Where is wood turning going?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by hu lowery, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    Thank You ALL!

    Generally when an internet thread gets derailed it heads down hill. Instead every twist and turn this thread has taken has been a big help!

    I read Kelly's response to my pictures a few hours ago. Had to admit I agreed with him 100%. No guts, no gory I always say and what needed cleaning up was near the base, maybe things hadn't ran around too much in less than 24 hours. Just chucked it back in the recess with no good way to reverse chuck it at the moment. Cut away the lump of wood on the bottom, then I cut away a fair amount of the recess.

    The piece is far better after this. I had settled for "good enuff" which never is really good enough. When I have more time and patience or a better set-up I will probably turn a foot out of the outer edge of the old dome. Until then the rim left from the old recess is the foot although it is far too big to balance with the rest of the piece. I did cut about half of the recess away but bearing in mind I was sawing on the board I was standing on . . . The dome outside rim might be a little small for a foot but I'm running out of wood in the bottom of that piece, don't think there is any wood left for a foot in the deepest recess which is where I would like a foot to be.

    I try to get wings either dead level or far enough off level it is obvious that was the intent. The wings on this piece are level within a sixteenth or less when it is sitting on a hard surface. Partially a fluke, I don't strive for that close!

    The piece looks airy and light, feels the same way when you pick it up now. Not fragile at all, thickness ranges from 3/16" near the top of the wings to 5/16" at the base of the wings now.

    A storm was moving in and I'm afraid the cell phone pictures are even worse than usual. I tried to take them at similar angles to the first one and added an image upside down to show things a little clearer.

    Many many thanks to every one of you. As always the mentoring the members of this forum provide is a huge help to me!

    Hu
     

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  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Hu,
    Think about what to do differently on the next bowl!

    The limits forced on you by the recess grip go away if you use a tenon grip.
    Or a glue block
    or a faceplate if you can envision the bottom coming down between the screws.

    Al
     
  3. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Hu,

    That is a very good recovery. I think that the iPhone takes rather remarkable pictures considering its size.

    I was reluctant to say anything discouraging to a new turner, but Kelly was brave enough to give an honest assessment that matched my initial reaction. One other thing that I ought to add is that the turning is far above what I would expect to see from a beginner. You have mentioned previously that you are a fast learner and your work confirms that statement. I am glad that you received the comments with an open mind. Since you are interested in creating pieces for a higher end market, you can expect to receive critiques that are far more intense than what you would receive here. It's just part of the dues of gaining peer recognition as an artist.

    I also understand and support what MM said. You have to start somewhere. There are no rigid "rules" that you must follow, but there are some gentle guidelines that came into being because they supposedly do help create more pleasing forms to the more serious collector. As a beginner, I personally think that it is a good idea to aim for creating a piece that conforms to some of the design guidelines because it helps considerably to have a clear picture of where you want to wind up before you start out. Otherwise, how will you know if you got to your intended destination (or just a stopping point when there is no more wood to be removed).

    roundandbrowntaketwobotpost1.jpg

    I made some marks on your bowl with a couple suggestions about the foot. Most important is that a crisp corner keeps the eye from following the curve down into the foot. A crisp corner will help the eye to imagine the curve continuing on to the other side of the foot. The foot is a bit tall, but not really bad. It is also a bit large. I would favor something about the diameter of the center bump.

    I marked an area with thin yellow lines where it appears that there is a hump in the curve on the bottom. This is drifting into the nit picking area and looking at a picture can be misleading so take this comment with a grain of salt.
     
  4. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    Thank You Al, Bill, and Michael, and all again!

    First a word about critiques. Honest critiques are the very best thing I can get right now. When I offer my work for sale I won't be judged as a beginner, just another turner. "Not bad for a beginner" doesn't cut it. My instant reaction to Kelly's post was that he was right and I had settled for something I wasn't really pleased with myself. I was very glad he posted what he did, and very happy to see the follow-ups from others when I came back inside from turning what I could off of the form.

    This was my first attempt at this form and I did indeed learn from it. The next one will be better and hopefully continual progress with every piece. I'm going to have to take time to build things to hold my piece better when I reverse it before I go on with turning, just been one of those roundtuit things.

