Turning Archive

turning with bevel rubbing tools

john lucas
I've watched a bunch of bowl turning videos lately. Doesn't anyone want to learn to turn with the grain and bevel rubbing tools to get cleaner cuts. Most are turning with EZ wood tools or copies of such. A couple have used bowl gouges but they cut against the grain for most of the bowl. I guess coming from a back ground in flat wood work and some carving I learned to cut downhill with the grain early on using gouges. It did take me a while to learn to rub the bevel and not get catches, but I felt it was necessary to get cleaner cuts. I have always tried to find ways to get cleaner cuts. Not because I dislike sanding, it's just that it seems like a waste of time if I can get cleaner cuts from the start. Even after 30 years of turning I'm still looking for better ways to get cleaner cuts. Learning to sharpen better and to not push the tool through the work. Learning which angles to sharpen and how to present the tool to the work also helps. I will try to make a video one of these days although it you watch Mike Mahoney, Stewart Batty and Glen Lucas you will learn more than I could ever teach you.

ON a second note. I don't really care. Well OK maybe I do or I wouldn't have written what I did above. However it's really all about the final results. If you have fun making what you make and your happy with the results then that's all that really matters. I know I have a few pieces from my early turning that I still like and I know I probably beat the wood into submission. It is however, a whole lot more fun when you know how to cut correctly. For example I have almost no time to turn right now dealing with a stepson's brain cancer. I went into the shop yesterday for about an hour and turned a mirror. Playing with paints inbetween house hold chores and taking care of the two grandkids. It would have take me 3 hours or more in the old days to turn the same thing. Actually this one went kind of slow because I had lots of bug holes to CA which slowed the whole process down. I've turn the head of the mirror in a little as 20 minutes and the handle in as little as 10 on a good day. Knowing how a tool cuts to get rid of wood quickly and then using it correctly to get clean cuts on the last passes really speeds things up. Then I usually start with 220, 320, and 400 and I'm done sanding.

It is well worth it to learn to sharpen and use bevel rubbing tools. Even when I use the Hunter Hercules and Osprey as scrapers I finish off using them as bevel rubbing tools for exceptional finish cuts.

I will be making more videos shortly. I'm trying to learn to use the latest version of Imovie which is totally different than what I learned. The videos skip steps and if you screw up and hit a wrong button there's no one to ask how to get back to where I want to be so it's incredibly frustrating.

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