sbarton22

Turning end grain

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Are there any secrets to turning end grain? I seem to have trouble doing this.

I'm talking both when I am hollowing out the end of a spindle turning (grain running parallel to the bed) and when I am trying to turn a bowl and the grain runs perpendicular to the bed.

On the spindle scenario, even when I using a freshly sharpened bowl gouge, I can't seem to get any kind of cut going. Now, if I am turning a bowl, I can make that same hollowing cut without problem.

The opposite occurs on a bowl. When doing spindle cuts (for lack of any better term) I seem to get a lot of tear out...and I am sharpening my tools frequently.

Today, I blew out a small bowl. Now, I did that after hollowing it out and making some profile changes to the exterior. I had some kind of double catch that blew out, almost symmetrically, about 1/3 of the walls of bowl. (It would have been really cool if I had intended it to look that way!) Maybe that happened because I should not have been turning the profile after I hollowed it out?

Anyway, any tidbits of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

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SB,

You are not alone in having problems turning end grain. Every turner battles this at times. Sharp, sharp tools, proper lathe speed, and proper tool presentation are key to getting the best finish possible. Even though, sometimes it just doesn't matter what you do, you will get end grain tear out.

Fill me in on your equipment here, so I have an idea of what you are working with.

Lathe

Tools, are you using continental style gouges, or the more common gouges made of round bar stock.

How are you sharpening them? High speed grinder, low speed grinder, Tormek, belt sander, on a rock? :)

Using a Wolverine jig, or freehand sharpening

Are you doing faceplate turning, or turning using a chuck.

Are you turning green/fresh wood, or dried wood

One thing to always remember, when you turn bowls, turning the outside, ALWAYS go from the bottom of the bowl to the Rim. And when doing the inside of the bowls, ALWAYS go from the rim into the bottom of the bowl.

Give me some more information and we can work our way through this.

Oh, and about your blow up. If you turned this bowl relatively thin, and then went back to do more work on the outside there was your error. Generally speaking, once the bowl is flipped around, and in position to hollow the inside, this is pretty much your last chance to adjust the outside of the bowl. Before you remove any of the stock on the inside. By trying to adjust the outside after it is turned thin, you introduce a vibration into the piece, all it takes is for the undulation to hit the gouge edge wrong, you get a small catch first, and lightning quick, you get a massive catch, and pow, your piece explodes. There are ways to work around this, and I can work with you on this. Sheer scraping can be used to some extent, but if the pc is thin, it will still vibrate.

Best thing to do is totally finish the outside, before starting the inside.

Roger

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Roger--

Thank you for the help. I really appreciate it.

Tools:

Jet 1220 VS

A set of Pinnacle gouges: http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2020989/23870/Pinnacle-Cryogenic-5-Piece-Turning-Set.aspx

Robert Sorby curved scraper http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2000408/2050/Scraper-Curved.aspx

I'm using a wolverine jig on an 8" variable speed grinder (set to the lowest speed). I have the skew attachment as well as the flat attachment to use with the scraper.

I am using the stock 80grit wheel. I have not upgraded to an aluminum oxide wheel.

I have a supernova chuck

I can only find dried wood right now.

Ok, one thing I know I am doing wrong from what you wrote is that I was using "spindle turning" rules when it exploded. I was going downhill, or from the largest radius to the smallest. I guess the end grain doesn't like that? I'm not sure I fully understand it.

Also, I was thinking about it last night....Is a plate easier to turn than a bowl? In my mind, it seems like the same process, but I have been known to jump in a bit deeper water than I ready for. If I need to take a step back I will.

Just for reference on my skill set. I have turned, with success, pens and bottle stoppers...that sort of thing. I am very confident with that level. I have tried a couple of weed pots, but inevitably, when I think I am about 95% done, I get a catch and have to "redesign" my way out of that. So, let's call that moderate success. I can get the forms but a catch will cause me to have to alter the design. Yesterday was my first go at a bowl from a single block of wood.

Again, thank you for your help.

scott

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A question for Roger, or anyone else: All things being equal (that is you’re doing everything else right), do you think the Easy Wood Tools would offer enough improvement in turning end grain to make their higher cost per tool worth it? Or, are all turning tools going to have an equal chance at successful end grain turning?

