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Tear Out Help

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Charles Cadenhead, Sep 21, 2020.

  1. Charles Cadenhead

    Charles Cadenhead

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    Help! I've started a new bowl and I've notice some (a lot) of tear out. It's an ambrosia maple blank that I purchased. If you look at the pictures, the tear out looks a little punky but the fibers don't feel soft. Also, the tear out is on both sides making me wonder if it is punky and goes all the way across the blank. Tomorrow, I'll resharpen the Thomspon skew and try again.
    I'm wondering if I should apply some wood hardener to those places? Would it help or is the tear out too great and deep to fix? Thanks!
     

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  2. Joe Kaufman

    Joe Kaufman

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    IMO the decay has gone too far. You could get hurt especially if you are using a skew. I hope you meant bowl gouge.
     
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  3. Robert D Evans

    Robert D Evans

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    I think you're done with that one. The spalting has turned to rot.
     
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  4. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    You are getting end grain tear out.

    Do not use a skew!

    a skew is not suitable for that grain orientation - a skew is useful when the end grain is toward the centers.

    This piece looks quite punky.

    Light cuts with a sharp gouge in thiS direction might clean it up some. But with that much tear-out iif doesn’t look promising. 76A9A0BB-5BCE-4C88-8AAF-FBC334E5B9D1.jpeg



    I start bowls between centers with the opening toward the headstock.
    With the curvature I would turn the bowl this way 0ACB3BE2-CE88-4181-81C7-8B9027E91849.jpeg
    So I would flip it so that I could more easily turn the bottom
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
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  5. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    BTW, that appears to be box elder and not ambrosia maple.
     
  6. John Walls

    John Walls

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    Looks like a lot of the box elder I get but I've not seen ambrosia maple so did not comment. I agree with Dean.
     
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  7. Charles Cadenhead

    Charles Cadenhead

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    That may be why it smells! Sure isn't as sweet as the maple I've turned. :)
     
  8. Charles Cadenhead

    Charles Cadenhead

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    Thanks gentlemen, looks like I'll be sharpening the gouges tomorrow....
     
  9. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Might be to far gone to be able to cut it clean.
     
  10. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Probably using the skew on its side as a scraper. That alone gives tearout. As Al said on side grain bowls there is always a tendency for the wood to tear out on two opposing sides because the tool.is cutting against the grain in those areas. Learn to use a bowl.gouge in a cutting action and you can reduce this tear out to a minimum.
     
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  11. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Double down on Johns Lucas comment above
    Scraping Punky wood Usually results in tear out.
    Cutting it (cross cut) will give the best surface.

    wetting the wood with water will swell the fibers giving an acceptable cut on slightly punky wood
    Thin shellac will give a good cut on wood a little bit too punky for the water to work
    Wood hardeners like poly All 2000 will work on falling apart punky wood but the you have plastic wood.
     
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  12. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Well, for sure, that wood is pretty far gone, and either throw it away, or save it for later when your skills have improved. When I first saw the pictures, before reading the comments, I was thinking that you might have used one of the carbide scrapers on it. A skew, used as a NRS (negative rake scraper) could leave that rough of a surface, especially if it is dull and you are pushing. A grinder burr on a skew type NRS would be gone by the time you go from the bottom to the rim. A gouge, properly applied and properly sharpened, would do a much better job, and a honed edge on it would also improve the cut. The side grain picture you have of the white wood is a much cleaner cut. Proper cutting application to that would eliminate all of that torn grain. Not sure if it is possible to get a good surface on the brown part.

    robo hippy
     
  13. Charles Cadenhead

    Charles Cadenhead

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    Here are the results after a pass with a sharpened bowl gouge. Better but still not great. I'm going to keep working with it and I'll let you what happens....
     

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  14. John Walls

    John Walls

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    I get decent results at that point on soaking it with a 50/50 mix of seal-coat and DNA. I still get a little tear out but not so much I can't spend some time with 80 grit to get past it. Lots of sanding.... lots Try to sand around the bowl equally or it will be out of round. Not a large problem but a pain nevertheless.
    I'd soak it hard, total bowl, with the above. Or I use Minwax HardWood but at $13 a can, I make darn sure it's not going to the firewood pile. I love using wood like that, makes for a fun experience. I have had punky wood fly off the lathe so for darn sure, stay out of the firing lane.
    Good luck!
     
