Turning Archive 2005

Re: Vacuum and tail stock?

Mark Mandell - Gone Round In Jersey

With a vacuum set-up, you're always depending upon a thin line of contact between the bowl and the chuck to maintain the seal and hold the piece. Since you know that the wood flexes during a cut (especially when you're turning that nice light piece with the uniformly thin bottom), your piece can easily deform just enough to break the seal and lose all your vacuum. Then you get to play follow-the-bouncing-bowl. Where the vacuum really shines is finishing that last little bit in the center and then sanding and finishing the foot evenly. With a good strong vacuum you can do a lot of cutting, but with the tailstock engaged you can focus all of your attention to that cut instead of having one corner of your mind wondering "if the thing's gonna let go on me and what do I do if it does?"

I like surprises . . . except when I'm poking a piece of wickedly sharp steel into a piece of spinning wood. I also really hate blowing up a piece when I put all that time into it and I'm at the point of being able to say "See, Mom? I made this Big Thing!"



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