Where is wood turning going?

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

  1. James Seyfried

    James Seyfried

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    wing bowl design

    Seeing that this thread has morphed a little into winged bowl design and I've been trying to make some. Here are a couple that survived; both are from trees that fell in recent storms. I think I like the shape of the first one better, but it is flawed with a slight crease about 1/3 of the way in, just after where it is a full bowl. It is easier to feel it than see. I kept trying to turn it out, the tall wall seemed to flex and the short one got a little thin. I think it is elm. The second is the largest bowl I've turned, it is about 14 x 9 x 8/9 tall (wings are different height). I'm not sure what kind of wood it is. Overall I got the inside curve better and the outside seems to be a smooth curve. I think it is a little tall. Is there guidelines or rule of thumb as to the proportions of winged bowls. And do these very from winged bowls and standard ones?

    One thing I might add to but this somewhat back on topic. I've been a woodworker off and on all my life. I've had a Sears tube lathe that I have used for 30 years. About 2 years ago I got a Powermatic lathe, some better tools and a sharpening system. That really improved my turning experience. However, I think my biggest improvement in efficiency and confidence turning was from spending one day at a demo and another at a workshop by David Ellisworth. I was fortunate to be able to do this at the MAW facility; another great resource for learning. I also think it helped having read his book before the demo. If I get the opportunity to get training from other top turners I'll read their books first too.
     

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  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    James,
    Those bowls look quite nice!

    I had the good fortune to have a five day class with David about 17 years ago.
    What a difference it made for me!

    One thing I have learned with natural edge pieces is that as you hollow some bowls open up a tiny bit as you cut through a tension wood.
    I always finish the walls about 2" at a time leaving the wall thicker below the finished thickness. Cutting the transition lines away as I hollow deeper.
    As a result, On occasions I will turn away the transition line on only one side. If this happens i stop trying to turn away the transition line because it will make one side too thin. This may be what threw your one bowl off a bit.
    Once the bowl is dry I blend the line in with sanding. It only takes a few minutes power sanding and 3" discs.

    Great bowls,

    Al
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013
  3. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    like the weather!

    James,

    This thread is like the weather, if you don't like it give it a little while and it'll change! Those are some very nice looking bowls. I'm sure Al is right about trying to battle after movement. I just finished my second attempt and in a weak moment went back to the tips when about 3/4 of my piece was invisible. I spent most of my sanding time sanding out those gouges. :eek: I'm still at the stage where knowing better doesn't stop me from trying something. Then I feel like a dummy when it doesn't work.

    Somebody recommended turning five of anything when learning in another thread. Maybe Al, I don't remember at the moment. I think that is great advice even when I have to admit I have trouble following it. I learned from the mistakes working on the first set of wings turning the second set, but I found some all new mistakes to make too!

    As expected when I rechucked this piece this morning before the big hot got here I needed to clean up the outside. Wanted to flatten it some anyway so I took close to a half inch off the bottom then spent another thirty minutes or so getting the curve faired enough to suit me and the surface smooth enough that I might be able to start at 220. I had rough hollowed the night before so I started working down in inch wide or a bit wider sections, cutting invisible wood. The first section was angled exactly how I had planned when I started the piece and smooth as a baby's bottom. A great start except for one little minor detail, the shape in no way resembled the outside shape! When I looked more closely I realized I wouldn't improve much on the shape of the first set of wings if I hollowed to match the outside shape. With a quick farewell to my nicely finished surface shape on the outside I whacked a bunch more off the bottom. Almost too bunch, I got it a little thin at the side rim and a little too flat, had to fight that the rest of the time turning.

    Same width as the last one within a quarter inch, an inch and a half shorter. Very thin, around an eighth inch. I did lose a little bark at the top of a wing when the tenon broke on a restart. Unexpected, don't know why, it was about 3/4" diameter still and the piece was very light at that point. Had thought I was ready to knock the tenon off when I cut it that small then decided the inside bottom area could stand a little leveling . . .

    hu
     

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  4. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    The curvature of the first one is nice, but I see a couple things that make me prefer the second one. First, it appears that on the near side, the low point is much lower than on the opposite side. Second, the flat bottom interrupts the flowing curve that should go from wingtip to wingtip and from side to side.

