Turning Archive 2005

Bowl end grain question

>Not sure if I will ask this correctly or not, but I'll try. I'm having trouble with end grain, but not all of the end grain.

Let's break it grain into three sections as the bowl is spinning toward me. Section 1 - first contact area of end grain on any given revolution, Section 2 - "dead on" the end grain, Section 3 - trailing edge of the end grain. My problem is with section 3.

I've gotten good enough to avoid tearout in section 3 (at least most of the time), but it is never smooth. I haven't been able to get it smooth the point where the figuring blends with the rest of the piece. I end up with a more or less smooth area, but it almost looks like a patch on the wood - you can't detect the figuring in there. On different pieces I've experimented with sanding it to death on the lathe, (starting as low as 60 and working my way up to 600), I've tried different lahte speeds, I've tried sanding it to death off the lathe. I've tried Circular patterns, with grain, against grain, perpendicular to direction of the lathe to avoid scoring, etc. I can make section 3 feel smooth, but have not been able to get it to where the figuring emerges and blends with the rest of the piece.

I'll tell you one thing - I can make the rest of the piece baby-butt smooth.

Here's what I have at my disposal today:
- non-reversable lathe
- lots of sandpaper
- a reasonable amount of patience

Can you offer suggestions (that don't involve huge capital investments)? I don't mind sanding, but I'm spending forever doing it and not getting where I want to be. If I can defeat this problem, I'll finally be able to complete a bowl without a "yeah, but" attached to it.

Thanks for any advice -

David B.

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