Turning zebra wood


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I am not a turner, but bought a jet mini lathe to make knobs and pulls for projects Long ago. I have made a couple boxes and a dozen or so bowls.

Today I found a 2 inch square piece of Zebra wood a couple feet long, I want to make ring boxes from it. Any special tips on turning this stuff? I have a Nova chuck mounted.

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There is a slight difference between the different grain density so keep your tools sharp so you don't have catches Also there is some tear out to be expected with end grain so you may have to sand quite a bit to fix any torn wood. I would use my skew, or gouges over a scraper because of what I mentioned above.

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Duck,

 

Ive seen you refer to "Keep your tools sharp so you don't have catches" many times.  The sharpness or dullness of your tools has nothing to do with catches.  What causes a catch is presenting an unsupported edge to the wood, and not using the bevel of the tool.  The bevel supports the cutting edge of the tool, if you rub the bevel then rotate the edge to the wood, it wont catch. 

 

All I ask is if you are going to coach turners, be informed well enough to present good and correct information.  And not information you deem personally correct.

 

Roger

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Not to disagree with you, Roger, but sharpness is important. You are correct that "riding the bevel" supports the cutting edge, but if that edge is dull, it will not slice through the wood fibers. Just as with a plane iron, well supported but dull, this can result in tearout and "catching", that is jamming the tool into the wood.

As a disclaimer, I must say I am a relatively inexperienced turner, but personal observation seems to support my statements.

I'd say you and Duck each have valid points. Sharpness and proper technique are both important.

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I agree with roger using dull tools does not cause catches, catches are caused solely by tools not being presented to the work correctly. It is important to prevent tear out and make cleaner cuts but knowing what causes catches is important for safety. That claim is simply false while I don't have rogers experience I do have a fair amount of experience on a lathe. Sharpness does however have an effect on the quality of the cut and long term means less time sanding and prep for finish. I really think its important to make that distinction because new turners often get fustrated not knowing why the tool jumps on the tool rest. telling them to sharpen more often isnt going to stop that. 

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Not to disagree with you, Roger, but sharpness is important. You are correct that "riding the bevel" supports the cutting edge, but if that edge is dull, it will not slice through the wood fibers. Just as with a plane iron, well supported but dull, this can result in tearout and "catching", that is jamming the tool into the wood.

As a disclaimer, I must say I am a relatively inexperienced turner, but personal observation seems to support my statements.

I'd say you and Duck each have valid points. Sharpness and proper technique are both important.

 

WTN,

I am not trying to start a holy war here but, if you go back and reread ducks statement, it simply is not right. It says keep your tools sharp so you wont have a catch. Plain and simple. Nothing is farther from the truth. If a new/newer turner comes in here, and takes that advise, goes sharpens his tool to razor sharpness, goes to the lathe and has a massive catch. figures hmmm, I read on woodtalk, that shouldnt happen because my tool was sharp. Goes back to the grinder and sharpens again, with the same result. Massive catch.

Catches happen because of no bevel support. At least in cutting edge tools like gouges and skews and such. Scrapers are a whole other animal. If you do not rub the bevel, and present the edge to the wood, you are guaranteed to have a catch. Go to your machine and chuck up a piece of wood, and see for yourself. Show it an unsupported edge, and see what happens. then after you rechuck the piece, show it a supported edge, properly riding the bevel.

Sharp tools are pretty much mandatory, can I turn with a dulling or dull tool? Sure I can, but I use proper techniques to do so. Do I ever have catches? Sure, I have catches, but with my experience, I rarely have a bad catch, and they are fairly rare occurrences anymore.

All I am asking is that if you are going to offer wisdom to turners, that the information you give, is technically correct. Turning is hard enough to learn the nuances when you are first starting out. And can be dangerous at times as well. To mitigate some of the danger and lessen the learning curve, we as mentors need to provide accurate information. Not something we deem personally as correct.

Roger

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I am with Roger and JWatson on this one.  I don't think Roger ever meant to say sharp tools are important, we all know they are.  Preventing a catch is all about technique.  In fact some of the worse catches I have had were immediately after sharpening.

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thought i would finally chime in now that im actuly siting down,

 

first  i really didn't feel that i had to walk Bernie  through step one of turning because he stated that he has made some boxes and a dozen bowls on the lathe so he had a more then passing knowledge of turning.  But and this a big but roger is right the bevel riding is extremely important but that is something that is hard to help people through on something as impersonal as a forum. the bevel supports the wood and helps prevent the wood from riping and catching. The bevel controls how much wood is cut and prevents your edge from cutting too aggressively.  the few people that i have let try my lathe i have shown them to use the bevel when i am in person. its just so hard to explain in a two sentence post on a forum all the things that can be done to prevent catches.  everything from riding the bevel to as simple as keeping the wood wet. One thing that i have found is easy to get across is that sharp tools are important because a dull tool needs lots of pressure and if presented incorrectly if there is a catch the damage is worse then with a sharp tool. if your putting lighter pressure on the tool because its sharp then when it catches it can have a significant less impact on your project (Thats not to say this is always the case just often in my experience)  

 

when i posted above, a better way to have said it was use sharp tool as it will lessen the impact of a catch.  the wording wasn't as well written as it could have been. what can i say i was siting down and responding to the post shortly before bed perhaps i should have waited but i didn't and i made a simple mistake.  We all make those mistakes for example roger in your response you said "The sharpness or dullness of your tools has nothing to do with catches" well frankly that does not makes sense since a sharp tool will sheer through the wood and a dull tool will grab the wood no matter how it is presented bevel or no bevel its just the nature of the beast.  granted it is less likely with the bevel starting it but i have started with a bevel on a tool that was dull and when sharp and when i used it on the wood it dug into it catching and digging a deep gouge. i would like to say it never happens but i sometimes I do have the tool catch. i have just found that the sharp tool messes up my wood and a dull tool catches and can throw the wood around the shop possibly messing up me.  i feel that it is really dangerous to tell people that just because you present your tool correctly you wont have a catch. i admit that i mistakenly indicated that  sharp tools prevent catching but roger, mike and jwatson you are telling people that bevel first wont cause a catch which can be really dangerous.  

 

many turners including lyle jamienson has said similar here is a article he wrote in american wood turner back in 2006 https://www.lylejamieson.com/instruction-classes/documents/AAWArticle-FearFactor-Winter06.pdf

 

sadly were in a age of digital messages where instead of talking we type things out and many nuances of communication are lost through something as impersonal as the typed word. something as easily understood as part of a conversation can be miss communicated in a short typed message. 

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