    The second one has a nice curve on the inside. The only thing that I don't like is that it appears that the bottom appears to be much thicker than at the edge. There is not really anything wrong with it being thicker closer to the foot, but I prefer that it not be enough to be noticeable from a arms length distance. Since a flat photo can be misleading, what I see in the photo might not be how the piece looks "in person".

    Given that the rim has a constant thickness, it leaves some doubt in my mind about my previous observation of this bowl. With this kind of bowl, a constant thickness rim is a pretty good indicator of constant wall thickness unless some blending was done by sanding.
     
  5. James Seyfried

    James Seyfried

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    With woodturning done solitary you don't get the chance to learn from others like with carpentry. It's can be that way with fine carpentry but still you use skills that are common to woodwork. However, woodturning is a whole different ballgame. So for many it is just trial and error and that can take a long time and still be inefficient. I know the Internet has changed that somewhat but like with everything else you have to sift through the miss-information. I know if i get the chance I would benefit from more classes.

    Thanks Al!

    I will definitely give that method a try on my next one. And I think what you described is exactly what happened.
     
  6. James Seyfried

    James Seyfried

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    Bill you are right, both about pictures being deceiving and the bottom of the larger bowl being thicker than the walls. The thickness is about the same as far as you can feel in, but there is a two-inch band one inch from the center that is twice as thick. But the center in is just slightly thicker than the wall because of the concave shape. The bottom is thicker on the smaller one, but the wall thickness is closer to being the same down to the bottom. I retook some pictures and tried to shoot squarely for the profile picture. They still don’t appear as they do actually looking at them.

    To remove the tool marks I used the hand scrapers pictured. My 2â€disk holder (only one I have) won’t hold sandpaper any more so I thought I’d try hand scrappers and in my opinion worked rather well. The exteriors weren’t that bad. Probably because I’m better at shear scraping than I am at an interior finish cut. I kind of like that they will show low and high spots and won’t dig out soft fibers like sand paper can. Now with the proper sized disk holders and sandpaper, I might change my tune.

    I look at these and a few others and they all seem to be somewhat too steep at the wing tips. Then I look at some standard ones that I have drying and they don’t seem that way. I’m wondering if there is movement in drying or more in the way I make them.
     

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  7. James Seyfried

    James Seyfried

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    Ok I tried again. First I answered my own question on the bowl shape...a bigger log is going to give a fuller shape. I took Al's advice and went a couple of inches at a time when finishing the inside. I also didn't keep fussing with it, I got it as smooth as I could and then moved on. I think it is somewhat like the same principle with finishing drywall...the more you mess with it the more mess you make. I also paid attention to what Bill said and tried to keep the wall thickness consistent down to near the foot. Overall I am pleased with the appearance of this one, I really like the wood grain. I kept the walls a little thicker at just under 1/4". Curious enough, one half of the rim looks real consistent and the other you can see some difference.

    We had some storms that brought down some trees a few weeks ago. I helped a friend with some and now I have plenty of wood to practice with! :D
     

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  8. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Nice work and nice stash.
     
  9. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    Steeper doesn't display as much bark as shallow, because it is normally cut straight through. On something like willow, with its thick bark, no problem, but beech, where there's maybe a quarter inch, there's really nothing to display. One of your choices to make. I began making flatter ones to put my "business" cards in at shows, and found out they sold faster than the swoops. Plus, as the branches are structured, there's less space between rings on the bottom, so you can use the upper, more normal wood above center for something else, and the gnarly uncooperative stuff can be cut heart down.

    You can even see the difference in bark where the slope of the wing is different, as in this cherry piece. Further down, the cut is more vertical, and it looks thinner. Which, BTW, is one reason why using calipers to get uniform thickness is even less important on these pieces than others. Leave extra thickness and weight at the bottom if you turn real thin, or they become airborne.

    Even when you go out of your way to make a broad piece, as with this maple, the cutting/viewing angles will fool your eye into thinking thickness varies where it doesn't. So make it look good and leave the number crunching to someone who thinks that's important. Like the endless discussion of what two degrees difference in the the sharpness angle of gouge X should be, it really doesn't matter much.
     

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  10. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I like the bowl and the grain pattern you are showing.

    I like the effect of the sap rings on natural edge bowls. I would rather have a contrasting sap ring than bark.
    A couple of points. Turn those bowls soon or the sap ring will begin to discolor and won't be as dramatic.
    I store some blanks in the freezer wrapped in plastic trash bags to prevent freeze drying this keeps the wood nice for years.