    Bill, The lump marked in yellow is the pith of the limb. It was good and tight with no checking so I left it in this piece. The issue seems to be a dip above the pith where the wood warped differently. Running my hands over the piece this morning after it dried some I am rapidly falling out of love with it. I was going to try to fix more on it but I don't think I will be happy with it regardless, guess I'll just toss it on my wall of shame, pieces I don't quite like or the ones that broke. I'm not really ashamed of any of them, just a play on words with Hall of Fame. Counting this morning, seventeen pieces up there! :D

    I deliberately rounded the outer corner of the foot where you marked trying to make it look more ornamental and less obviously how I held the piece. I'll remember about the square corner breaking the flow and letting the imagination continue it while a curved joining causes a flow into the new shape. I do need to learn the general rules and guidelines governing 3D art design. Nothing wrong with breaking the rules sometimes but that is far different than blundering around not knowing them.

    Al, I learn from almost every piece. The next piece like this will have a tenon, I don't like my faceplate or gluing extremely wet wood. I want some better faceplates but the one that came with this lathe is a pretty nasty casting with some long slots to hold four quarter inch or bigger bolts. No way to help it much, just need to buy better. Until then it works for large pieces and I have the screw chuck and chuck for smaller pieces. I started this one on a screw chuck and with the tailstock in place.

    I'm still very much at the stage that every piece is a practice piece. If I have a nice finished piece when I am done I am happy but if I just learn a few things along the way and the piece dies I don't feel too bad.

    Michael, this weather had me fighting with the satellite all week, no cable out here. I couldn't get the images to open when you posted them. I just looked at the jpg's you posted. Beautiful stuff and definitely shows off asymmetrical! Very nice bottom treatment and does start the wheels turning in my head. Thank you for taking the time to post all of those links.

    The information provided by one and all of you is always vastly appreciated. Please never hesitate to post forthright comments. While I am a long ways from being the peer of any of you, peer style review is a huge help.

    Hu
     
  5. KellyDunn

    KellyDunn

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    Hu,anything and everyhting you need to know about turning can be found in a few forums. Hands on with another turner is best. But if you cant do that then practice. A simple way to reverse a piece like this a soft item, even a sanding pad in the headstock. Put the bowl inside on that and bring up the tailstock to the bowl bottom. Turn and sand leaving a nub. Carve the nub off and sand.
    I want to address perfection that you brought up in a private email. It does not exist. If you strive for perfection where do you go when you get there? If you strive for excellance your path is always open. You will do pieces that you will stand back and maybe even use the term perfect. And maybe others will say the same thing. Take both your own and others words and thoughts and tell yourself you did good. The constant striving for excellance to be honest is hard enough to do. Let alone thinking of perfection. Which will only defeat the soul with its impossibility.
     
  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Hu, when turning a natural edged winged bowl, the way that I begin is between centers in order to first balance the piece and then to adjust it so that the wing tips are in the same vertical plane and finally so that the low points on both sides are passing through the same vertical plane. All of these three adjustments interact so it will require a few iterations to satisfy all conditions reasonably closely. Once adjusted to your satisfaction, you can turn a tenon (I put a tenon on both sides) and do some initial shaping. Even though interrupted cuts are easier to do at high speed, I would forgo that convenience for safety's sake and make sure that your tools are sharp.

    Some species of green wood will allow you to turn a piece that includes the pith with some assurance that it won't self destruct, but most won't. A winged bowl is far easier to control the form if you begin with a half log. In addition to the pith problem when using the full diameter of a log, there is the problem of maintaining a good overall form. What typically happens in this case is something where the wings stick straight up and the overall shape lacks a smooth continuous curve -- typically has three distinct curves that are not pleasing to the eye.

    I like Kelly's comments about perfection. What is perfection anyway and pretending for a moment that it existed, would I know it if I saw it? Probably not. I can tell you what I like, but that is about it.
     
  7. charlie knighton

    charlie knighton

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    perfection = infinity

    by definition neither can be achieved
     
  8. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    "It was a dark and stormy night"

    Charlie,

    It was on a dark and stormy night some years back that I achieved perfection after fifteen years of better shooters trying. I also turned ten perfect laps one night to the frustration of eight or ten drivers of faster cars behind me. We can't maintain it for any length of time but for a shining moment here and there we can achieve perfection in one area. If I ever turn a piece and think there is absolutely nothing I would change even if I could, then that object will represent a perfect turning to me. Gotta admit, it may never happen. My standards are pretty high.

    Hu
     
  9. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    Thank You Both Once Again!


    Kelly,

    I do have a pretty tall dummy block that I have used a few times. It was a spur of the moment thing though and the part that goes into the chuck isn't round or square, a rectangle that I crushed a couple corners on and made do when I needed something to turn a wet hollow vessel on the fly. I'm going to make upgrades in the next day or two. I whittled some pads out of the gray foam floor mats often used to stand on a long time. So far they haven't marred or damaged anything.

