learning....
Reply #9 - May 26th, 2005 at 5:25pm
 
Apple can be difficult if not approached with care.  Make sure your tools are sharp and you rub the bevel.  Take light cuts and do not force it.  If the approach doesn't feel right...pull the tool off of the wood and try another cut with a different approach.  The only problem I have is hollowing apple end grain... THAT gives me tons of catches if I don't take it realllllllyyy light.  Maybe I just need to regrind a different angle on my chisel.
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Re: Bowl learning....
Reply #10 - May 26th, 2005 at 6:19pm
 
Practice, Practice, Practice.
If you have a dog or cat, they love wooden bowls!
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Re: Bowl learning....
Reply #11 - May 26th, 2005 at 8:11pm
 
Woodturning is a game of leverage. Most catches are because of either presenting too much cutting edge or getting the cut on the wrong side of the fulcrum point.
Green apple seems to be a decent wood to work with and green woods in general cut fairly easy. The Raffan books are very good I've not seen any of his videos but they might help. Of course chatches depend on what type tool you are useing also and if the grain is supported in the cut.
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« Last Edit: May 26th, 2005 at 8:18pm by Freddie Hicks »  

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badger
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Re: Bowl learning....
Reply #12 - May 27th, 2005 at 2:59pm
 
Thanks guys, I'll try some of this stuff.

I have Richard Raffans Turning Wood book, and it helps, maybe I need to pick up turning bowls as well.

thanks again..
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Re: Bowl learning....
Reply #13 - May 27th, 2005 at 3:12pm
 
Hey Badger,  if you can get Raffan's videos instead of or as well as the books.  I find that watching RR in action hits home alot better than seeing a photo of the process here and there.
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Re: Bowl learning....
Reply #14 - May 27th, 2005 at 4:52pm
 
Of course the next question is, why isn't Raffan a member of this forum?  Doesn't know about it?  Rejected when he tried to sign up?  Fearful of the Challenge and Trade activities?  Decided to cease and desist when he heard that Jeanne was Black Belt.  Sure, he's good at the trade, but think what he could be with all of our help.  I say let him in!  Invite him even!  In the meantime, watch his videos.  They ARE great.

Jim
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