Bowl steady tips?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Zach LaPerriere, Jan 23, 2017.

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  1. Zach LaPerriere

    Zach LaPerriere

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    I'm still a novice with the bowl steady, having only used it a dozen times or so on larger, thin bowls over the last several months. I honestly haven't found it helped as well as I had hoped, and I generally make do without. That said, there is a learning curve with everything on the lathe, and maybe I just haven't given it enough time to figure out the nuances of the bowl steady.

    I'd love to hear how others are (or aren't) using them. Thanks!
     
  2. charlie knighton

    charlie knighton

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    I mainly use the one-way bowl steady for hf.....Position it close to lip as you would a bowl......Sometimes setting up you will need to adjust the height of the two wheels, or it may be that too much pressure is on the form...Both wheels should turn evenly......If really wet wood things can move while at lunch/break/talking-to fido
     
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  3. john lucas

    john lucas

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    The only time I've needed a bowl steady was on severa 12" diameter Bowl from a board projects that were thin to begin with. instead of a bowl steady I hot glued 4 "flying buttress's" between the bowl outside and the chuck. The sound scared the heck out of me but man did it work. Turned them down to 1/8". I have used a 3 wheel steady rest that I built from wood and inline skate wheels to steady a problem bowl that had what I thought might be a weak tenon. It worked well.
     
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  4. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    Which one are you using?
     
  5. Zach LaPerriere

    Zach LaPerriere

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    Details! The Oneway.

    I think some of my vibration issues have to do with the softer woods I turn...they just aren't as stiff as the hardwoods 99% of turners work with.
     
  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I've never felt a need for one. On the very large and thin basket illusion pieces that I make, I run the lathe very slow and grip the bowl wearing a heavy leather glove While beading the front and back.. I have my thumb of my left hand against the inside and palm against the outside to balance the force applied by my thumb when beading the inside. It's good that I'm borderline ambidextrous when turning because doing the exterior requires me to do a mirror image swap of what each hand is doing. I feel like the gloved hand provides tactile feedback on how much pressure to apply to stabilize the bowl against flexing. I can't imagine that any bowl steady would be satisfactory for this.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
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  7. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    The steady is often needed on forms much taller than wide.

    I've used a steady in HFs don't use one on bowls.

    Turning the sidewalls in a stair step pattern so that thicker walls provide support for turning the thin part allows thin walled bowls. If I get a little chatter it is usually caused by too heavy a cut or too much bevel drag.
    Sharper tools, lighter cuts, less bevel pressure, using a smaller gouge, increasing lathe speed (if appropriate( all work to reduce chatter.

    Size is another variable. A 10" bowl does not present the turning challenges that a 20" bowl will.
    Turning a 1/8" thick wall bowl on a 10" bowl requires much less skill than turning a 1/4" wall on a 20" bowl.

    A bowl steady is not needed but it can help reduce chatter on larger thin walled bowls if the standard techniques are not eliminating the chatter.

    The real key is to eliminate chatter and keep a smooth surface for the bevel to ride on.
    A little chatter can be sanded off but its real harm is done to the part of the bowl that is cut using the chatter surface as bevel support. A bevel riding on bumpy chatter surface cannot cut a clean surface and usually cuts a worse one. Bad surfaces beget worse ones....
     
  8. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    A steady, if not properly used can actually induce flexing especially if too much pressure is applied. Before using the steady make certain that the exterior is running perfectly true and then use only very light pressure.
     
  9. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Reducing the pressure you put on the bevel will reduce chatter. Ideally the bevel should just gently glide on the surface as you push the tool. Early on everyone will push the cut which also puts a lot of pressure on the bevel. This can easily create chatter due to the different hardnesses in wood. Stewart Batty's 40/40 grind lets you cut with less pressure on the bevel as a cut that David Ellsworth uses which is with the flute straight up and cutting with the side of the gouge. Either of these puts less pressure against the bowl and helps reduce chatter.
     
  10. Bill Bulloch

    Bill Bulloch

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    "Flying Buttress" -- I'm having trouble visioning this. Do you have a picture?
     
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  11. odie

    odie

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    Post #1 in a series explaining the key elements of making the Oneway bowl steady work for you........

    I am one who uses the Oneway bowl steady extensively, and find that it does, indeed, reduce vibrations......and, I have demonstrated this to myself with, and without the bowl steady on the same piece of wood, with the same tool, used in the same manner, at the same time......no, other variables, other than with, or without the Oneway bowl steady.

    For the finest possible cut, you of course, need the sharpest tool possible, and speed is a key factor in achieving that finest cut possible.....with the singular goal of achieving the cleanest cut, with the least amount of sanding required to follow up. Most of you already have your preferred methods of attaining the sharpest tools possible.....and, it really doesn't matter how you get sharp, as long as it's as sharp as your methods can get it.

    For the best speed, there is a "sweet spot", and that spot is normally the fastest rpm where there is no vibration when the bowl just spins, no other factors. (edit: I normally use the 1200rpm setting on the step pulleys......there is a point where it could be too fast with faster speeds. see additional posts for clarification.) It takes some effort to learn how to determine just where this ideal speed is, but I'm currently using a combination of very light finger pressure on the bedways, and watching a magnetic bore light with an extended neck and weighted tip mounted on top of my headstock.....all while adjusting the potentiometer. Using these two identifiers, I can bring up the rpm and find the ideal speed for a bowl at that moment in it's evolution. (Many times, adjustments of rpm may be necessary periodically, as you remove weight from your bowl.....so, be very aware of changes in vibration characteristics that are directly related to rpm.)