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i have wondered how well those work myself but roger recomended that i get doug tompson tools said they are very nice quality tools i have not thought much on the easy wood tools because they look like they would be hard to sharpen and pain to replace the blades when they break

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A question for Roger, or anyone else: All things being equal (that is you’re doing everything else right), do you think the Easy Wood Tools would offer enough improvement in turning end grain to make their higher cost per tool worth it? Or, are all turning tools going to have an equal chance at successful end grain turning?

Onboard,

That made me LOL. Let me preface what I'm going to type in a minute by saying use whatever tool you think to get the job done! That said, here is the way I think.

I think everyone should learn to use gouges the way they are intended to be used. Use them enough to get proficient with them, and know how to make the various cuts that can be done with them. I own 3 carbide tools. I have 2 Easy Roughers, and one of Easy Wood Tools Easy Finishers #3. That said, I've used the Roughers exactly 1 time since I bought them a number of years ago. They now have permanent residence in my tool box. I do use the Easy Finisher upon occasion. Not a go to tool in any way, but its fun to use when I identify a need for it.

When I turn end grain, such as small lidded boxes, or hollow forms, I am as apt to grab a gouge, followed by a scraper to finish up, as I am to use the little Hunter tool. A lot depends on the design of what I am trying to do. End grain can be very problematic, there are lots of issues that present themselves. Think of a bundle of straws, as your piece. Try cutting the end off the straws, and there is little support, and each straw wants to pull up out of the pack. But if you move the gouge down, and are now cutting into the side of the bundle, there is support from the bundle and your straw will now cut cleanly. (Thats the best analogy that I can come up with)

Sheer cutting/Sheer scraping may be your only option at this point. There is one guy in our club that will ONLY use carbide tools. I doubt he even knows how to use the gouges that he has. I firmly believe that he has handicapped himself severely. You can't turn Finials or do delicate beading or coves with carbide. Learn your gouges, then branch out to the carbides if that floats your boat. Face it, if you turn for any length of time, you are going to end up with 20-30 tools anyways!!!!!

One thing to be noted also, The carbide tools can catch just as fast and just as aggressively as a gouge. I dont think there is a turning tool made that I cant get a catch with!! :)

To specifically address your last sentence. Are all turning tools going to have an equal chance at successful end grain turning. I would have to say yes, with maybe a slight edge going to the carbide. In the hands of someone who is very skilled with them, probably a bigger edge to the carbides. But remember one thing, the gouges that we use now, have only been around for about 30 years or so, the carbides only just a few years. Continental style gouges and scrapers were the norm for hundreds of years. Something to think about.

Roger

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i have wondered how well those work myself but roger recomended that i get doug tompson tools said they are very nice quality tools i have not thought much on the easy wood tools because they look like they would be hard to sharpen and pain to replace the blades when they break

The Easy Wood Tools are similar in idea to the planer/joiner spiral cutter heads with carbide inserts. When the edge becomes dull you rotate the cutter head to a new unused edge which will be as sharp as when the tool was first purchased. When all the edge(s) has/have been used (worn) you replace the cutter head, so there’s never any sharpening needed.

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Roger - I like your answer. Nicely described. Sounds like you were already skilled with the traditional cutting tools before you purchased the Easy Wood Tools (EWT). After reading your explanation, it seems like someone who only purchased the EWT as a brand new turner, would be at a disadvantage in their turning. That is, they would be limited in their turning efforts. Please understand that I’m one who is entertaining whether or not I want to get into turning.

Your explanation does answer a question I’ve had. The question: Can I get by with purchasing 2 or 3 EWT as a new turner or should I purchase traditional turning tools and start my turning learning from there. After reading your comments I’m now leaning toward the traditional tool approach and maybe add an EWT after developing some skills IF it makes sense at that time.

The last thing I was wondering, is the only advantage of EWT not having to sharpen the tool? Or is their design and construction any advantage as well? After looking at the EWT I noticed that they only have two cutting edge forms: A short section of straight, and a small radius edge on the finisher/hollower. Looking at the traditional tools, it looks like they have a larger variety of cutting edge shapes and sizes which, I guess, would cover many more types of turning than EMT. That may be why you have so many turning tools.

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Your explanation does answer a question I’ve had. The question: Can I get by with purchasing 2 or 3 EWT as a new turner or should I purchase traditional turning tools and start my turning learning from there. After reading your comments I’m now leaning toward the traditional tool approach and maybe add an EWT after developing some skills IF it makes sense at that time.