    When I cut blanks I orient th log so the pith will,be centered side to side in the blank.

    I start between centers
    With large bowls my first alignment is for weight I shift the tail center until,the bowl does not drop one side to the bottom rapidly when spun a little by hand.

    After roughing to the rim, I set high points of the rim equal by shifting the tail center ( I usually remove the center pin so small chAnges can be made)
    Then set the low points of the rim and/or line up the grain to get the circles in the middle - these are usually two different place unless the tree was totally round.

    For grain circles centered in the bottom I put the tail center in the middle of the same grow ring.
    When changing the tail center to align the grain or low rim edges it is important to orient the high points in a line parallel to the floor an rotate them together as you bring the low points or grain into alignment. If you are careful this will not change the high point relationship, however I alway check it again and tweak if necessary.

    I usually favor the circle in the middle more than low rim height equality.
    If this makes the rim too unequal is split the difference.

    When you get the circles way off line it sort of distracts the eye and the bowl doesn't look as good as one with the grain circles centered.

    Have fun.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
  11. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    two and three

    Wings two got a bit lost in a post above and I turned wings three this morning. A passing rain storm reminded me there are certain handicaps to having a shop as big as the great outdoors so three is actually a work in progress. Needs more sanding and I plan to trim that large foot ring into three small feet . . . . somehow! Ain't quite sure how and that is sneaking towards embellishment. The back rim isn't nearly as rough as it looks in the image when holding it in hand, all the bark is still there.

    To give some idea of how the distortion of the camera lies the bottom two pieces are the same width to within a quarter inch. From the bottom up the pieces are wings two, wings one, and wings three. Wings three was deliberately back to a higher walled design and measures seven wide by four high. Hoping it looks pretty good with the feet but it may have needed to be still taller.

    Hu
     

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  12. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    So Hu, we share the same shop? I guess the reason that I haven't sen you is that you are a bit over the horizon from my corner of the shop.

    I found this picture of a natural edge bowl that I turned about six years ago (I took the picture in 2010). I actually thought that it looked nice perhaps as recently as three years ago, I suppose. It doesn't really qualify as a winged bowl, but at least I won't worry about it toppling over with that elephant foot. :D I guess that my point is that our perspectives about form in woodturning are continuously evolving as we continue our journey.
     
  13. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    just kinda blah



    Bill,

    What I have strikes me as not terrible, not great. didn't get it tall enough for the original idea. Will probably help it some if I get the small feet cut out successfully but it isn't going to be an impact piece regardless. Kinda vanilla.

    Despite the way everything looks in the cell phone pictures wall thickness is about 3/16" according to actual measure, not superthin but thin enough for the size of the piece I believe. Tried to put a double curve into the footing kinda like the eagle claw bathtubs. If I take the feet down really small 3/16" round neighborhood at bottom, will thin CA keep people from breaking them off handling it first thing?

    Right now the footing is about 2-3/4" OD at the bowl and close to 3-1/4" OD at the bottom. I could probably get a small ring down to about 2-1/4" or a bit less if I didn't try the feet, or if they fail. Not going to be a tiny ring regardless but the rest of the shape doesn't really call for one. I'll probably at least try roughing in some feet before I give up on the idea, like almost everything I do this piece is another first. I haven't tried anything this elaborate for the foot before. It is already hollowed out inside which limits my options a bit.

    I did a little prowling around from the link you posted. Seems we both have or had an interest in photography. I'm trying to find a battery for my 10D which tells you it has been awhile since I have upgraded camera equipment. It was working fine before Isaac though. Neither the batteries I found or the charger swam well. If I ever find my software to load on this machine it is CS too, the original CS. Would still be a huge jump from only being able to crop and size. Loaned a friend my macro tripod and ballhead years ago, it might still be around. Would be great for product shoots and the carbon fiber would be a big help toting it from the spare bedroom to the dining room/office to take pictures! :D

    Found a picture somebody took of me at Lake Martin. You can see why it can be hard to communicate with me sometimes. I'm the one with the other photographer shooting through my head, in one ear, out the other, think it probably worked like a macro tube!

    Hu
     

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    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
  14. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    There are a zillion different perspectives about feet. My typical aim is to give the turning a bit of lift off the shelf, but not have the foot itself be a design feature noticeable enough that draws the viewers attention away from the turning.

