Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wood Turning FAIL and recovery (or, Turned Segmented Bowl v1.0)

The turned wooden bowl I posted last week was the first one I finished, but not the first one I started. I had originally started a much more elaborate design for my first piece, but I got impatient waiting for it to glue up, so I started turning #2 first. As it turned out, #1 was a little too ambitious, and suffered from a lack of planning.

I literally just started cutting up pieces into strips and gluing them together. I knew it would be made of layers of rings, and those rings would probably have something like 8 segments each, but that's about all the planning I had put into it. My first ring I made turned out way larger than I thought it would be and had to be cut down. Then I just started slapping things together.
Some of the rings were octagonal and some were square. Some were cheap reclaimed pine, and others were reclaimed oak. The sizes of the rings were haphazard, and at one point I had to make an extra ring as a transition because the sizes were too far apart. I planed to let the sizes of the rings  dictate the shape of the bowl.
I figured out during glue up, that I had not planned on how to clamp an octagonal ring of wooden segments. I made due with electrical tape stretched around the rim.

Then, lots of sanding to even up the faces and hide the crimes. I had to add some super glue to some of the joints because I had gaps. I guess my chop saw is not calibrated very precisely, because the angles didn't quite meet up as the should have.

Then the rings were glued together into a cone type shape of sorts. It was around this time that I got impatient to get my bowl turning on, so I started turning the simpler blank (#2) that I started gluing up while I was struggling with the rings.
After attaching to a glue block for mounting onto the lathe, the turning began. Right away things were off to a rocky start, with the whole rig being unbalanced as hell. I worked quickly to turn the protruding corners off the rings just to get the table to stop shaking.
 The rings were far too disproportional from one another. The transitions from one ring to the next were very hard to smooth out, and I had many instances of tare out, some very violent ones that sent large chunks of wood flying into me. The edges of the rings wanted to catch on my chisels, and I came much closer to being injured on this project than on any lathe project previous.
Just as I was getting the transitions under control, I had a blow out. I stopped the lathe to check my progress, as I often do, and noticed that one of the segments had been cut all the way through in spots. FAIL. I unmounted the piece and tossed it in the scrap bin.

But wait! I think we've established what a cheap bastard I am, and how I can't let anything remotely usable go to waste. So I rescued the failed piece from the scrap bin and decided that since only the top ring was ruined, I could probably cut off that ring and replace it with a new top ring.  So I re-mounted the piece to the face plate, and started parting off the ruined top ring.
Then, once the top ring was off, I decided that I was too lazy and impatient to make a new top ring. I would just try to turn what was left into a bowl. Even without the top ring, it was almost as tall as the bowl I just finished yesterday.
The turning was problematic, I'll tell you that much. I had a lot of bad catches- a lot of gouging and chip out. And the transitions from ring to ring were tough to smooth out. This bowl would have benefited from some better planning, that's for sure. And sharper tools (I'm bad at sharpening, and sharp tools are the key to good wood turning). And I burned my fingers pretty good being impatient with the sand paper. You see, I'm to lazy and impatient to change the pulleys to adjust the speed of the lathe, so I sand at the same speed I turn, which is much too fast. This whole project had me impatient and frustrated, and I kind of rushed through it. Maybe that's why it encountered so many problems.
Anyway, the final product turned out to be acceptable- nice even. I think my next bowl will be a little less ambitious and better planned out. I obviously need more practice with bowl turning before I start doing anything fancy.

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