The last thing I was wondering, is the only advantage of EWT not having to sharpen the tool? Or is their design and construction any advantage as well? After looking at the EWT I noticed that they only have two cutting edge forms: A short section of straight, and a small radius edge on the finisher/hollower. Looking at the traditional tools, it looks like they have a larger variety of cutting edge shapes and sizes which, I guess, would cover many more types of turning than EMT. That may be why you have so many turning tools.

OB,

I would not say that the only advantage to the carbides is not having to sharpen them. There are differences in use for sure. When you are dialed into the tool, and have it working nicely, they really do leave a fantastic finish on the wood. But its just like every other tool in the arsenal, you need to learn the intricacies of the tool to get it to perform up to expected standards. Most turners have a bunch of tools, thats just the way we are!! :P

And I think you are on the right track, learn the conventional tooling first, then add in a carbide. But irregardless you will still need to learn the conventionals. There are just some things that the carbides wont do.

This is a good conversation, and im glad to be of assistance.

Roger

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I'm beginning and decided to go with a set of Easy Wood Tools. Why? Because I wanted to learn how wood responded while turning without having to learn an additional technique and taking sharpening out of the equation. I do plan on learning on traditional tools at a later point, but for now the EWTs simplify the number of variables that are present.

Not discounting Roger's suggestion, just explaining why I decided to go the other way.

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Scott,

I've not forgotten about your questions. Will send you a PM sometime today.

Roger

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I'm beginning and decided to go with a set of Easy Wood Tools. Why? Because I wanted to learn how wood responded while turning without having to learn an additional technique and taking sharpening out of the equation. I do plan on learning on traditional tools at a later point, but for now the EWTs simplify the number of variables that are present.

Tex,

Thanks for jumping in here. One question. Did you have any experience at all with conventional tooling before you got the carbides? I am just curious is all.

Roger

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Almost none to speak of. I took an intro to turning class and ended up using both an EWT smoother and a skew chisel to turn a bowl in Bubinga. I didn't find that I preferred one over the other, the skew struck me as a finesse tool that would reward good technique, which I didn't have yet. Right after taking that class I got my lathe and a rougher, smoother and finisher from EWT. I suspect that I'll get a set of gouges and a skew at a future date, but for now the tools I have work well enough for me, albeit at a higher cost of entry.

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A skew on a bowl? Seriously? I hope that you were just using it as a scraper, laying flat on its side. That is definately not recommended procedure. :o

Roger

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I tend to stay away from the new carbide stuff. I think if I was forced to own just one tool it would be a Sorby fingernail gouge. Personally I think beginners should stay away from the carbides and not buy alot of tools until they learn to use the tools and grinder. Ive cheated for years and had a tormek but the Sorby fingernail is the one tool use 99% of the time and usually only turn larger bowls and platters.

Don

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Scott,

I've not forgotten about your questions. Will send you a PM sometime today.

Roger

No rush. I'm content to sit and learn from other people's questions.

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I tend to stay away from the new carbide stuff. I think if I was forced to own just one tool it would be a Sorby fingernail gouge. Personally I think beginners should stay away from the carbides and not buy alot of tools until they learn to use the tools and grinder. Ive cheated for years and had a tormek but the Sorby fingernail is the one tool use 99% of the time and usually only turn larger bowls and platters.

Don

How does a fingernail gouge work versus a regular bowl gouge?

Should I grind my bowl gouge into a fingernail gouge using the wolverine attachment? (The guy at my local Woodcraft said something like that, but I wasn't sure about doing it)

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Roger--

Thank you for the help. I really appreciate it.

Tools:

Jet 1220 VS

A set of Pinnacle gouges: http://www.woodcraft...urning-Set.aspx

Robert Sorby curved scraper http://www.woodcraft...per-Curved.aspx

I'm using a wolverine jig on an 8" variable speed grinder (set to the lowest speed). I have the skew attachment as well as the flat attachment to use with the scraper.

I am using the stock 80grit wheel. I have not upgraded to an aluminum oxide wheel.

I have a supernova chuck

I can only find dried wood right now.

Ok, one thing I know I am doing wrong from what you wrote is that I was using "spindle turning" rules when it exploded. I was going downhill, or from the largest radius to the smallest. I guess the end grain doesn't like that? I'm not sure I fully understand it.

