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Losing the battle

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Emiliano Achaval, Dec 27, 2017.

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  1. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval

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    On the facebook group that i'm one of the volunteer administrators, we had a post that said it doesn't matter how you get to the final product as long as you get there. He also says he doesn't own any gouges, skews and scrapers only... I enlisted the help of the only traditional English turner in all of south america... He answered that he's almost ready to throw in the towel, its a loosing battle against the daily "Masters" that show up on youtube and post horrific lessons...
    I try to teach how to cut the wood, with sharp tools ,with traditional tools, following the established rules that we all know. Am I wrong? should I tell the next beginner that it doesn't matter if you cut the wood clean or if you butcher it with a scraper? I support the use of the new tools, like easy tools, because a beginner can make a bowl in less time that if he decides to learn a bowl gouge.
    To me there is nothing better than to finish a bowl and start sanding with 150 or even 180...
    Someone posted a video, a guy is turning the inside of a bowl, going from the center out... I pointed out that he should try cutting the right way, you will get a better surface... One answered me: who said thats a rule!! lol... Laugh or cry... Just ranting... Aloha
     
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  2. odie

    odie

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    Well......it does matter! ;)

    Good mornin' Emiliano.....you know it, and I know it! :)

    I can relate to the guy, in a way......because I'm just as stubborn has he is! :eek: What I've found is it's better to make your mistakes.....be observant, learn, adjust, revise, and adjust......then repeat! This process can only be productive, if a person is also stubborn about achieving the best results he possibly can. This means there will be many revisions.....until you arrive at a point where you can repeatedly achieve the kind of results your stubbornness will allow. You might be satisfied with your progress for a few times......but, then one morning you wake up and feel not so satisfied. That's the point where you have to work harder, observe and revise. Then the whole process of improvement begins all over.....again! You thought you wouldn't have to do that. You thought you had "arrived"......but, then you realize you have more bridges to cross. How stubborn you are, and how persnickety you are about results, is what makes individual achievement something that can only be compared within one's own progress. We must forget about what the other guy is doing, and compare our progress to what we, ourselves did yesterday. :D

    The guy is at one point in his individual journey, and his opinions and conclusions are based on his knowledge at that particular point in his own time line. There is still hope for him, as long as he is only temporarily satisfied with results that could be further improved towards an uncompromising goal. It's up to him.....he can either stagnate, or continue putting one foot in front of the other! o_O

    -----odie-----
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  3. Paul M. Kaplowitz

    Paul M. Kaplowitz

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    Two Comments: I find there are two basic types, One who stops learning in his or her twenties and then repeats what they have learned for the rest of their lives, and those people who continue to learn their entire lives.

    As far as only using scrapers: I have a friend who drives at 45mph, even on 70mph highways. He eventually gets to where he's going. . When I asked him why he drives so slowly, he said that he was not comfortable going faster. End of conversation.
     
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  4. john lucas

    john lucas

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    On one hand I agree with the comment it's all about the final product, not how you get there. That being said try turning fine sharp edge details with a scraper. Even if your lucky enough to actually get a fairly crisp edge it still has torn grain and you will blunt the detail by the time you sand out the torn areas. Same is true with making a bead on the side of a bowl. Sure you can turn it but it will have torn grain at the juncture between the bead and the side of the bowl. It takes forever to sand that out. With cutting tools you can get that area turned without tearout and start sanding with 180 or 220. I call all sandpaper under 220 a shaping tool. It removes enough wood that you change the shape of the piece. from 220 on up it just polishes the piece although 220 will take the keep edge off of a sharp point if your not careful. So ideally the goal should be to learn to turn and get the least tearout possible so that sanding doesn't alter the shape or crispness of any details. Of course if you simply don't care about those things then there isn't really anything I can teach you so go ahead and scrape away.
     
  5. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    @Emiliano Achaval i think we have to accept that people set in their ways rarely change and we can’t stop them from posting videos of them trying to commit suicide by flying bowl.
    If someone is offering advice that is likely to get a novice seriously injure I get pretty heated.....

    In the broader picture the final result is one test and a nice bowl made with a chainsaw and sanding can be just as nice as one done on the lathe.
    But as to technique - the reason most of use the side ground bowl gouge for turning green wood is that it produces the cleanest surface in the shortest time with less stress on the body than the other tools.

    So our argument becomes about how you get there safely with repeatability and less stress on the body.

    I want my students to be able to use the tools to cut a clean surface. So I teach them to ride the bevel and cut supported fibers.

