Turning Archive

what I do *PIC*

John K Jordan
I am always hesitant to make this recommendation because people sometimes aren't capable of doing what I suggest because of their turning skills. No one should ever turn at a speed at which they feel unsure of themselves.
Increasing the speed of the piece sometimes improves the quality of the cut.

I'm not the least hesitant - I like to crank the speed up as I as I judge safe. If a turner is not able to judge a safe speed, I strongly recommend as I do with anyone - stay out of the line of fire every time you turn the lathe on! (Every time.) I don't crank up the speed with junk wood with voids and cracks.

For the best quality cut you can't have the tool tool sharp, you can't have the speed too high, you can't move the tool to slowly, and you can't make too light of cuts. So use a hair-spltting honed-to-a-polish well shaped edge, crank the speed up, make extremely delicate "whisper" cuts, and move the tool slowly.

If one doesn't have the tool control to make extremely light cuts, stop everything and start over again with spindle turning. That will teach the fine tool control.

I also do other things on problem areas:

- Try turning in reverse (turn the inside on the other side of the piece, or stand on the other side of the lathe for outside cuts.

- Soak the wood in sander sealer and let dry completely. I even thin the sealer even more so it might soak deeper. Several coats might be needed.

- Mist the surface with water and let it sit for a bit to soften the fibers then cut while wet.

- Douse the tearing-out section with fine CA glue. This sometimes works but can stain the wood in some species. Adding a few drops then immediately wiping with the grain can help.

- Try a different tool or several different tools. As mentioned, try a very sharp Hunter tool, the smaller the diameter the betters. Same as mentioned, a smaller diameter gouge might work better (a large diameter edge can take more of a "bite" and may tear out more. A spindle gouge ground with a fairly "pointed" tip will remove much less material at once. On spindles I've had some species tearout and chip badly with a skew but not a 3/8" spindle gouge.)

- Try cutting the other direction, uphill instead of downhill with the grain as we are supposed to. Occasionally I've found this worked better, perhaps in just small areas.

- Try removing some wood and the tearout with a sharp negative rake scraper with a delicate burr. With a light touch this can take delicate shavings so fine they float around in the air.

BTW, this is the NRS shape I find the best, about a 60-deg included angle. I ground these from Thompson scrapers and a skew chisel.


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