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Topic: First attempt at wood turning-pic
Message: Posted by: Paul Prater (Dec 20, 2008 07:43PM)
I know it isn't much, but this is the outcome of my first attempt at turning wood.


This is made from a piece of oak that was destined for the fireplace. I cut it into a blank on a bandsaw. I spent over an hour on the lathe, which I am sure was entirely too long for an experienced turner. I am not totally pleased, but I am not totally discouraged either. I learned a lot and plan to go for round two tomorrow.

Overall length is 12 1/4" and it is 3/4" in diameter at the largest end.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 20, 2008 08:40PM)
Fun, isn't it?
Message: Posted by: remote guy (Dec 20, 2008 08:53PM)
Very nice job!
Message: Posted by: Paul Prater (Dec 20, 2008 09:02PM)
Yes, close to addictive. Thankfully my father in law has all of the equipment, so I had zero investment to start. I have been reading some info online about woodturning, because I really had no clue what I was doing. I have used metal lathes and I have done a fair amount of wood sculpture. It was somewhat akin to combining the two into one art form.

Just as an aside, Mr. Baker, I have looked at your website and you work is beautiful and inspiring. Your wands are very nice.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 20, 2008 10:15PM)
Thank you. I'm sure you'll be turning out some really nice pieces, too! :)
Message: Posted by: Papasmurf (Dec 20, 2008 10:54PM)
Your first attempt is way superior than my first go at the wood lathe.
My first piece went straight into the wood stove.
Yours is definitely a keeper.

I also started as a wood carver. In the 80's chainsaw carving outdoors and the 90's inside with Fordoms and Dremels.
I find turning a lot more relaxing, especially compared to chainsaw carving.

Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 20, 2008 11:27PM)

I saw a couple of your ball vases that Bob Sanders brought to our recent club meeting. Very nice work. I was impressed!

Message: Posted by: Papasmurf (Dec 21, 2008 12:10PM)
Thanks Michael,

We have a couple of your pieces proudly displayed and used in our home.
Your Oriental Twin Die Box is on my wish list.
I am so tickled pink when art marries with magic.

Message: Posted by: M-Illusion (Dec 21, 2008 12:32PM)
Very nice!
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 21, 2008 12:57PM)
What's next, Paulyp?
Message: Posted by: Ray Tupper. (Dec 21, 2008 01:18PM)
Well done,satisfying isn't it!!
My business is antique furniture renovation and I only do a few easy turnings,it's more economical to give it to a full time turner plus,if you've ever tried to turn a barley twist,you'd know exactly what I mean.
Stick at it mate and move onto some different timbers,the beauty also lies in the materials,as well as the craftsmanship.
Message: Posted by: MickeyPainless (Dec 21, 2008 03:19PM)

From one turner to another, welcome to the fraternity! Ditto what Eric said, my first few pieces went straight to the burn barrel! VERY nice first try man!

Message: Posted by: sobrien (Dec 21, 2008 03:28PM)

Nice work I have been turning for over 15 years. I really like the fact of where you start and what you end with. Only problem sometimes I finish with fire wood, other times I get lucky. Take your time and enjoy, stay safe as well.

Message: Posted by: cupsandballsmagic (Dec 21, 2008 03:48PM)
I'm no expert but that looks pretty good to me... If that were my first piece I would be as pleased as punch!
Message: Posted by: Paul Prater (Dec 21, 2008 08:11PM)
Thanks for the compliments guys.

To answer the question of what's next, based on today it's frustration.

I went down to the pasture where we dump a lot of trees. There was persimmon and a cedar. Both were acouple of years old. Unfortunantly, I don't think that there is any usable persimmon. I will have to cut some of the thicker pieces to see if anything in the middle is useable. I did get some good pieces of cedar, though.

I spent a while just turning the cedar round. I was going to make a chop cup. After getting my wood cut and then almost completely round a large piece broke off. Made the piece pretty much unusable.

Next, I worked with some oak again. There wasn't enough good wood to do much. So, I got a lot of practice and made some nice size piles of shavings, but nothing to show for it.

I have the rest of the week off after tomorrow and I am sure I will be back out there. I would welcome any suggestions for good magic projects.

Also quick questions. Where is a good source of wood? I found a few places online and ebay, but I didn't know if any of you have a favorite place. Also is sweet gum good for turning? I just cut down a gum tree and if so, I want to cut some pieces now and let them age. I also cut down 10 pines. Too bad, I can't use those.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 21, 2008 08:52PM)
I'm not sure where exactly White Hall is, but check around you for lumber yards, millworks, cabinet shops... anyplace that might carry and/or use wood, especially hardwoods. Woodcraft stores carries a very large variety, but their prices are kind of high, so you'd want to build up your confidence on a lathe prior to making sawdust out of a lot of money. There are many online sources, although I've never bought from them. I'm sure the shipping costs would be frustrating.

Don't overlook old furniture, or similar for salvage. Just be sure it is real wood, and that all nails, screws, etc. have been found and removed. Regarding cabinet shops and millworks... ask if you can raid their scrap bins.

Regarding your current frustration... Some days are better than others. Two basic rules will help:

1) Keep your tools and your mind sharp (I've seen a spindle turned using a screwdriver, but it took some very careful attention to do it)

2) Don't get in a rush (remember the adage, "Haste makes waste")

Both rules will preserve your work and your safety.

Other than that, study your technique (try to find wood turning books or DVDs at bookstores or libraries). How you present the cutting edge to the wood can make a big difference. The grain direction of your stock also makes a difference. Example: Turning a bowl blank exposes a lot of end grain to the perimeter. Presenting a tool head on to it can easily result in some major tear-out.

And yes, some woods turn better than others, although very good, sharp tools and careful attention can turn almost anything.
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Dec 27, 2008 12:38PM)
How's this?
Message: Posted by: Michael Taggert (Dec 27, 2008 08:05PM)
Nice spiral jay.

If any one wants some inbteresting wood I have huge black walnut tree that needs some intense trimming (cant cut it down but there are 18" dia branches) if any one wants to come by with chainsaw in hand.
Paulyp great first turning you will find that certain woods turn better than others and are less frustrating.
Mike t