Turning Archive 2004

Subject:
Don't expect a picture, folks! (long)

Doug Trembath
>Well, after turning full time for the last six years, it happened. I made a "rookie" mistake with my vacuum chuck. In my own defense, and to somewhat defer the laughter I already hear in the background, I had become so comfortable with my jam chucking routine that I hadn't even turned the vac pump on for a while. A good friend gave me some Ambrosia Maple log sections recently, and I decided to turn a couple of natural edge bowls from one. Went great as I reversed the bowl to remove the tenon. Without thinking, I just looked at the guage, which indicated 25 inches of mercury, and began cutting. I had the presence of mind to take lighter than normal cuts, but the next thing I knew, I was standing there hatless, with no bowl and a sore spot under my left eye where my safety glasses had split the skin over my cheekbone. My first thought, I swear, was "Oh, boy, that's gonna leave a mark!" Next thought was "What the Hell happened?"

Well, it's a good thing that I'm not just another pretty face, cause this morning I had my first shiner in almost twenty years. The bowl, which was about 5/16" thick on the bottom, had a deep 6" long gouge in the side of it, very nicely cut, and was trashed. No idea how the bowl gouge ended up on the side of the bowl, and I guess it isn't really necessary to know. What I do know, however, is that I'm really grateful the bowl didn't go two inches to the right.

I know, I know, where was my faceshield? Lying on the workbench with a broken axle, tossed there out of sheer frustration since it kept slipping and sliding while attached on only one side. Again, I know, I know.

Since we have had so much vacuum chucking discussion recently, I thought I'd eat my daily ration of crow, and share one thought with the folks here. Keep the tailstock engaged up till the very last part of the cutting while finishing an item, so you don't have to make up stories about the big brawl at the neighborhood pub, too.

When we talk about saving face, it really does behoove us to mean it literally, as in saving your face ahead of time, so you don't have to do the other kind later.

Another lesson learned the hard way, huh?

Doug Trembath
Studio in the Woods

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