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Turning a flat surface (Read 501 times)
 
Ray Stubbs
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Turning a flat surface
Feb 5th, 2021 at 8:19pm
 
I have a question about turning a relatively large platter. It is 16" in diameter with about 1.5 inches around the outside that wont be flat. So the inside or about 13" diameter will be flat. how do I get this area flat and not look wavy if it is not flat when it is finished and shiny? I can cut a piece of wood, or use a 12" scale to check for flatness, but is there a better/easier way to get this area flat?

This is a segmented piece so the grain will be running in all directions as it spins on the lathe. I don't believe there will be any end grain issues.
The piece is similar to Ed Weber's compass rose platter.
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chris lawrence
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Re: Turning a flat surface
Reply #1 - Feb 5th, 2021 at 10:16pm
 
lite cuts with either a scraper/NRS or the bottom wing of a bowl gouge when the gouge flute is rotated towards the turning until the top wing is close.  You need to make a smooth motion only making contact with the high spots.  It takes some practice to get good at it.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Turning a flat surface
Reply #2 - Feb 6th, 2021 at 10:23am
 
I'm not sure I'm following.
How to get it flat before finishing?
OR
How to get it flat after it's turned?
I use a gouge and get as close as I can, then switch to a scraper.
Anything after that is typically just sanded.
With a field that large to sand, I have used a 5" ROS to keep things as even as possible, especially if you plan on a gloss finish. Any imperfection in the flatness of the surface will show.
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Ray Stubbs
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Re: Turning a flat surface
Reply #3 - Feb 6th, 2021 at 10:04pm
 
How to get it flat after it's turned?
Ed this is what I meant to say.
Thanks all for the comments/suggestions.
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Robert Evans
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Re: Turning a flat surface
Reply #4 - Feb 6th, 2021 at 11:07pm
 
The 80 grit gouge on a large disk would work taking out minor imperfections on a large flat surface.  Check it often with a straight edge.
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Glenn Jacobs
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Re: Turning a flat surface
Reply #5 - Feb 7th, 2021 at 9:15am
 
I might try a 1/4 sheet sander on or off the lathe.

Glenn J.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Turning a flat surface
Reply #6 - Feb 7th, 2021 at 12:45pm
 
Any sander with a firm flat backing pad will work.
DO NOT tilt the sander and use the edge only, like I see far too often  Angry
Keep it flat, if it's not cutting, change abrasives.
Make sure it's totally flat to your liking before you start to move up the grits. If you start with 150 or 120 or even 80, flatten the surface with that grit, then smooth only (not reshape) with the successive grits.
You'll be fine
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robo_hippy
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Re: Turning a flat surface
Reply #7 - Feb 7th, 2021 at 2:19pm
 
Well, this is an old video, but most of it applies:

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I still try to get the bottom as flat as possible by hand, which when I am in practice, works well, but needs some touch up. When not in practice, I have taken to using a NRS. I prefer one that has a small straight edge or very tiny arc to it and then a 1/4 round profile on the inside bowl edge. So for a 1 inch wide scraper, maybe 1/2 inch of straight and then kind of a 1/2 inch radius quarter round. I generally don't like going through the transition area of a bowl with any kind of scraper for reasons mentioned in the above video. I prefer a NRS to a standard scraper for this cut. If the woods in your bottom are very hard, then hone off the burr of a standard scraper. It just doesn't cut as aggressively.

robo hippy
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Ed Weber
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Re: Turning a flat surface
Reply #8 - Feb 7th, 2021 at 2:35pm
 
robo_hippy wrote on Feb 7th, 2021 at 2:19pm:
If the woods in your bottom are very hard, then hone off the burr of a standard scraper. It just doesn't cut as aggressively.


Thanks Reed, I meant to mention that, especially with a segmented platter.

A platter, due to it's size and shape can want to vibrate if a cut isn't clean. This can cause chatter and skipping. You end up with a type of texturing cut.
With a segmented piece, there can be any number of wood densities adjacent to one another. Digging into the softwood and skipping accross the hardwood is another thing to be mindful of.
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Don Stephan
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Re: Turning a flat surface
Reply #9 - Feb 8th, 2021 at 8:34pm
 
A sanding block helps me.  I have a piece of 3/4" birch plywood, edges slightly rounded, with a thin layer of adhesive backed cork on one side.  The block is sized to be the same length but about 1/2" narrower than the width of a quarter sheet of sandpaper, so that I can grip the edges of the sandpaper.  Seldom use the "uncorked" side, as the hard backing surface wears the sandpaper quickly.
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Ray Stubbs
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Re: Turning a flat surface
Reply #10 - Feb 9th, 2021 at 11:44am
 
Well you've all given some good tips to accomplish what I struggle with some time.
Robo the video was very good. I'll try to use these techniques to get flatness.
I won't be able to turn the platter until March when I go to Florida to get access to an appropriately sized lathe.
I'll post pictures when I get it finished.
Thanks everyone for the help.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Turning a flat surface
Reply #11 - Feb 9th, 2021 at 11:57am
 
Ray Stubbs wrote on Feb 9th, 2021 at 11:44am:
won't be able to turn the platter until March when I go to Florida to get access to an appropriately sized lathe.


Keep us in the loop
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Ray Stubbs
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Re: Turning a flat surface
Reply #12 - Feb 9th, 2021 at 7:35pm
 
I'll do it Ed.
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Ray Stubbs
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Re: Turning a flat surface
Reply #13 - Mar 25th, 2021 at 10:09am
 
Well this is an update to the platter. I have the top or inside finished, but not the outside. I need to turn a cradle and hold it in the cradle with the tail stock to turn the bottom side. This lathe, here in Florida is a 14" diameter Jet. It is a pretty good lathe but limited to 14." So there is no chance of holding this piece with this 14" lathe. The platter is 16" diameter.
About a month before we left for Florida, I was looking at Craigslist for wood lathes. I found a Nova 1644 in Clarksville, Georgia. Long story short, I bought the lathe and my son who lives in Atlanta, Georgia picked it up for me.
Next week we leave for home pulling a 33' 5th wheel trailer. We will have to go home drop the trailer and go back down to Atlanta to pick up the lathe. I'm a little afraid to put the added weight of the lathe, and grinder, it came with the lathe, on the truck with this trailer.
So the finishing of the platter will be delayed a little longer.
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Ralph Fahringer
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Re: Turning a flat surface
Reply #14 - Mar 25th, 2021 at 10:55am
 
The added weight is sort of like having 2 mother-in-laws in the back seat!!

It may take a bit longer to get up to speed from a dead stop but should be fine once you get rolling.

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