Woodturning...

Hey all,
Thought I'd start something on woodturning. I've been woodworking for about 7 years now and have recently bought a lathe. The thing is great for legs and small pen turnings. I'd like to start making bowls. I bought a average chuck collet and tried to do a few tunings but don't seem to be able to get the finished product like I see on the Web.
Basically, if I actually get to the point where I can finish sand, (if it hasn't flown off the lathe by then) I'm never am able to get all of the tearout removed... I think my tools are sharp... maybe it's the wood.. who knows!
Anyway, it's a pretty satisfying hobby where the results come fairly quickly as opposed to building a cabinet over the course of a couple of weeks.
Any thoughts on technique, tools, woods, burls (actually I have a great source for burls) How long should it take to turn an average plain old bowl? Maybe I'm trying to turn too fast?
Cheers,
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Try rec.crafts.woodturning Good turning help there.
Pierre Boucher wrote:

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Gerald Ross
Cochran, GA
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On Sun, 11 Jan 2004 10:52:07 -0500, "Pierre Boucher"

For some reason it takes me a lot longer than what is printed or what people say. Took me three hours to turn a cherry rolling pin, and about the same for a small bowl. Maybe things will speed up when I gain some skills. My 5-drawer Shaker style dresser took a few months to complete, but I used hand tools and did not have a shop back then. Time is not an issue, unless you are in a production shop trying to make money.
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Cut down slope and down grain to the greatest extent possible. The wood tears when you try to cut up grain, because you're cutting it with no support behind it.
Rattle through rec.crafts.woodturning for lots of good stuff.

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Great advice from here is to go to the woodturning forum. Nice guys, some nationally recognized turners, and a really helpful group. They have a tendency to stay on topic, too...
The best advice is to join a woodturning club, and get to see the tools used by someone that knows how to use them. Books are great, but with woodturning the variables are so many for individual tools, sharpening angles, turning speeds, and of course, all relevent to the type of wood you are turning.
Then there are specific sanding and finishing techniques for different woods and projects... homemade finishes... homemade tools... design techniques...it goes on and on, but in the end it is a blast.
I have been doing professional carpentry work for the last 30 years or so, and took up lathing on a lark about 6-7 years ago to make some repair pieces for a home restoration. I have enjoyed this end of sawdust making immensely as there is a real comraderie amongst our club since the easiest way to learn proper turning techniques is to be shown how.
Robert
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I'll second what some others have about joining a turners club. Also (in the US anyway - sounds like you might be from the UK?) try the woodworking shows that are making the rounds right now. I was at The Woodworker's Show over the weekend and they had several free seminars about turning. One was specifically about turning bowls and was very good at covering the basics.
-Chris
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about
average
get
quickly
trying
Two major things to get good results, and several minor things. The main ones are technique and sharp tools. You must have both to minimize tearout and cut cleanly. However, sharpening technique is critical too. I was pretty discouraged after joining a woodturner's club, and seeing what awesome stuff people were producing, and mine all looked like shit. After taking a beginner class (who, me? I've been turning for fifteen years - maybe I can teach them something - that was my attitude), I found out that not only did I know far less than I thought, I didn't have a clue how to sharpen my tools. That made all the difference. I was able to turn a chunk of dry pine 2x4 down to a dowel 6" long by 3/16" dia. before it broke.
If you have good technique and the right means to sharpen, the tools you use and the lathe you use won't make much of a difference. I have some really good tools that I paid dearly for, and some old carbon steel that holds a razor edge. My old lathe is in mothballs, and I just got a foot-powered "bungee lathe" in a raffle. If I can't turn on that, with a few old files ground down to profile, than it's not the tools, it's me. Most of the turning experts I know make a lot of their own tools.
As for the bowl. Lets say you have a 6" diameter bowl blank, 3" thick, dry wood, pick your species - let's say cherry or soft maple. You should be able to rough out the bowl to 3/4" wall thickness in less than 20 minutes. Say another 20-40 minutes to get it to a reasonable wall thickness and finish it. Sanding should be minimal if your sharpening technique is good, and finishing shouldn't take more than a minute or two at speed. Your mileage may vary.
Jon E
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