    I was at big parking lot demo years ago for a Woodcraft store.
    A friend of the owner who did huge platters was roughing a 36” diameter piece with a bowl gouge straight from the side clunking the endgrain. I offered a suggestion that if he turned 90 degrees he would get more efficient cuts and not get beat up so much. He said he didn’t need any advice.
    I then did my demos next to him roughing out a couple of 14” diameter bowls.
    When I finished the second he came over and said something like “you really know what you are doing show me how you would rough this piece.”

    Lastly in demos I occasionally get someone suggesting what I view as a poor method.
    My general response is something like if that works for you that is fine - for me this works much better and list some reasons. I avoid arguing in a demo it wastes time we don’t have to waste.
    Often the ideas are reasonable - I might say i’ll Have to think about that some more or maybe try it.
    If it is unsafe I will point that out by saying an average turner will find it hard to do a likely hurt themselves.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  6. George Guadiane

    George Guadiane

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    I'm going to take EXCEPTION to your "should I tell the next beginner that it doesn't matter if you cut the wood clean or if you BUTCHER it with a scraper?" statement
    When I first started turning, I would go to art shows and look for woodturners to learn from. One guy in particular made forms that I liked in sizes I could do on my small Jet lathe. Ron Pessolano made LIGHT thin walled hollow vessels. They had flawless finishes... And he didn't live too far away.
    I had already been to at least one symposium and joined a couple of "local" clubs. So I "knew what I was doing." He invited me to his shop to show me how he worked his magic. It was like stepping into the stone age. He had a 100+ year old lathe with babbitt bearings and not a gouge in sight. He had platforms that his 2x4 handled scrapers slid across. This made them very stable so that cutting was pretty easy. Long sharp edges on big scrapers that he used without raising a bead. He got amazing results. I tried, and failed, ESPECIALLY on the inside hollowing, I'd get catches all over the place.

    When I went back the second time, I brought one of my gouges so he could learn how to "do it right..." After about 15 minutes he told me to take the tool to my car and never bring one in his studio again.

    I will grant you that one can get a great cut with a gouge, but I watched a magician/genius do "the impossible" with scrapers.
    I have more than a dozen (maybe 2 dozen) gouges, I USE THEM A LOT, but I also have a great number of scrapers, some with raised beads, some without. I use them constantly. In a lot of cases, I feel like I have better control across the bottom of a bowl for instance and for making the finish curve on the outside of a hollow form. The only tool I CAN'T use - by choice so far - is a skew. They still scare the crap out of me, but they provide a stunning finish for those who have mastered them.
    In a "perfect world," I guess, everyone would have the tools and skill to use gouges with such precision that they don't need sandpaper. I guess I don't live in that world. I'm not saying that one (THIS one) shouldn't continue to try and improve my technique, I should, I do, but in the end, unless you are a woodturner (forgive me for this) with an agenda, how you get to your perception of perfection DOESN'T really matter. There were scrapers long before there were gouges. Because a thing is old and something comes along that is newer "better" doesn't mean that the old way becomes irrelevant or that it doesn't work.
    And I don't recall a customer saying anything like "if you used a scraper and anything courser than 150 grit sandpaper I won't buy your work."

    A note of sadness for me, I had not spoken to Ron in the last few years, in looking for images of his work on line I discovered that he had passed away this past July... It has been said that one is not really dead till the last time their name is spoken... He won't die in my lifetime.[​IMG]

    I'm going to add a comment from another Ron - Ron Browning - A scraper with a raised edge is the American hook tool.
    In my experience, once you raise that freshly sharpened edge, you can get the same angel hair shavings one gets from a properly presented gouge.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  7. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Interesting thread with lots of implications here. I just finished watching Lyle Jamieson's video, Bowl Basics- The Easy Way. It was four hours of detailed information on turning a bowl. What I liked about it was that he explained what he did and why he did it a certain way. He even showed the type of shoes he wore- high top boots to keep shavings out of the boot and no lug soles to keep shavings and chips out so they are not tracked into the house. Good to keep SWMBO happy. I found it to be most informative as I want to expand into other things besides pens. IMHO, turning is something that can be done with many different tools and methods. I always find it interesting to see someone's shop with a whole sackful of turning tools. How did people turn with a foot operated lathe with only one or two tools? I recall the video of a fellow in Pakistan using a skew and a treadle lathe.
    Edit: I have seen people who were of the mindset if something was done differently than the way they thought it should be done, it was wrong.
     
