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How do you make blanks? (Read 299 times)
 
Hondo Walker
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How do you make blanks?
Nov 21st, 2020 at 8:56am
 
Wanted to try out my new lathe with a big bowl since I've been limited to a max of like 8.5 inches on my old lathe. Had the wood saved and it had been drying for about 6 months. I just needed a blank to start with. My band saw does great on 3/8 plywood and foam. It won't saw anything bigger. My chainsaw is hard to be precise with and I don't have any way to hold the wood down while I am cutting.

So how did I have to do it? I used my vibrating saw to go down almost 3 inches at a time and chiseled out the wood that was not my blank. Took me three days to free it up.

There has got to be a better way to do that for almost no money. That was tedious to say the least. But the bowl is at 10 inches on the bottom and 11.5 at the top. Huge compared to what I did on my mini lathe.
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Glenn Jacobs
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Re: How do you make blanks?
Reply #1 - Nov 21st, 2020 at 9:31am
 
Several ways to cut blanks. Chain saw, Sabre saw with long blade (jig), reciprocating saw, Band saw, hammer and chisel. Best bet is to use a compass and draw the largest circle on the wood that will fit. OR cut circles from plywood (1/2) to use a templates. Make them from 6 inches to the maximum your lathe can handle in 1 inch increments. drill hole in center of each template for screw that is used to attach template to wood. don't use sheet rock screw. They break too easily!  Trace around template. Blank does not have to be exactly round to work.

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chris lawrence
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Re: How do you make blanks?
Reply #2 - Nov 21st, 2020 at 9:58am
 
You don't need a perfect round circle blank.  You just need to remove the corners to reduce the amount of air you turn.  You can do that with a chainsaw.
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robo_hippy
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Re: How do you make blanks?
Reply #3 - Nov 21st, 2020 at 11:39am
 
I have a bunch of videos up, here in the video section, and on You Tube. Search for robo hippy. With the chainsaw, your chain needs to be sharp. It is easiest to cut blanks from a round section, and I cover that in one video. Some thing I will be trying to do next time I cut up blanks is to cut a small flat on one side of the log section. roll it over so it can sit on the flat, then cut the slabs. I have seen blanks made by splitting the log section with an axe or a froe, and trimming corners with a very sharp axe, and then mounting. You can buy commercial blanks, but they never seem to cut them up the way I would.

It does help to have the blanks as round as possible, mostly for efficiency, but it isn't mandatory. If you don't have variable speed, it helps a lot more.

Not sure about your bandsaw. If it can't cut more than 3/4 plywood, that may be a dull blade as much as anything else. A 3 tpi blade is kind of standard for cutting edges off of bowl blanks, and the blank needs to lay flat. If it rocks at all, it will rock when you cut, and that bends and breaks blades.

robo hippy
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Hondo Walker
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Re: How do you make blanks?
Reply #4 - Nov 22nd, 2020 at 10:43am
 
My bandsaw is the 8 inch Harbor Freight one. They claim it is 1/2 hp but it's more like a 10th hp.
The reason I try to make round blanks is because my shop is the upstairs of my house. The lathe shakes so much I fear my sheetrock is going to fall. I already have 9 nails showing. My outside shed is too small and my basement is only 5'6  and I'm 6 ft so I can't work down there either. Gotta do what I can.
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Ralph Fahringer
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Re: How do you make blanks?
Reply #5 - Nov 22nd, 2020 at 11:32am
 
Have you considered taking up needlepoint?? Shocked Grin

Alot less room needed. Smiley
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Mike Nathal
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Re: How do you make blanks?
Reply #6 - Nov 22nd, 2020 at 11:42am
 
Brian Havens has a good video on how to get a blank round.  He calls it a pivoting cut. 
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Robert Hayward
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Re: How do you make blanks?
Reply #7 - Nov 22nd, 2020 at 2:35pm
 
Hondo Walker wrote on Nov 22nd, 2020 at 10:43am:
My bandsaw is the 8 inch Harbor Freight one. They claim it is 1/2 hp but it's more like a 10th hp.


