California Buckeye End Grain

Discussion in 'Newbie' started by Rusty Fleeman, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. Rusty Fleeman

    Rusty Fleeman

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    I've been in the process of making some popcorn tubs from California Buckeye. to get the size I'm after (10"w & tapering to 7 1/4" x 9 1/2" t) I'm going end grain. it seems to be a very soft wood and very susceptible to major tear out even with freshly sharpened tools on a vari-grind. Do any of you have experience with such a project or this particular wood? Any pointers would be appreciated!
     
  2. Zach LaPerriere

    Zach LaPerriere

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    Hi Rusty, I haven't turned buckeye, but just to eliminate the first possible issue: are you getting the tear-out on the exterior, interior, or both? Since you're turning end grain, make sure you're actually cutting (or scraping) downhill, which is the opposite direction of a side grain bowl. On the exterior, that means top to bottom (wide to skinny) and on the interior that means base to rim. Not sure what tools you're using, but a gouge isn't going to cut smoothly going interior rim to base. Probably a scraper show on the interior, unless you pull out a ringtool.

    What's the old saying? Think of wood as a pile of straws. Would you cut a straw with a pocketknife from the side or the end?

    On the other side of the discussion, a side grain bowl that is wider than tall with a rim that goes beyond vertical and back inward at the top a little (like a calabash bowl) sure makes a fine popcorn bowl.
     
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  3. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Zach has great advice. The only buckeye that I have turned is already stabilized buckeye burl pen blanks. That made me think of using thinned lacquer to help reduce tear out. A mixture of one or two parts lacquer thinner to one part lacquer. Try the 1:1 ratio first and see if that soaks into the wood. The goal is to have it readily soak in like water into a sponge.

    Are you using a bowling gouge or some other tool? Are you a fairly new turner or an experienced turner? I think that knowing your experience level would help others be able to better help you with diagnosing the problem.
     
  4. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    :). Might be the best spell check contribution ever!

    Is the gouge we roll toward the lathe!
     
  5. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Ditto what Zach and Bill said.
    IMHO end grain bowls are better suited for ornamental than functional use
    The walls of endgrain bowls are much more fragile than walls of sidegrain bowls of the same wall thickness. While no one would ever drop a popcorn bowl intentionally the side ground bowl from a soft wood is likely to dent while the endgrain bowl is likely to split.

    Leave the walls a little thicker than you would for a side grain bowl.
    Using a hook tool or ring tool from bottom to rim will give the cleanest cut on the inside.
    The inside can be cut with a sharp bowl gouge thenfollwe with scrapers.
    Turning the inside first on endgrain often works better as the cuts are stressful on the side walls.
    Cutting rim to foot on the outside with a bowl gouge will give the cleanest cut.
     
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  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    So are you trying to top my contribution with your own gaffe? :D

    And, you could hardly wait:
    Actually there is such a thing as a bowling gouge when your ball jumps three lanes over to pick up a spare on a Greek church split (4-6-7-9-10 pins). :D
     
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  7. Mark Hepburn

    Mark Hepburn

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    :D:D
     
  8. Rusty Fleeman

    Rusty Fleeman

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  9. Rusty Fleeman

    Rusty Fleeman

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    Thank's to all. I've been using a bowl gouge. I did scrape a little but still had the tear out. I'm a middle of the road Turner (400 bowls). I like the thinned finish stabilizer idea. I have one left to comete so I may try it. I didn't think about changing the direction of my cuts but will do so a's well. I also left the tail stock in and hollowed it around it as long as possible. this helped. thanks again!! and good luck marketing that bowling gouge!!
     
  10. Mark Hepburn

    Mark Hepburn

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    Rusty, those are some very nice popcorn bowls.
     
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  11. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Rusty,

    Those turned out nice!
    Very interesting wood grain, photos have a hard time showing the entire complexity of the figure.
    I might need to put a few of those on my "bucket" list of projects.
     
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  12. Rusty Fleeman

    Rusty Fleeman

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    The guy who ordered them takes his home theatre (and popcorn) pretty seriously. ordered 8 tubs!!
     
  13. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    I've found a Hunter tool to be good at deeper end grain work, for boxes and cannisters. A hool tool is also properly oriented to cut the wood downhill, but they are not commonly used and the knowledge of how to do so not so widespread. The most important point has already been mentioned--cutting supported fibers means cutting differently than on face grain bowls.
     

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