  8. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    I had a well known turner at the last symposium tell me the exact thing. As long as it is safe I agree. I use a bowl gouge for bowls. Many use a flat carbide tool, to me that is a scraper. I tried and didn't care for it compared to a bowl gouge. It is safe, but won't give me the finish a bowl gouge will. I suppose I could safely turn a bowl with a scraper safely. You will have more sanding. So I believe teaching is about how to use the specific tool. Some turners who use carbide tools will end up not using some of the traditional tools. Others will eventually learn and use traditional tools ( or not ). I like to start sanding at 150-180, but see no shame in starting at 80 grit.

    Edit: I only watch videos from known turners.
     
  9. Fadi Zeidan

    Fadi Zeidan

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    I’ll give you my perspective, a newbie who recently switched from carbides to gouges.

    First, let me address the “rule” terminology. When discussing new topic with some newbies, the term rule sometimes is seen as “this is how it has been done, don’t question it”. I would opt to just explain why rather than label it as a rule. That is just my approach in my professional field.

    When I started with carbides, it was easier to simply stick the tool in there and watch chips fly. All the talks and videos about catches, direction of cuts, etc. made traditional gouges seem so intimidating and difficult, and made me look for excuses to stick with carbides, and as you said plenty of videos out there enforces this point to newbies. I remember one that said they are the same, you just have to start sanding at 80 grits.

    After my frustration with carbides, I asked here what tools I should start with and got my first gouge to try out. This thing was so difficult to use compared to carbides. When I stuck it in there, it would bounce and beat me up. Once I learned some basics, I saw the difference. But without someone to teach you, the learning curve is huge compared to carbides.

    My take away points were:
    • Carbides will get the job done for roughing a shape. It is a lot more difficult to get thin walls with them for example and sooner or later you will hit their limitation
    • With carbides, you will have torn grain and uneven curves since there is no bevel (hunter Tools is an exception) and you will have to spend a lot of time sanding and evening things out
    • Not everyone cares about producing good shape/product. Some are very happy with good enough and carbides gives you good enough at times
    • Gouges are much harder to use, but all the talk about catches and direction of cut makes them intimidating to some, not all
    • Gouge direction of cut, means cleaner surface. But even wrong direction produce cleaner surface than carbide and it is one of those: you can go either direction, but for even cleaner cut, go this way would soften the message for someone starting out
    The bottom line is that if someone is happy saying “look I made something”, they don’t care about rules and proper technique or tools. Others want to not only produce the best shapes, but do it with the best tool technique. You need to tailor your message and energy to the type of person asking.
     
  10. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Lots of words in this thread, but I think Fadi hit it with his last statement. If someone wants to learn they will be receptive and if they are satisfied with getting by then that is as far as you will get with them. When I started getting by was the answer and in time that changed.
     
  11. Owen Lowe

    Owen Lowe

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    I think this is the key to this whole topic. If the person is happy with the results then allow them to feel pride and satisfaction without offering suggestions. Unsolicited advice carries unspoken criticism. If and when the maker is unhappy with the process or results then they may or may not seek solutions — be there when they do.

    Gouge/skew vs. scraper is a never ending opinion battle; I often think to the tools and techniques of flat woodworkers. A bench plane is used to equalize highs and lows and shape the surface. A scraper is only used near the end to put on the final surface finish. A well-done scraped surface needs extremely little to no sanding. The gouge/skew is our bench plane and, as has been mentioned above, a final skilled application with a scraper leaves a fantastic surface.

    As to the folks who scrape from beginning to end, I believe they are using the wrong tool at the beginning because a lot of work needs to be done to end up with a surface finish comparable to a sliced and finish-scraped surface. Details are not as crisp and I’d guess the light reflecting qualities of the wood are diminished. But! If they are happy with the results allow them to feel the feelings.
     
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  12. Curtis Fuller

    Curtis Fuller

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    I'm one that likes to leaves doors open when it comes to rules. I enjoy the results of a nice sharp gouge as much as the next guy. But I've also experienced wood that just didn't cooperate and I've had to resort to other things, including a lot of sanding resulting from torn wood. Sandpaper is a tool, even if the last resort. Teaching and demoing are situations where you've usually controlled as many of the variables as possible. You've got good wood and you've practiced what you're doing and you want it to be a learning experience. But everyday turning has a lot of unexpected surprises and those surprises are often what creates the most beautiful work you do. So I guess I would say that I think it does matter how you get there but maybe to some it matters as much or more to break a few rules to get to somewhere new.
    Also, for turning a bowl, here's how more wooden bowls are made than maybe any other way...
    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rynSWKfN3SE
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
  13. RichColvin

    RichColvin

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    I disagree with John in this point. As someone who turns not for money, but purely as a hobby : this is a way to escape work and enjoy life. To me, it is all about the journey.