    I see that you and your friend are both canon shooters. Is that lens a 100 - 400 zoom? If your friend is a macro shooter maybe he sees a gnat on your ear ... not saying which one. :D

    Is that Martin Creek Reservoir in Texas? If so, were you looking for bald eagles? I was there once, but we did not spot any eagles.One of the gals that went with us saw a buzzard and was positive that it was a bald eagle. Propably the firtst time that buzzard has had its picture printed and framed and hung on the wall. :D
     
  15. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    Lake Martin

    Bill,

    Lake Martin, near Breax Bridge LA, was one of the biggest wading bird rookeries in the US. The vegetation maturing and harassment have largely killed off the rookery. Now after decades of absolutely no facilities, with the rookery gone they have put in a visitor center and all kinds of nice stuff from what I hear.

    That was the 100-400. I used it and the 1.4? converter a lot. Flight shots but some nest stuff too. I was watching a nest waiting for something more interesting than I already had while the other photographer found something on the other side of me to shoot.

    They have lots of nesting gators and the only interesting encounter I had with a big gator that wanted to do lunch happened there even though I have been around thousands of alligators over the years. This one is Big Joe. No games played and that is the bottom of a five gallon bucket in front of him. He was well over fourteen feet long. Got a little too interested in people and he went to that big luggage rack in the sky.

    The feet would be a pretty major feature of that bowl if it works out, pretty much the only feature left to make of interest in it at this point. I was originally trying to give it a little lift with them fitting the rest of the bowl design. My design isn't terrible but it is too short and fat to go with the feet I had in mind.

    Been turning old dry wood this morning. Turned an hour on a piece of cherry before deciding it had to burn. Turning on some old cedar now and it isn't looking too promising either, just found some cracks starting. Trying to rain again, might be done for the day after I glue the cracks and find some lunch.

    We have bunches of bald eagles in Louisiana again now. Not too hard to find them and I have a few decent pictures. Funny about the buzzard. On a particularly dry day for photography I shot a series of one doing the top of a flag pole flare thing on a telephone pole. I titled the series practicing for when he becomes an eagle. Lots of funny stories about photographers that led a sheltered life and wildlife meeting but I'm sure you have your share of those too.

    Hu
     

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  16. KellyDunn

    KellyDunn

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    Hu, seems this thread is morphing in a very good way towards critique.
    I never answered your original premise. Wood turning will mostly be hobby turners as it is now. Full time turners who actually depend on sales to pay the bills will bend to whatever it takes that the folks laying out the money are willing to buy. I know I did say that but did not put it into the future of woodturning context. There is a point however where I balk. Doing a work exactly like anothers cause the person wants one but with my name on it. No thanks. Cutting edge turners who have either a day job or a spouse that works or are retired will continue to push the boundries of the field without to much concern if what they make sells. There are full time turners who need to teach, sell tools and videos to make it work for them. Because they do not sell enough work to make on that alone. There are exceptions to all this. I dont teach as much as I used to. But I never really taught for the money. I dont have the stamina anymore to really put myself out there to make say a two week trip worth doing. For me in the future I see an experimental work staying in the mix but me still turning what sells. And teaching now and again.
    I am sure I missed several items others may think the future of the field holds. Or even some may think what I have said needs correction.
     
  17. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    been there and I agree



    Kelly,

    I have been there where someone wanted somebody else's design with my name on it. The answer was a flat no. You want a Hu, you come to Hu. You want somebody else's work, you go to them. I wouldn't even copy somebody else's shaft profile on a cue stick. I spent quite a few hours developing my profile and I suspect the other people did too.

    I think it still works out the same for me. Make some stuff to sell that is pretty generic, a lot like my third set of wings if I clean up the bottom. Nothing special about them at all. Some round and brown bowls that are similar, more selling the wood features and finish than the design. Then turn some pieces that are similar in size and time spent but of designs that suit me. Finally, a few that push my limits.

    I let the fact that hobby shooters could shoot ten thousand digital images in a weekend and have a few good ones then basically give them away push me out of outdoor and wildlife photography. I'm pretty sure that was a mistake. I think I'll stick my toes in and hang with wood turning. I have made about 98% of my customers and clients happy over the years, maybe more. It wasn't ever by offering the cheapest price, often I was one of the highest around, but I did offer very good bang for the buck. I'll have to try to do the same wood turning and see if I can build a market. I can't turn full time but on the other hand if I eventually net ten or twelve thousand a year from turning I would be a happy camper.

