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Coop

Turning The End Grain

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I need some face grain, off size plugs. I glued up some cherry, long grain to long grain for a friend to turn for me to make a dowel. Feature a single strip about 16” long that would be used in an end grain cutting board. Can this be turned safely? Sounds kind of iffy to me.  There are 5 glue joints. 

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If it's a good glue bond then probably yes.  If I'm honest I didn't quite understand what the glue up looks like, but segmented turners turn a myriad of glued up little blocks.

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Iffy? Yes.

Go for it? Sure! How good of a face mask do you have?

How thin does this need to get? You can certainly turn this between centers. But the slightest vibration, catch, or wobble and it'll shatter. I presume you're turning this as a stick because you want the plugs to be a consistent size, right? If it were me, I would cut it in half and work on each half separately, checking my work often to ensure consistency.

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Thanks guys. I think I will just provide him a piece of solid stock from this same wood and settle for end grain plugs. 

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My opinion:  as long as you've done a good job with the glue joints (flat surfaces, long grain, adequate quantity of titebond I-II-III, reasonable clamping pressure) they should hold, catch or no. 

As to the grain direction, the wood is in bowl orientation. Use a bowl gouge,  do not use a roughing gouge or skew.  

If you did knock the corners off on a router table that would be a good head start.  

Depending on the tools used there could be a good deal of end grain tear out which may or may not require sanding depending on your application.  By the way how big do you need these dowels?

Your friend doing the turning should make the final decision.  

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2 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

No plug cutter available? Or the necessary size?

It’s the Maloof low back chair and instructions and videos from both Marc and Charles Brock use a stepped drill bit for the screws that is a bit off from conventional dowels. Fortunately for them and unfortunately for me, they used walnut with ebony plugs and I am using cherry and don’t really want the dark contrast that end grain provides. I finally got in touch with my turner friend that has been out of town and he said, no way, so end grain it will be! 

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Aw, come on, Coop! Don't let a little challenge deter you from the design you want!  

Shave that stick close to round and a little bigger than final size, then chuck it in your drill press. Make a quickie tall fence, like a BS resaw fence, from plywood and glue some 40 grit paper to it. You can make cross-grained dowels in no time. If the stick is long and wobbly, chuck a piece of all-thread in your hand drill, and spin it against your belt sander to make a point. A couple nuts and washers attach it thru the center hole in your drill press table, then you have a dead-center tail stock to hold it true.

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Ken, If you have an exact diameter, the plugs could easily be cut on a CNC router to a fixed depth and bandsawed off. I do this with Domino plugs I use to hide magnets.

I'm happy to do it for you if you don't know anyone around there that can. 

IMG_0461.thumb.jpg.8503fed1806171179d9541636ce140c0.jpg

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The CNC solution is much better because it will be exact.  A lathe turned dowel won't be a perfect cylinder.  The sides won't be perfectly straight, they will be eye-chrometer close.  The cross section will also be slightly oval as the end grain is harder, so the end and side grain don't cut or sand the same.  For a bowl this is unoticed, but in a plug might leave gaps.  The CNC will cut a perfect circle precise to 4 decimal places, and out of whatever thickness of board you choose.

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 Mick, I don’t know of anyone with a cnc and I appreciate the offer and will take you up on it. If you will pm me with your address, I will send you a piece of the cherry this is being built from and mic the diameter of the bit. You’re a fine fellow. Thanks

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1 hour ago, K Cooper said:

 Mick, I don’t know of anyone with a cnc and I appreciate the offer and will take you up on it. If you will pm me with your address, I will send you a piece of the cherry this is being built from and mic the diameter of the bit. You’re a fine fellow. Thanks

Happy to do it. Why don't you mark the areas where the grain matches up best and I'll shoot for cutting them close to it. I'll cut multiple areas so you can pick the best match.

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Mick, the build is from 3 different 8/4 boards so it would be hard to choose. I’m sending you two different pieces . I need about 20 plugs and the 2 should be plenty for that many. Thanks again bud! 

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@Mick S, I thought no I’ve changed my mind. Instead of trying to hide or make the plugs blend, I’ll just get my friend to turn them and use the end grain as an accent. But I really do appreciate your offer. Thanks! 

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On 6/1/2019 at 9:10 PM, K Cooper said:

It’s the Maloof low back chair and instructions and videos from both Marc and Charles Brock use a stepped drill bit for the screws that is a bit off from conventional dowels. Fortunately for them and unfortunately for me, they used walnut with ebony plugs and I am using cherry and don’t really want the dark contrast that end grain provides. I finally got in touch with my turner friend that has been out of town and he said, no way, so end grain it will be! 

I can send you some Ebony.

 

Edit: replied too early .... Mick's got you!

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5 minutes ago, Brendon_t said:

I can send you some Ebony.

 

Edit: replied too early .... Mick's got you!

Knowing you, you would probably mix it before you sent it! :D

Oooppps, I read it as sending me some epoxy. :ph34r:

I never allow myself to even touch Ebony, much less work with it. Thanks for the offer though! 

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31 minutes ago, K Cooper said:

 

I never allow myself to even touch Ebony, much less work with it. Thanks for the offer though! 

Blah blah blah, you're old and can't see good. 

 

Why every not? It polishes up beautifully.

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Probably with cherry it would be too much of an accent. Cherry end grain will be enough. Appreciate ya though! 

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