Turning Archive 2005
>Almost everything I'm giving for Christmas this year is something I've turned. Still in my first year, but I'm getting on a pretty good learning curve. Much of the learning I've gained through experience, but a lot has come from this site. Some examples of each, mostly lessons from this site, are below:
wet sanding - learned what it is! Didn't go so well on this cup, but it worked very well on subsequent pieces.
bowls/end grain - learned some great tips for smoothing out the end grain on a bowl. Mostly what I've been doing is putting minwax tung oil in there, and then skewing it and/or sanding it off. Kind of a mix of wet sanding and making the grain stand up. Results are much better. Additionally - if you use paste wax to do this, make sure you turn it all back - because it will show in the finished product if you don't.
Sanding - in spite of the seasonal rush, I've developed patience in sanding. I still find flaws later, and I still have a point where I say "that's good enough", but my finished product has improved dramatically.
There is a lesson in every piece - for me anyway. Whether it explodes and I find myself standing in two hours worth of shavings, or it came out well, I can always think of something I wish had gone better, something I might have been more patient with, a sanding scratch that I need to pay more attention to next time, etc.
Hollowing end grain cups - great tips about tool rest placement, drilling to depth before you start, tool selection
Glueing - made a bank. Technically I glued the piece together incorrectly, but it held. Now I know for next time how to handle that.
finishing - used spray lacquer to finish stickpens that had rub-on decorations, and a small box that had rub-on decorations. Learned something very valuable - read the instructions. Just because I think materials are compatible does not mean they are.
planning - plan your sessions, or at least have something in mind that you want to do when you hit the shop door.
Protection - while I am still saving pennies for proper dust collection, I think my favorite aquisition this year is the north 7700 that I bought as a direct result of this site. I started wearing a cannister mask a few years ago when I realized I was getting sinus infections a few times a year that were attributable to sawdust. Didn't realize the harm of the stuff short term or long term. So I woke up, but the mask I had wasn't that good. Still had to clean sawdust out that snuck underneath. No more.
Using a light touch with the tools - It is remarkable how much you can accomplish with a sharp tool barely in contact with the wood in the way of taking out end grain and keeping the piece round.
safety - I realized early on reading on this site that a facemask is essential. I did not fully appreciate the dangers of the lathe until a few people posted their mistakes. I did not realize how easy it is to hurt yourself until I grazed my forearm on a spinning talon and got no pain but a hell of a bruise the next day. I have a lot more respect for the machine, and it takes a conscious effort not to get complacent.
If I keep thinking about this, I'll think of more and more, but I guess what it really amounts to is I want to thank the myriad people who have responded to my many questions this year. This hobby is enjoyable for a number of reasons, and very high on that list is that unlike almost any other hobby I have participated in, the kindred spirit is so giving of time, knowledge, materials, etc. I have not encountered anyone who held back a tip for themselves, or who wouldn't let you borrow a cup of wood if they had it to spare. I'm looking forward to my first anniversary on the lathe in January.