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Can I ask?

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As a new member on here I’m beginning to get the impression that a good percentage of members on here are primarily bowl turners. Would that be right? Or are those that do spindle work just less vocal on here?
 

Roger Wiegand

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I think it's safe to say that most turners mostly turn bowls. Pure spindle workers are relatively rare, mostly production turners or furniture makers. Hollow forms are often turned in spindle orientation but not thought of as spindle turning for some reason. Lots of us enjoy spindle work from boxes to ornaments to pepper mills to pens.

I'd guess that 80% of the objects that show up at show and tell at our club meetings are bowls of some description.
 
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As a new member on here I’m beginning to get the impression that a good percentage of members on here are primarily bowl turners. Would that be right? Or are those that do spindle work just less vocal on here?
It may be that many turners concentrate on bowls, or hollow forms. Although I turned a lot of both initially, I now make only a few. I concentrate on various types of multiaxis work and spindle lattices or structures. I've also made several Windsor chairs. I may have made as many chairs as bowls in the last couple years.
 
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I'm all inclusive. If I have a need for something round, and the lump of wood can fit on my lathe, I'll turn it.

Between-centers work (aka spindle turning), seems to be for items that, along with being artistic, tend to have more of a practical/utility use. Examples: baseball bats, writing instruments, ornaments, architectural and furniture spindles, carving mallets, kitchenware (peppermills, rolling pins, pasta containers, goblets, salt shakers... okay, those are hollow, too...), table lamps, croquet sets, and on and on.

Coves, vees, beads, tapers, straights, loose rings, uh... these are shapes- cuts- used in the design of every between-centers project you'll ever make. And even if you don't turn spindles for your regular turning interests, turning shapes on a stick of scrap a few inches in diameter is a terrific way to practice and hone your cutting skills. Cut lots of the same shape a quarter or half inch deep into a 4" cylinder (tree branches and firewood work well) then cut them all off and start again from a straight cylinder, repeating until the wood is gone. Dare I say, practicing skew cuts and working to get perfectly round, repetitive beads of different radii really stresses and exercises your at-the-lathe body english and tool handling skills. It also helps you familiarize yourself with different woods and their behaviors and characteristics. Oh, it helps with sharpening skills, too. Spindle turning is not tolerant of dull tools, especially once you realize that, just like on a bowl, every 90 degrees the grain changes from face to side (and end) to face again. Spindle turning has somerhing to offer all turners, even if their interests don't normally include spindle work.

There's a great book out there, it may only be found used anymore, from Keith Rowley titled "Woodturning, A Foundation Course, New Edition". At one point it come with a DVD, too. I'd recommend that book, a good part of it is dedicated to between-centers turning and his photos and line drawing are excellent.

Richard Raffan's book and videos/Youtube are excellent as well, take a look.
 

hockenbery

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Bowls - almost every AAW member has made one and bowls are the most popular main interest.
Also bowls can be functional objects - 2nd most popular selection.

These were the results from 6 years ago when AAW did a member survey. Got about 4000 replies - about a third of the member.
It focused on object types and did not separate out spindle work.
The results of the have tried allowed multiple answers
The results of most interested allowed 1 answer

What is spindle turning- I turn finials, tool handles, pens, napkin rings, stool legs - those I consider spindles.
Balls, some hollow forms, birdhouses and some boxes start as spindles.


IMG_1062.jpeg

You should note the AAW survey may not be representative of this forum membership.
 
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odie

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For me it's 99.999% focus on bowl turning for the past 42 years.

Being that bowls are cross-grain turning, and spindle turning is end-grain turning. The main practical difference for bowls, is there is nothing you can do to avoid cutting directly towards the most unfavorable grain orientation possible. This can be overcome by two distinctly different things.......a bull-headedness for technique perfection.....or power sanding.

-o-
 
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Interesting. At my wood turning club I would guess that bowls account for about half the stuff that ends up on the display table. Spindle turning also seems to be very popular in France and Germany as well.
 

hockenbery

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Cindy is the most famous spindle turner in America.
I’ve never thought of Cindy as a spindle turner. She does turn the finest finials I have seen.

