Turning Archive 2005

expanding my limits (long)

Mike Foster
>Well I just finished a day turning. It's been a while since I've done that and it was good:). I've had half a log of some curly ash sitting around waiting for me to do something with it, so I decided to use it to expand my skills. I have done quite a bit of green turning and have had (and used) a set of standard Kelton corers for some time. I never really felt comfortable with coring system. Of course I never really watched anyone use them, or watched a video. So I decided to turn a big bowl, and core it a couple of times to figure out if I could make them work. I reread an article that Steven Russel put on his CD on coring with the Keltons. That helped. He had several little tips that, combined, made the process far less stressful for me. I turned a monster round (at least for me) about 18" in diam. and 14" high. Had to have help to get it on the lathe (Woodfast). I then decided that I had to lose about 1 1/2" of wood on the pith side (top of this bowl) because of a crack (The log had been halved, depithed and endgrain sealed and sitting in the cool basement of a barn for several months). I used the kelton as a large parting tool for the experience and to save some of the curly ash for some smaller project (saucers?). Once I shaped the outside of the large bowl I had a bowl 16" in diam and about 10" deep. That is the largest green bowl I've turned. I then cored an 11" bowl (largest I felt I could with the standard set) and then a 7 1/2" bowl out of that. It took a while, but the tips from Steven helped and with some trial and error, I felt pretty good about the coring.

The two smaller bowls went into a 5 gal bucket of EtOH to give that a try (another first for me). The 11" bowl just barely fit. Then I went back to the big bowl to deal with how to dry it. I decided to do it the way that has been done for years, coat the endgrain, put in paper bag and wait. Unfortunately, by the time I got to it, I found some surface checks on the endgrain near the pith (top of the bowl) on both sides. For now I've used endgrain sealer on the ouside endgrain, paste wax on the inside endgrain (expanding on Dave Smiths idea of wrapping only the outside in paper). I made a "paper sack" big enough for it using some construction rosin paper and tossed in some wet shavings. So, do I need to remount the bowl and turn out those checks on the endgrain? I can't tell if they are just residual to the wood or checks that occured while I was turning the other bowls (couple of hours) because the surface was drying that fast. Should have sealed it right away, but I didn't. Will superglue do anything useful?

I don't see how production turners do it. Took me all day to get these 3 bowls rough turned. Of course I was doing some learning and playing around, but I still can't see how I could cut hours off the process. Still, it's nice to have a shop full of shavings.

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