    I think that your striving for excellence and my striving for perfection are the same thing with just different words. I try for perfection while doing something but once it is done I can say without qualification that it came out nice if it did. I accept that perfection will rarely be obtained but I chase it all over again next time. I am not seeking perfection in everything I do, just for the next few minutes or few hours in a project.

    I haven't been seeking perfection turning wood so far, just trying to gain knowledge and experience with each turning and accepting whatever result I got. At this point I think I want to turn some simple pieces with a firm goal of excellence in the final product. The process and focus on the process remains the same while turning, just a shift in expectations. I think that will feedback into not accepting something as good enough when it isn't. What I am trying to say is that I think I have been a little lax in my expectations from my turnings sometimes and I want to demand a little more than I have demanded of myself in the past.



    Bill,

    My goal is to finish what I envisioned without flaws and without having to resort to unplanned methods to do it. That is my personal version of a perfectly executed piece. As you point out, perfection of the piece itself is in the eye of the beholder. Another issue is that I can't turn out the same piece over and over and hope to sell it. Perfection in the process is what I seek. Excellence would be just as good of a word. I don't want to look at completed work and see where my process was lacking.

    I understand what you are saying about truing up the piece and half sections of the log being easier to work with. I made my discoveries about shaping the base with the wood falling away on the backside of the log or branch during this project.(where is the emoticon for ruefully shaking your head?) One of my areas I have been lax in sometimes is planning out the piece before starting. The plan may change on the fly but a lack of planning for things that were easily foreseeable has bitten me too many times in the past. That is particularly annoying to me because it should be an area I am strong in.

    Had I used this limb down to just before the pith it would have balanced pretty well. Deciding to use the area where it was irregularly shaped near the present base made the piece more complicated than it needed to be without any added quality to the finished product. I just went and looked the piece over again. I think I did pull off the continuous curve of the rim pretty well this time. very slightly tighter in the bottom third but that is looking with a very critical eye. Everything does appear to flow nicely.


    I took a break from the computer to try to turn a new version of this piece to discuss. The open porch workshop got me when a rain storm blew in. A couple of rain delays and then a lightning bolt that seemed like it was down the back of my neck made me decide I didn't want to be standing by a big chunk of steel with a steel tool in my hand.

    I know, no dedication to the cause . . . :)

    Hu
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2013
  10. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I sometimes turn bowls from a whole limb to capture some unusual bark edge curves.
    They are fun to turn and a little unusual.
    I get two piths in the side walls. These will pucker out as the dry. The effect is a bump on the outside and a matching concave on the inside.
    If the walls are in the neighborhood of 3/16" to 1/8" the warp effect is not displeasing. I know what I will get from the wood. You know too.

    Partly I like to turn a whole limb because a good friend says you should never turn limbs and never leave the pith in.
    That is by the way generally good advice but worth ignoring now and then.

    Have fun,
    Al
     
  11. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    fun is a key portion


    Al,

    Fun is a key portion of what I want from turning. That means I will always be turning things I maybe shouldn't and trying things that may not work. I need to complete a reasonable amount of successful projects but without the unusual stuff turning wood wouldn't be any more fun than churning out parts in the machine shop. I kinda like doing that but it would be stretching it to call the machine work fun. Being able to tweak a friend turning things I shouldn't would just make it that much sweeter. The machine shop is too far away to work there regularly now anyway so I'm committed to the wood. I feel pretty good about where I am headed so far.

    The way you and the other very skilled turners on this forum have given so freely of their time and advice has been and continues to be a huge benefit to me. I do reread these threads top to bottom now and then just as reminders. I am very appreciative of the time and effort you have put into helping me.

    Hu
     
  12. Gretch Flo

    Gretch Flo

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    Equal sides on a nat'l edge bowl

    Frankly, I like the sides uneven, but then maybe I'm a little warped!!!!:D Gretch
     
  13. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    Whale . . .


    Whale, I'll have to admit some folks have considered me a half bubble off plumb now and then! I like them uneven too. I'll let the wood and the customers dictate what I turn the most of but seems like natural edges should have a lot of character. Gotta square some up just to have a few on display to prove I can though. Kinda like the bowls, some badly warped looks cool, every one of them badly warped and people will probably realize it makes a statement about me. I'll drink the fifth if I have to though, I'm not badly warped!

    Hu
     
  14. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    Couple thoughts. When the wood's wet, it will be moving after you're done cutting. Since the heart's down, it'll bow outward a bit on the bottom. Which is why I don't make sharp transitions there. You'll be running your block plane over the area to make it sit straight, and the clean line of demarcation will be closer to the table on the endgrain than the sides. Why I give a gentle ~1/8" lifting curve instead. Difference is less noticeable.