  15. John Walls

    John Walls

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    Charles, I just started a thread, I'm Punky Too. This bowl started out like yours, the whole center was punky/rotted. It was soo bad I could not create a tenon to turn it so I found a spot, drilled for the worm and poured some minwax in it. I then soaked the bowl with 2 cans of minwax to get it fairly turnable. The whole thing was done on the worm so when I got close to my screw hole, needless to say, I was a little nervous. I kept the live center pressed against it darn near the whole time. That's why I drilled the hole a little deeper than normal so I could see it before hitting it. I'm not suggesting you do that part, if the wood did not have special meaning to guy I'm doing it for, I would have made it firewood. I feel this whole piece was a dangerous turn and I will never do one this bad again, probably should not have done this one but it's done, except for the shellacking.... LOL
     
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  16. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    The starting point of a bowl such as that should be with it attached at the opening end with a wood worm screw or faceplate and bring up the live cup center for extra stability, then turn the outside almost to completion including a tenon. The contour that Hockenberry suggested is best in all ways. I would suggest the you use the 40/40 gouge for the final cuts such the the leading point (starting at the middle of the blank near the tenon) is used to do the cutting, then if that does the job of eliminating tear out continue on with the inside or if not junk it and consider it good practice.
     
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  17. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    What Don said.

    Each pass should be A light cut. Deep cuts produce more tear-out.
    You can see that the light cut is working.

    also you have some big holes from other larvae.
    Most likely this wood was standing dead for a long time or left on a pile for along time.

    When the tearout is a half inch deep
    It takes Nine 1/16 deep finish cuts with a sharp tool to work through it.

    it may well be that you will continue to produce some more minor tear-out because of the punkiness and your tool will needing sharpening after 4-5 passes to keep it sharp.

    this is all good practice for skill building even if you just make shavings. A decent bowl is long shot.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
  18. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Another thing to consider when trying to correct tearout is not to force the cut. You have to really relax and let the tool cut at the rate it needs to cut. This is usually slower than you think so don't push it at all, just let it cut.
     
  19. Charles Cadenhead

    Charles Cadenhead

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    Thanks for the encouragement and a reminder of what I'm doing - learning and picking up skills. :)
     
  20. Charles Cadenhead

    Charles Cadenhead

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    Update:
    I finished turning the bowl. As suggested I took very light cuts and sharpened my tools frequently (every time I stopped the lathe to look at the bowl). If I tried to take too deep of a cut or if I wasn't paying attention the gouge would catch the punky wood and start carving a divot. After I shaped it and hollowed it out, it was so punky inside. I sanded it up to 120 grit. I decided to stop there because it's a pretty ugly bowl.
     

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  21. Charles Cadenhead

    Charles Cadenhead

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    One last post on the ugly bowl... I finished it with a little half and half (half tung oil and half lemon solvent), the punky wood didn't really darken from the finish. The rest picked up some color but the punky wood is just blah. I learned a lot from this experience and got some good sharpening and bowl gouge practice in.
     

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  22. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    Ive had decent results with punky wood soaking in clear lacquer until it quits soaking in then drying it for a ridiculous amount of time. Turned pretty good after it dried.
     
  23. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I have seen and made worse.... Still pretty. And, you got to learn a lot....

    robo hippy
     
  24. Charles Cadenhead

    Charles Cadenhead

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    Thanks. I decided to put it back on the lathe and work on it. I may be a glutton for punishment. lol
     
  25. Karl Loeblein

    Karl Loeblein

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    Just a little more FYI and some repeating. Box Elder’s other name is Ash Leaf Maple. The red flame color is caused by the Box Elder’s reaction to a small beetle boring into it. Other maples react with a more brownish or grayish color to insect damage which is often referred to as ambrosia.

    Box Elder is a soft maple and are often found in some state of decay due to beetle damage. A piece this degraded could definitely use some hardening as others have suggested. Soaking in shellac thinned down with alcohol (I.e. sanding sealer) is another option.

    The red will fade quickly with exposure to uv rays, but Box Elder can still be a very beautiful wood when finished smoothly. Don’t give up on this wood when you find a better piece in the future.
     
  26. GRJensen

    GRJensen

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    Box Elder is also known as Manitoba Maple.
     
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  27. Glenn C Roberts

    Glenn C Roberts

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    Isn't Box Elder also known as Old Crate?
     
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  28. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    GUH-ROAN......:D
     
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  29. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    If you've learned from this experience then it was worth more than what you paid for the wood. Keep the bowl as a data point in your woodturning education. I have several of my early bowls from when I thought that I knew what I was doing. I think this one is #2 (in every sense of the word). I never found all the pieces of #1:

    image.jpeg
     
  30. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Gee Bill, at first look, I thought you tried to make the inside the same diameter as the outside..... Maybe a big catch? Or can you even remember that far back???

    robo hippy
     
  31. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    There were two things going on ... maybe three. The walls were getting really thin because I was trying to turn away the dig-ins that were happening at increasing frequency. It took me a while before I learned that thin walls vibrate especially if you poke the pointy nose of a somewhat dull bowl gouge at the wood below center on the inside of the bowl ... you can expect bad things especially if you're pushing hard and the bevel isn't rubbing. By the time that got to the stage in the picture I had the handle of the bowl gouge in such a death grip that I probably left permanent indentations in the wood.
     
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