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Newbie to newbie

Discussion in 'Newbie' started by Regis Galbach, May 25, 2017.

  1. Regis Galbach

    Regis Galbach

    Apr 10, 2017
    Mount Juliet, TN
    Although I'm not qualified to give technical help, I did have a revelation this morning on the lathe.
    Like most people new to turning I've watched and read and watched and read. I understand most of what experienced turners say and can certainly see the results. I've even been able to duplicate and get "some" good results.

    But, this morning, I turned my lathe speed down to 150rpm on a 2" spindle. I could lay gouge on the turning wood, make slight adjustments and actually see the chips being sliced. With each minor twist or lift I could actually see the change.

    Now, that might not have worked as well before John Lucas sharpened my tools yesterday but, it has made it much clearer to me exactly what the tools are doing at exactly what entry point and position.

  2. Barry Crowder

    Barry Crowder

    Mar 12, 2016
    DFW, TX, USA
    I agree that there is a point in woodturning where you really start to see the edge of the tool and how it interacts with the grain of the wood, and that is the point where woodturning starts to make sense. I'm glad (and a bit envious) that you got time with John to facilitate that.

    I also think that when you 'get' woodturning this way, different approaches to woodturning make sense in spite of the variety of styles that different turners use. If you watch David Ellsworth turn with his eponymous grind, then it makes sense what is going on and why it works. OTOH, you can watch Stuart Batty with a different flute shape and grind and even though his approach is different, you can see why his approach also has merit. To be clear, though, differentiating between the Ellsworth grind and the 40/40 grind won't happen on day one, because of the subtlety involved. You have to start with the basics before you can get to the subtlety.

    I like approaches that allow subtlety, but break the process down into digestible fundamentals. I've seen a couple of resources that address catches but in doing so break woodturning down into some essential truths. One of these is an article by Lyle Jamieson, in which he states: "There are just four cuts in all of woodturning; 1) push cut, 2) pull cut, 3) scrape and 4) sheer scrape." I found this tremendously useful in processing an overwhelming amount of info as a beginning woodturner. I continue to build on it, of course.

    Woodturning is a wonderful way to spend your time. One of the reasons that it resonates with me is that it seems like I'm always learning, always expanding my understanding, not only in overall scope, but also in subtlety. It feels good to have these "aha" moments. I can see by your post that you can relate.

    Happy turning!
  3. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

    Apr 26, 2004
    Cookeville TN USA
    My forehead is actually dented from all the AH Ha moments I've had in the last 30 years. Still have them frequently. Like you said I'm always learning, expanding,and understanding and that's what makes it fun.
    Bill Boehme and Regis Galbach like this.
  4. Jamie Straw

    Jamie Straw

    May 28, 2015
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    In my new role as training/ed director for our club, I spend a lot of time (while turning) thinking about what would help the super-newbies (me being still a novice, verging on intermediate). Slowing things down has come to mind often. You may not be able to make a good cut at 200 rpm, but you can sure get an idea of how things work. I've just started to do some hands-on work with people who've only watched videos, barely turned at all. Looks like a frequent phrase passing my lips will be "Patience, Grasshopper.":D
    Regis Galbach likes this.
  5. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

    Jan 27, 2005
    Dalworthington Gardens, TX
    Home Page:
    When I was "trying" to learn to turn, one of the main obstacles that kept me from progressing was that all of my concentration was being focused on areas of secondary importance such as hand position for holding the tool handle, posture, foot position, and body movement ... these are all important aspects of learning to turn, but while I was fixating on form, I was neglecting how the cutting edge was meeting the wood. My "aha moment" was similar to yours when I discovered that by seeing how the wood was being cut, the form aspects sort of instinctively fell into place without the stiffness that previously had me in its grip.
  6. odie


    Dec 22, 2006
    Panning for Montana gold!
    Another thing to consider, is what worked this time may not work the next time. Each piece of wood has it's own "character", and will perform differently using the same tools and techniques. You know what they say about insanity......."The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results!"

    Regis Galbach and William Rogers like this.

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