    I spent five or six hours turning today trying to salvage some old blanks that looked like they would be OK. Harder than a hammer and both of them I tried revealed more dangerous flaws instead of less as I cut deeper. Thought I could cut away a crack in the waste area of a piece, an hour turning revealed a hairline crack running from the crown to the toe of the piece. That was the second piece. The first piece looked good after I recut with a chainsaw. Deeper grief again, some very hard cherry. Lucky I learned from the turning, nothing wasted. Learning to burn wood I think is ready to burn too!

    it has been a week or so now but I did look at your work. Fantastic stuff! A level of ability to aspire to and if I fall a little short I may still be in mighty fine shape.

    Hu
     
  18. KellyDunn

    KellyDunn

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    Hu, I started turning for real in I think 1980. But did not get the real bug till 86 when I went to Provo. Went full time in 89. Took my back out in 85. By 89 had to get cut. Doc told me to do lighter things than build houses. My early work is like most of our early work, bad.
    I am basicly disabled and know I could not hold down a job with exact demands. Being self employed was my only way to stay off the dole.
    But by 89 I was a pretty good turner and learned the value of being a sponge of other turners abilities. Went to most of the two major symposiums. When we formed a club here I was in charge of bringing in demo folk. I have learned from and taken hands on classes with most. The list is huge.
    My instant fame only took me twenty years. I have my own style of turning and teach it well but always want to learn more.
    Thanks for liking my work.
     
  19. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    fifteen or twenty years to be an overnight success!

    Kelly,

    Many a person has labored at their craft for decades before being "discovered" which really means coming in style. I think of Charlie Rich, made a lot of good music then had a big hit. He wasn't real thrilled with being called an overnight success like he hadn't paid his dues for many a year before becoming an overnight success!

    I am on the dole, but it is a very small one! Truth is I can't work for anyone else, couldn't even run my own business as a computer system engineer. Twice in the last month my back has went to hell when I was doing absolutely nothing. I have to hit a little bit with some of this home based stuff working when and where I feel like it.

    I noticed you are in the cattle country of the big island. I made it to the main island when my brother was stationed there in the early seventies but never made it to the big island even though I wanted to then. I am in cattle country too, sitting on an old dairy farm with not quite a hundred acres left to it. No neighbors to disturb if I work my usual odd hours. A friend asked how soon I was coming back to "civilization". I told him not a minute sooner than I had to, I was born on a farm and I'm a happy camper right where I am at.

    Much of your work has a simple elegance that I want to strive for. Seems like a slap to call that round and brown! Some work seems to be change of pace, something I feel the need to do too. I will not hesitate to draw inspiration from the work of you and other artists and I certainly am interested in learning technique. My issue is with such near copies that someone doesn't know who made something until they check the name. In the pool cue industry there are some genuine "tribute" pieces but there are also a lot of rip offs that say it is OK to rip off someone currently turning out work if we call it a tribute! I don't think so.

    No problems copying your stuff right now, the gouge marks inside and out are pretty much of a give away of my work. I'm calling it "Cajun primitive!" More seriously, I am pleased with the quality of some of my turning. Hopefully with experience I will become more consistent with the quality. In competition what often counts is how close to your best your average performance is. I think the same will be true of my turning. A small brag, I set a few local records in competition and unofficially bettered a world record after an early unplanned retirement. I have a few health issues, I ain't disabled or dead! Wood turning is just turning my competitive juices in a new direction, competing against myself.

    Hu
     
  20. Art Betke

    Art Betke

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    I turn because it's what I love to do. I'm a bit obsessed. My pieces are priced anywhere from $12 to $1000. I sell lots of the $12 to $70 pieces. I have yet to sell a $1000 piece. My turning is only on weekends and other time off work. It pays its own way, paying for all expenses and new equipment, about $7000 per year. I'm planning that when I retire (soon I hope) that I will have all the equipment and tools I need and will be able to double my output. Not expecting the turning will provide me with a comfortable living.

    Basic turning sells the most. Most people won't spend big bucks on turnings, no matter how artsy they are. I agree with you that wood turning should not look like it could be made of any kind of material. My artsy fartsy pieces always have parts that are basic untouched wood. I want people to be very aware that what they are looking at is made from wood.
     

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