    Second thought. Branches are constructed a bit differently when the tree is in the open than the forest. Not much reaction wood on the forest models, plenty on the open growth. Makes a prettier piece to use that reaction wood. You're going to let it warp anyway, right? The little cherry branch I posted, which looked quite pretty when finished, as you can imagine from the quick look with a damp wipe shown. Play that a couple times to see what happens. Limbs reaching for the sky are almost symmetrical in their shape and load, but sometimes you just have to say "pith on it" and show off. The multihole monstrosity (which sold almost instantly, BTW) has a branch pith obvious., and this IS a branch.

    http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d160/GoodOnesGone/Beech.jpg Little too much bottom.

    One of my favorites. ~8" across, sitting on one. Tops are level, I guess. http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d160/GoodOnesGone/Beech-Wing.jpg

    Cut thin and you'll lose few.
     
  15. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    yard tree

    My brother's neighbor had a large limb threatening another neighbor's car. This wood is some of that front yard limb and it was reported to me that the limb jumped upward a foot when the first trimming was done so I knew there was a lot of stress in this wood.

    These things remind me of a propeller from some angles so I'm kinda pondering how I could turn one to try to get it to warp into a twist. Maybe help mother nature a little too.

    Your pieces and the advice in your post are both great, exactly what I expect from you! Thank You so much for your time taken to help me.

    Hu
     
  16. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    Take two, trying again

    I had cut this section of the sycamore with the idea of getting two turnings out of that section of limb, the other piece was just laying there . . .

    I roughed it in last night and had to stop. While these wings are about a full inch shallower than the first set from the adjoining section of the limb I had really intended a little flatter still. Hard to get past the "wasting good wood" mentality. As the picture shows I did leave a big enough waste block on bottom that I won't be fighting with my chuck jaws for room to work.

    The white area at the top of one wing is just how the sycamore bark naturally peels the very top layer in places and extends about three inches. This piece is currently about a half inch wider than the other set of wings and right now about an inch shallower as mentioned. The black mark on the waste is a witness mark to line the piece up in the chuck exactly as it was.

    Health has dictated I take a day or three off from turning, I never know how long. I'm sure I will be cleaning up warpage by the time I get the wood back on the lathe but assuming I have anything extra to work with I will try to flatten the lines of the piece a little more. This is a blander piece of wood and should work a little easier than the last piece but at the usual cost of being a little less interesting when completed.

    I would be very happy to hear any thoughts concerning where I am at now with the piece and where I should go with it.

    Hu
     

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  17. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Just think of it from the perspective of "there is a bowl/platter/whatnot in there and I just need to find it". :D

    If the interior is about where you want it, you can work on the outside. This means that you will have a much longer tenon, but that is not a problem.
     
  18. charlie knighton

    charlie knighton

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    turning limbs and crotches.....saw Warren Carpenter's rotation and some of his pieces at the nc symposium in 2011......i would have sworn everyone of his turnings should have cracked.....pretty neat what he does
     
  19. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    hoping to stretch the width, shrink the height

    Bill,

    I'm hoping to bring the interior wall as far out as possible at the top and bring the exterior wall up on the bottom creating a longer tenon as you mention. Trying to flatten out the curve of the rim maybe another half inch or more. Pretty confident with the Talon chuck once I get things balanced and much of the weight off like this, just need to see what I have to work with and get to it.

    Simple shape and no knots or other issues to fight with but I had a hard time getting this shape to flow for some reason. Might need to sneak a backer of some kind between the piece and the background so I can see the edges better. I was cutting a lot by feel and sound. Came out beautiful in some areas, not so purty in others! By no means the first time cutting like that but I just didn't seem to have my ducks in a row yesterday. Fingers crossed, I might be able to turn awhile in the morning.


    Charlie,

    I just visited Warren Carpenter's gallery. That is indeed some amazing stuff! I am trying to improve my touch and finesse, one reason for playing with things like the wings aside from just needing a little variety. I still have a very long ways to go before I can hope for something like Warren is turning to live! One thing about being new to wood turning though, I can do things now I couldn't do even weeks ago. That gives me hope that somewhere down the road I will have improved enough to turn most things I lay hands on. I have a good sized cherry stump and root ball available right now. I'll bring it here but I know I can't do it justice yet.

    Thank You Bill and Charlie. As always, your posts are much appreciated!

    Hu
     
  20. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I think that after a couple more, you will have a pretty good intuitive feel of what works and what to avoid when coming up with a design on these winged bowls. The first time that I tried making a winged bowl, I tried to use the full diameter of the piece of wood. It took me quite a while to tumble that stinker out.
     

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