I believe you mean 9", if so I had one of those for years. I also have a bigger bandsaw for blanks and such. My little Harbor Freight bandsaw was a very capable machine within its size limitations. I could cut 2" thick wood easily. You need to put a new blade on yours and try again to cut thicker wood.
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Don Stephan
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Re: How do you make blanks?
Reply #8 - Nov 22nd, 2020 at 4:49pm
 
A few months ago I made a low chain saw stand for cutting blanks.
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Don Stephan
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Re: How do you make blanks?
Reply #9 - Nov 22nd, 2020 at 4:52pm
 
The ramps are separate, simply rest on the side of the stand while rolling a section of log onto the stand.

The crossbars each are 3 pieces of 2x, glued together.  They simply rest in notches cut into the base.

The base is nailed together, but the chain saw blade never should reach the nails.
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Don Stephan
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Re: How do you make blanks?
Reply #10 - Nov 22nd, 2020 at 4:53pm
 
Don't know how legible this scanned drawing will be.  Had to compress significantly to bring under 200 KB file size.
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Don Stephan
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Re: How do you make blanks?
Reply #11 - Nov 22nd, 2020 at 4:55pm
 
i use the stand to cut a section into pieces if needed, trim the ends, remove the pith-containing slab, then lay a blank bark side down on the stand and chain saw off the corners.
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Don Stephan
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Re: How do you make blanks?
Reply #12 - Nov 22nd, 2020 at 6:23pm
 
Generally, I am beginning with sections of log 12" to 20" in diameter. If cutting blanks from a smaller diameter section of log, I might have to add some scrap wood on one side as a wedge to hold the section from rolling side to side on the stand. If one works with smaller diameter sections of log, one might decide to change the drawing to make the two cross bars closer together.

Although it doesn't work as well as I had hoped, I am fortunate enough to have a band saw that can cut through green wood up to 6" thick.  I seldom use the band saw to knock the corners off green wood blanks thicker than 4" though, staying with the chain saw outside (in part so I don't have to clean the band saw!).

Working on the saw stand can give me a back ache, having to bend over for an extended period of time, but there always are tradeoffs.  I made first a much taller saw stand, but lifting heavy pieces of green wood also bothers my back.

Hope this helps.

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« Last Edit: Nov 22nd, 2020 at 6:29pm by Don Stephan »  
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chris lawrence
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Re: How do you make blanks?
Reply #13 - Nov 22nd, 2020 at 7:24pm
 
Don Stephan wrote on Nov 22nd, 2020 at 6:23pm:
Generally, I am beginning with sections of log 12" to 20" in diameter. If cutting blanks from a smaller diameter section of log, I might have to add some scrap wood on one side as a wedge to hold the section from rolling side to side on the stand. If one works with smaller diameter sections of log, one might decide to change the drawing to make the two cross bars closer together.

Although it doesn't work as well as I had hoped, I am fortunate enough to have a band saw that can cut through green wood up to 6" thick. I seldom use the band saw to knock the corners off green wood blanks thicker than 4" though, staying with the chain saw outside (in part so I don't have to clean the band saw!).

Working on the saw stand can give me a back ache, having to bend over for an extended period of time, but there always are tradeoffs. I made first a much taller saw stand, but lifting heavy pieces of green wood also bothers my back.

Hope this helps.



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Ed Weber
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Re: How do you make blanks?
Reply #14 - Nov 23rd, 2020 at 9:50am
 
I'll be the bad guy who tells you, you're growing out of your tools.
I'm guessing you now have a bigger lathe than a HF mini but don't have enough of a supporting cast you need to prep your stock.
I can't/won't tell you to buy more tools or turn smaller things but at some point you might have to make some tough decisions.
There are many 'creative" ways to cut and true up blanks but if you continue to work with the maximum size you can handle, you introduce safety concerns and you tax all your tools along the way. The end product might not be worth all the wear and tear on all the tools.
JMO, Most all of us started out small and had some type of growing pains
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