Also, I was thinking about it last night....Is a plate easier to turn than a bowl? In my mind, it seems like the same process, but I have been known to jump in a bit deeper water than I ready for. If I need to take a step back I will.

Just for reference on my skill set. I have turned, with success, pens and bottle stoppers...that sort of thing. I am very confident with that level. I have tried a couple of weed pots, but inevitably, when I think I am about 95% done, I get a catch and have to "redesign" my way out of that. So, let's call that moderate success. I can get the forms but a catch will cause me to have to alter the design. Yesterday was my first go at a bowl from a single block of wood.

Again, thank you for your help.

scott

Ok, let me try and address the above first. Yep you are correct that spindle turning rules do not apply when doing bowls. But rather the opposite, kind of. Remember turning the outside go from foot to rim, and when doing the inside from rim to bottom of bowl. Remember that bundle of straws I talked about earlier in this thread I think it was. Ok, gather them up with your left hand, and hold them near the left end. Now imagine your right index finger is your gouge. Try and use your gouge to cut into the end of the bundle of straws. What happens?? The bundle lifts and seperates and you get no cutting action. Now use your gouge finger, and try and cut from the center of the bundle to the end? You see how every straw is supported by the ones underneath it? That is exactly what the wood fibers do in the same orientation. When cutting from foot to rim, the underlying wood fibers support those on top of them allowing you to cut them cleanly. But if you go from Rim to Bottom, the fibers tend to lift and seperate and then get kind of cut off. They lift and seperate enough to cause tear out.

You ask about plates. A plate is nothing but a flat bowl. Same concept as turning a bowl. The angle of attack is different though as you have a lot of room to maneuver you tooling. You can also sheer scrape, and shear cut to some degree.

Its great to see that you have a sharpening setup using the Wolverine. Go to this website, www.thompsonlathetools.com and look on his sharpening page. Set your Wolverine jig to the angle that he has on that printable page. Run down to the hardware store and get an adjustable protractor. Made by General Tools, they come on a yellow and black card I believe. Sharpen your bowl gouge and spindle gouge to his recommendations. You cant go wrong with what he has there, and is the most common grind in fingernail grinds.

You are well on your way. You just gotta kiss a lot of frogs first!! And make a lot of chips.

How does a fingernail gouge work versus a regular bowl gouge?

Should I grind my bowl gouge into a fingernail gouge using the wolverine attachment? (The guy at my local Woodcraft said something like that, but I wasn't sure about doing it)

Scott,

I have gouges ground both ways. Both fingernail and conventional. They both cut wood yes, but each has its own niche. With a fingernail grind, I can cut, sheer scrape, and sheer cut. With a conventional gouge, i can just cut and sheer cut to some degree. Completely different presentations for each tool. I would suggest that, when you can afford it, you pick up another 1/2" bowl gouge, (look at the thompson gouges while you are getting the template for the Wolverine) and grind it conventionally. About 80% of the time, I use a conventional gouge for doing my finishing cuts. Especially on more difficult woods. It just cuts differently than a fingernail gouge. Hard to explain here.

Lets keep this going, you guys are dragging some good info out of me. I am enjoying the heck out of it.

Roger

Standard disclaimer for Thompson Tools, other than I want a complete set of them.

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i have a question not about tools but about wood what kinds of wood are great for turning and just plane a desaster (guessing pine?)

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In keeping with the “end grain” theme, any thoughts on this tool?

This quote is from a Highland Turner newsletter regarding the tool.

“The Elbo Tool: Eliminate the Drudgery of End Grain Vessel Hollowing!”

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Well, there is a ridiculous amount of tear out in that picture.

Maybe they replace the drudgery of hollowing with the drudgery of sanding?

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i have a question not about tools but about wood what kinds of wood are great for turning and just plane a desaster (guessing pine?)

Dan,

Wilow, cottonwood, pine and not very desirable woods to turn. Not saying that they cant be turned, its just there are better woods out there to make into chips. Esp. if you are just getting practice wood.

Roger

Edited:

Pine makes great practice wood for spindle work. Some 2x2's or 2x4's ripped down, make great stock for practicing spindle work. Esp Skew work. Id be a bit leary of turning green pine tho, the sap and pitch in it will make a mess of things in short order.

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