Marc Sfirri, Nick Cook, Myron Curtis, Alan Lacer, Stewart Batty Other well known spindle turners Maybe from an earlier generation
Alan Leyland is no slouch either. Love his stools.
 
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Dave Landers

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Turning is two things to me. There's the "thing" being made, and the making of the thing (the process). Sometimes a piece is either one or the other, but it's more satisfying if I can tick off both at once.

Bowls satisfy me as "a thing" because they are useful functional objects. Other items out of my shop are satisfying as "things" because they are interesting or beautiful or just fun to look at or hold. Other times turning is satisfying just because of the process and solving challenges.

Things are usually for others (sometimes me) to enjoy, the process is always only for my personal enjoyment.

No matter what I'm making, it usually starts with one of two mindsets. Sometimes I have a specific end result ("thing") in mind, and I use the processes and techniques I've learned to get there. Sometimes I turn just for the joy of the process, developing technique, and playing with form (I think of this as "sketching with a gouge" - and sometimes I even end up with a "thing").

Bowls and hollow form exteriors satisfy both sides of me (the thing and the process) because of the challenge of creating a (usually) long fair curve. I sometimes get obsessed with removing tool marks, bumps, or flats that could easily be fixed with a little sandpaper - because I enjoy the challenge.
These days, I am doing more hollow forms because I feel I have more freedom of expression (bowls have constraints that allow them to be called bowls, hollow forms have fewer constraints on the form/shape).

My spindle work most often starts because I need the "thing" - like a goblet stem or a finial - as part of another project. Rarely do I just "sketch" something long-and-skinny, except when I am sketching to develop needed (or forgotten) skill. I do enjoy the challenge of turning tiny details.

Anyway, that's my 0.02 USD
 
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I'm all over the map what I turn. Combination of spindle and face plate (face grain). I mainly like to make useful items, not into making art, it's nice to look at and I appreciate the work that goes into it but not where my interest lies. I would say bowls and platters are a big part of my turning. I've done endgrain hollowing to make sugar bowls and flower vases. Spindle for candle holders, pens, pencil, screwdriver kits, pepper and salt mills, sewing items, table pedestals, hammer handles and mallets, etc. My table tops could qualify as a flat platter. I like mixing it up so I don't get bored doing the same thing. The biggest thing I have learned since joining this forum is make the last cut with a sharp tool and be careful to eliminate sanding as much as possible. I'm exploring negative rake scraping now.
 

Michael Anderson

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I enjoy just about every type of turning (still have not made a pen though—one day), but my primary interest is bowl turning. That said, spindle turning occupies quite a bit of my time, e.g. hearts and egg-based pieces. I’m also primarily turning small end grain bowls at the moment, and working on a complicated box-ish project (German smoker).
 
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I have fun turning spindles, from finials to boxes, pens, candle sticks, long stemmed goblets on to architectural production runs of balusters and newel posts. I do turn bowls, and seem to get more requests for bowl turning demonstrations than anything else. Apparently I'm part of the herd, but at least I'm in good company...
 
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Some say that you should learn to turn spindles first and learn them well, then go to bowls. I went to bowls after about my second spindle. I do turn a bit of everything. Most of the spindles I did were rolling pins. I did turn a couple of pens as part of the 'pens for the troops' but never got into them since there is no real turning skill required, though some may not agree with that. Right now, I am focusing on spheres. I needed a number of them for a coat rack I am making for the entry way in my house, and it was the last club demo. I do like boxes which I consider good practice for closed and/or hollow forms. I do have a very 'practical' side to what I like. Best use of my turnings are ones that get used every day rather than just looking pretty...

robo hippy
 
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In the approximate order of what I learned first: simple spindle turning (coffee scoop, garden dibber, mallet, honey dipper), more complex Christmas ornaments and goblets, boxes, bowls from 6" store bought blanks, finials, natural edge bowls, larger (e.g. 10") bowls, plates and serving platters, spheres, wave bowls, vases and hollow forms, candle sticks, embellishment techniques (carving, burning, piercing, coloring), large nested bowls and coring. Of all those, I gravitate most toward hollow forms and embellishing right now. Much depends on what wood I have at the moment. I love the variety and challenge of trying new stuff! That said, I have never made (nor likely will ever make) pens, cowboy hats, segmented turnings (other than the wave bowls), or basket weave patterns.
 
