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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Turn, Turn, Turn

I had a great time yesterday. I had three wood working friends at my shop from three different states. Dave is from Brandon, Mississippi. Eddie is from West Monroe, Louisiana. Marty hails all the way from Indiana. The coffee flowed freely. The BS flowed even more freely. We swapped stories, woodworking wisdom, and poked jabs at mutual wood working friends. I pray I get the opportunity to do this again one day.
Now on to the wood turning I've been doing. I've been trying a lot of different things lately on the lathe. Some are successful. Some are, well, not so successful. I'm enjoying it greatly though. I have found that wood turning has a steep learning curve. Anyone can do it, but it takes practice to get good at it, and it takes mistakes to in order to have something to learn from.
Today though, I had one of those moments that made me feel just plain stupid. The biggest obstacle I've been dealing with is that I've been limited by health with how much I could do in a day. The reason for this is, being left handed, I've been having an awkward time with my handling of the tools and leaning over the bed at times to get the correct cut that I needed. Then today, in an instant for no reason, it hit me like a ton of bricks. That's why the head on my lathe swivels.
After remembering this, and turning the head ninety degrees, things fell right into place. It all seemed so easy all of a sudden.
Now that I did not have to lean so much, I could do a lot more. I finished this bowl today, and also turned two more pieces. Before today, I was doing good to turn one small piece in a day. Then, with the head turned on the lathe, I completed all this in one day? I'd say that is a huge leap.
I started this first bowl yesterday morning before my friends showed up. I had such a good time yesterday that I'd forgotten it was still mounted in the chuck until I went into the shop this morning.
It is sapelle and finished with boiled linseed oil.
Next, I had an idea to turn something rectangular. Up until this point, everything I've turned has started as either square or round. I'd seen some interesting pieces online made rectangular and decided to give it a try. Besides that, I thought turning this form would be more practice at turning a piece with a lot of air, and lately I take every opportunity to practice technique I may be having problems with. Now, these open air turnings haven't necessarily been a problem for me, but I could tell I could use all the practice I need.
Besides, it's fun to do as well.
This is made out of sycamore and finished with boiled linseed oil. I have used sycamore in the past and it is a very strong wood for straight type wood working. I thought it would be a good wood to turn with as well. Based on my opinion of how this piece reacted on the lathe though, I doubt I'll be using sycamore for turning again. It left a lot of open grain, and to be honest, is sort of a boring wood to look at after it was done.
Lastly today, I turned this little bowl. This bowl is only three inches wide. I had a reason for turning a bowl this small. I've been doing extremely well with larger bowl with plenty of room to work from the sides to the bottom. Sometimes though, I do have issues in between the two. I thought I'd turn a bowl that is even smaller than normal as practice hollowing in tight quarters.

I think they all turned out nice enough considering I'm still learning a lot. Each time I start to turn I try to learn something new. I think that's what I like about turning. Just when you think you have some technique down good, you better not get to lax in remembering everything you learned. If you do, the wood is apt to catch your tool just enough to let you know that you're wrong, and you still have a lot to learn.

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