    Now that you've found the ideal speed, and as John Lucas mentioned above......you don't want to be taking big honking cuts.....you want very very light cuts......light as a feather! ;)
    (You want to practice this concept throughout your turning, because even for roughing cuts, it absolutely does matter. The least amount of tearout is what's best, and even though it's a roughing cut, ANY tearout is NOT just on the surface. Tearout goes deeper than what you can see on the surface. tearout disrupts the wood fibers under the surface, and that can effect how well the finish will work, IF the fibers that are disrupted extend to where the final surface will be......but, all that is a whole nuther subject! o_O)

    Some of the things I'll attempt to explain will be best illustrated with photos, so this will come in subsequent posts.......I'll be BAAAAAAAAK! :D

    This is the bore light I spoke of. It will vibrate according to vibrations felt in the lathe. The little spring clip at the end adds just enough weight that it accentuates the felt vibrations.
    IMG_2516 - Copy_LI.jpg


    ko
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  12. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    Makes good sense--- got a photo of that Batty 40/40 grind?
     
  13. Grant Wilkinson

    Grant Wilkinson

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    Tom: Batty has a video on Youtube called "how gouges cut". In that, he shows the profile of his bowl gouge and explains why he likes that profile. It's not for everyone, I suggest.
     
  14. Justin Stephen

    Justin Stephen

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    I regularly use a Oneway bowl steady to stabilize the rim of larger platters (16"+) when I bead them for my "bead weaving illusion" pieces. I only have one of the two wheels make contact with the back of the rim with relatively light pressure and definitely feel like it helps substantially to get nice, even beads compared to no support. On smaller platters, I don't find that the extra support is necessary.
     
  15. odie

    odie

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    A link would be helpful, please..........
     
  16. Zach LaPerriere

    Zach LaPerriere

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    Great thread. Thanks, everyone. These are all great suggestions. I've used most of the suggestions except for Bill's leather glove idea—great idea, thank you, Bill. That's not to suggest I'm any good at thin walled bowls... It's all a matter of practice!

    I have used the 40/40 grind to great success in the first inches of a bow, until the steep angle has the shaft almost knocking the rim. It seems like once I'm in that far, it's usually not much of a problem, and switching to a steeper gouge is fine.

    I have a few questions, if you can indulge me:

    1. Does it makes sense to suggest that wood species that tear out easily (and don't cut as cleanly) are more prone to vibration?

    2. Am I right to think that the vibration increases with a longer flat on the bevel? In other words, a relieved bevel heel that wraps around—like the Michaelsen grind—reduces the vibration when cutting the concave interior of a bowl.

    3. Are there any outstanding instructors out there who might have more experience in this area?

    4. Has anyone noticed some bowls just vibrate more? A small percentage of my thinner bowls appear to have a harmonics issue, much like a bell. Stroke the rim or upper side, and it just sounds different, more resonant. These are the bowls that seem to vibrate most. I've seen this a number of times in bowls 12-14", one bowl doesn't and the next does...wood from the same tree, same approximate thickness. I tend to shape bowls a bit deeper than most. There might be a correlation to the deeper bowls and a steady curve, but I sure don't know. These bowls seem to draw people in a little more, too.
    Hmmm....maybe these are the Area 51 bowls, and I need to order Bill's alien action figure to watch over these ones. :)

    Thanks again.
     
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  17. Clifton C

    Clifton C

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    Odie, kinda reminds me of how we used to tune up the pick-up truck, turning the distributor cap till the hood vibration was “just right”. I use a laser taped to one of my lights and reference the dancing spot while changing the speed. I’ve noticed I can increase the speed thru the first calm spot and reach a second at a higher speed. I’ve never tried for a third higher speed, not sure if it’s nerves, or just that the second speed is fast enough. Or maybe, Kenny Rogers, “Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em”…
     

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  18. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    To some extent. A bevel riding on a torn surface is going to vibrate more than a bevel riding on clean cut surface. One of the things that makes returning a dry roughed out bowl easier is having a clean cut surface on the roughout. Returning a bowl with torn grain is much harder that returning one with a smooth cut surface.

    .
    . Yes.....
    A long bevel has more bevel contact than a short one increases bevel rub which absolutely increases vibration. Grinding the heel off an Ellsworth grind makes a short bevel and less vibration.
    The Michaelson grind has a short micro bevel that makes almost no bevel contact and therefore almost no bevel drag.
     
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  19. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    A lot of things can cause more vibration. A few are:
    Bottom area of one around the chuck is thinner an allows more vibration.
    Smaller tenon will have more vibration.
    The grain is off center creating widely unbalanced resistance to the cut.
    Wood can have different density especially noticeable when half the bowl is punky or half is burl. Or wider growth rings on one side ( this is even grain too)

    If I have a too thin bottom it can really slow me down as I have to take smaller cuts all the way through. I get this feedback loop when the cut doesn't feel smooth that says take smaller cuts and smaller cuts until it feels good and stick with that one.
     
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  20. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    1. I don't think there is a strong correlation between the two.
    2. Vibration increases mainly with tool pressure that can deflect the wood slightly. Of course, thinner wood deflects with less pressure and cutting with a dull tool means more pressure is being applied. I doubt that the width of a bevel is a cause of vibrations.
    3. I would guess that all of the outstanding instructors have expertise in this area.
    4. I haven't noticed that but then I don't turn a lot of bowls. Generally I think that it is pilot error when I get vibration. An exception would be if a flaw exists in the wood.
     
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