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I enjoy just about every type of turning (still have not made a pen though—one day), but my primary interest is bowl turning. That said, spindle turning occupies quite a bit of my time, e.g. hearts and egg-based pieces. I’m also primarily turning small end grain bowls at the moment, and working on a complicated box-ish project (German smoker).
Lots of parts to a German Smoker, I made one a while back.
 
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Interesting. At my wood turning club I would guess that bowls account for about half the stuff that ends up on the display table. Spindle turning also seems to be very popular in France and Germany as well.
It doesn't surprise me that turners outside the US are more interested in spindle turning, from reading books and posts on the forum, and watching the occasional Youtube video. I wonder if it is because there is a strong and lengthy tradition of craft trades in Europe, and maybe Australia/New Zealand, and there doesn't seem to be such in the US.
 
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Well, yesterday, I discovered that my live center is not very 'precision machined'. I was working on spheres, and noticed that the mount was always a bit off center. I noticed it when I was tightening up the cup centers and it would push the sphere to one side. Now, I have to find another more 'accurate' live center....

I don't speak English, I speak American!

robo hippy
 
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Yes it is I thought everyone knew that.
:) I thought my post reinforced you comment. :)
My British friends think I may learn English in time
Yes I have heard the Brits claim to have given us a perfectly good language which we proceeded to destroy.:)
 
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Well, yesterday, I discovered that my live center is not very 'precision machined'. I was working on spheres, and noticed that the mount was always a bit off center. I noticed it when I was tightening up the cup centers and it would push the sphere to one side. Now, I have to find another more 'accurate' live center....

I don't speak English, I speak American!

robo hippy
I was actually educated on the correct terminology for lathe centres some years ago on an engineering forum.
Back in the day lots of work on engine lathes was done between centres. Plain centres were the order of the day. A plain centre was placed in the head stock spindle, and as this rotated with the work and a drive dog it was called the “Live” centre - makes sense.
The plain centre fitted in the tail stock didn’t rotate so was called a “Dead” centre - also makes sense. At some point later on, revolving centres were invented so they were called “Revolving” or Rotating” centres. They weren’t called “Live” centres because that name was already taken. Only machinists over a certain age will understand this and they’re dying out fast.
 
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My comment was intended to highlight how tiny Cindy‘s work is, not make some silly remark about your English. After over 20 years, I thought I would throw my hat into this ring. Is this it?
 
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After over 20 years, I thought I would throw my hat into this ring. Is this it?
I'm not sure exactly what you mean here, Jerry, but am assuming you are surprised and disappointed in the posts that followed your original one. I apologize if this is incorrect, or if I'm saying things you already know.

One of the things it took me a while to learn about participating in forum discussions, is that misunderstandings are common. People look at one of my posts and don't read carefully, or don't understand the nuances of what I've intended to say. Those nuances are normal and relatively easy for me to communicate in spoken language, but are extremely difficult in online exchanges. As a result, I've needed to learn to let things roll off, giving people the benefit of the doubt, and now try hard to write plainly, and add plenty of emojis, to encourage people not to read too much into what I've said. You used some emojis, too, so you understand. In the end, sometimes, it's still a shock where a thread goes and how people respond.

On this forum, at least, everyone is good natured and supportive.
 

hockenbery

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My comment was intended to highlight how tiny Cindy‘s work is, not make some silly remark about your English. After over 20 years, I thought I would throw my hat into this ring. Is this it?
We agree Cindy does terrific finials. I was just trying to make a funny reply. I made remark about my English because I don’t always communicate real well. I certainly did not intend any unfriendliness.
 
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I apologize for my misunderstanding. For sure I do not have a complete understanding of the anglishe language! Whut is an emoji?
 
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