    Today, I practiced on a piece of firewood to learn techniques for hollow turning. What I made has a horrible finish (due to tear-out), but I learned
    1. How to produce a consistent wall thickness on my the Carter HollowRoller XL
      1. Using the Hunter tool
      2. Using my camera add-on (replacing the laser)
    2. How to make the surface very smooth using the scraper blade (more than adequate inside a vessel).
    This is just one incremental step in my continuing journey.

    It's a pretty little piece of firewood but I don't care. I had fun and learned some new techniques. A successful day in my opinion.

    Kind regards,
    Rich
     
  14. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval

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    Thank you for all the great answers! @George Guadiane not sure which Ron are referring to... Here, our most famous Ron is Ron Kent. Our Ron is alive and well. I just had the pleasure of spending an entire day with him a few weeks ago. We are working on some projects together...
    I was discussing something like this with our own David Heim. Since I can be a bit rough, he coached me as to what to say: yes, you can turn a bowl with a scraper, imagine how much nicer and easier would be if you learn the techniques that I have been showing you... There was no computers when I started turning, I still remember parts of my very first VHS, from Del Stubbs. I still quote him, when he goes both ways with his gouge, he says you pay for the whole gouge, so use both sides! I used to watch in the house and run to the shop to practice... One of the masters of youtube has been turning for 4 years, he has thousands of followers, and the other day we all saw him going up hill on a spindle turning with his scraper...
    3 beginners came to my shop last week. I told them you are going to learn how I do a bowl, with the right techniques, if you have seen it done the opposite way in you tube, I dont want to hear it about it! lol I will continue the battle! Aloha
     
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  15. Martin Groneng

    Martin Groneng

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    As I have said before and I'll say again...........to become a professional wood turner, "use sharp tools and NEVER cut uphill" and always teach new turners that too. If you don't follow this very basic principal, then you are probably one who will try to back your horse and buggy backwards for miles and also try to travel backwards in your car on a major highway!
     
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  16. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    Couldn't have said it better Odie! Sooooo true.
     
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  17. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    The old saying NEVER say NEVER applies to woodturning.
    The cleanest cut will be downhill so the fibers being cut are supported.
    That said there are times where a “better result” will be achieved cutting in the wrong direction.

    Everything is a trade off. Scraping vs wrong direction cut. Which is cleaner? which gives a better view of the curve?

    Two common examples
    1. Often the area near the foot or chuck can’t be cut with a gouge in the right direction with the bevel riding. A wrong direction shear cut is often better than a scrape.

    2. The outside of a Natural Edge. Cutting the wrong direction rim to foot the bark is supported and cut cleanly keeping it but the wood fibers are not cut as cleanly. A wrong direction shear cut can leave an ok surface.

    I almost always do the outside with a foot to rim pull cut. It almost always keeps the bark with No noticeable tear out on the bark. But with only air supporting the bark there is a risk of tearing the bark off.
     
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  18. Martin Groneng

    Martin Groneng

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    Hockenbery, in your example 2 above and your last statement, you are without a doubt, correct! I totally agree. I'm not much of a natural edge turner simply for that reason and after having bark fly off and hit my chest very hard, one learns quickly. Pain often lasts a long time, but not as long as uphill tear out!
     
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  19. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    Turning tools and tech has changed so much in the 40 years I was away, that it is hard to make a definite statement about any part of it. Wood is still wood although so many more exotics are commonly available. Lathes still spin, although the methods of attaching the wood have changed a bit. I turned a lot of bowls 40 years ago. I am back into turning 2 years now and have not turned a bowl again yet. These exotic fluted tools with various grinds simply did not exist 40 yrs ago. I never used a scraper 40 yrs ago though I had one. I have tried them recently for the first time. Turning has apparently been a rapidly evolving field over recent decades. I expect it will continue to be so. There will always be a learning curve. Right up to the day we die. Along the way, we might pass some absolutes. The wiser we are, the less absolute they become.
     
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  20. Owen Lowe

    Owen Lowe

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    Del kinda vanished not too long after that video. For those who wonder about him, he started Pinewood Forge and sells his handmade carving knives. I received two for Christmas and they are absolutely beautiful.

    I think I would add, “But, hey, if you want to try it the other way, feel free!” Sometimes you just gotta test the “rules”.
     
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