First Big Bowl Turn – Part #1

Since I got the lathe and started wood turning I have wanted to turn some bowls.  I previously made a super small one from a blank I purchased at Rockler but nothing normal sized.  That small blank was still $5 and in the clearance bin.  The bigger bowl blanks can end up being a LOT more expensive.  Even if I wanted to sell the bowl when I was done (rather than just making something for myself), there is no way I would make the cost back much less a profit.

So I found a guy on Craigslist with a large property and a lot of trees.  He was currently clearing some trees out and needed the wood gone.  A took a friend and a chainsaw and we collected a lot of logs.  I have been slowly cutting them into usable blanks and letting them dry out.  As I was going through the wood the other day I found a couple bowl blanks I cut that were dry enough to make something.

One of the reasons I got this model of lathe was because I wanted the ability to turn large objects.  One thing I found out fairly quickly is, if you do not bolt the lathe down in some way it is VERY hard to keep it from walking away.  It rocks back and forth so much with these heavy objects that it is hard to keep in one spot much less make an accurate cut.  However, after much moving and shifting things around in the shop, I was able to pin it down in a way that I could at least true it up small enough to fit between centers.

Once it was between centers it was a little more stable but still very wibbly-wobbly.  I had to keep the lathe pinned against a few things to continue.  I also realized at this point that the wood I was using wasn’t the best for this. It looks neat but I am not confident I will be able to get it very smooth.  At this point I started to make a basic shape but my tools were not incredibly sharp to begin with and now they are almost completely dull.  I definitely have to invest in a grinding wheel to be able to sharpen them more often.

Since the tools were dull and it was getting late I decided to call it a day.  Also the wood inside was a lot more wet than I had expected.  So I put it in my kiln to dry for now.  I will continue the work on this bowl and show the results here when it is completed.


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