Woodturns

Natural Edged Brown Oak Burr Project

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1. This bowl is made from Brown Oak; Oak that has been attacked by the Beef Steak fungus. The fungus does not harm the tree but it stains the wood brown.
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2. This is the blank with the bark still intact. Most of the bark had rotted to a white powder and hid a few surprises inside.
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3. In order for the screw chuck to sit securely on the top surface it is important to remove the bark and dead/loose wood. Here I am using the Lancelot chainsaw attachment in an angle grinder.
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4. The surface doesn't have to be perfectly flat but the screw chuck must not wobble otherwise it could work its way loose and come out of the lathe!
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5. The screw chuck is now securely in place. All the screw holes were used because this type of wood will always be out of balance on the lathe and it needs all the support possible.
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6. The bottom face is now cleaned up using a pull cut with a 1/2" long grind bowl gouge. At this stage I am only roughly cutting it to size, I am not too bothered about the finish.
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7. When I turn the inside of the bowl I will be using chuck jaws in an expansion fitting. Here I am using a parting tool to make the first cuts.
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8. Use a "9 in 1" tool to create the dovetail in the bottom. Always make sure that this tool is sharp otherwise it will tear the grain and it is difficult the sand this area.
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9. The outside of the bowl has now been turned to the finished shape but the grain is quite badly torn due to soft patches in the wood and fairly heavy cuts.
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10. A 1/4" standard grind bowl gouge is freshly sharpened and 2 very fine cuts are made. You can see the difference already.
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11. This after the fine cuts have been taken. This photo is the same area as the photo above. As you can see this type of cut virtually eliminates all the torn grain.
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12. Here I have had to use a wire brush to remove the dead bark and sap wood which had turned white. Do this with the lathe stationary and before sanding otherwise the wire brush will scratch your newly sanded finish.
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13. Start sanding using a Velcro backed sanding system. This is the safest way to sand the natural edges. The sanding pad must be kept as close to 90 degrees as possible to the work but without the work catching the pad. Do not use too much pressure, all this advice is for safety and to prevent any edges being rounded over
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14. Sand up to 600 grit without missing any grades. I have not applied any oil or sanding sealer at this stage, the shine is from the newly sanded wood.
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15. Whilst removing the screw chuck one of the screws sheared off. It can be tricky to remove but.....
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16. Start with a 3 or 4mm drill bit and drill holes right next to the screw. Use a drill bit suitable for metal. Try and drill as close to the screw and as deep as the screw. Drill as many holes as possible and then angle the drill as shown above to break through the adjoining holes.
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17. Next use a pair of pliers to remove the broken screw.
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18. The bowl is now mounted in the jaws. Always check to make sure that it does not split the wood on the mounting point because the initial cuts on the uneven top surface will make the point fail with spectacular results and possible injury to you.
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19. Here the first cuts are being made. Use a push cut with a 1/2" bowl gouge but only light cuts at this stage. The wood is quite heavy and very irregular so patience is the answer.
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20. It revealed a large hole (as shown by the red arrow). I decided to make the wall thinner than anticipated and hopefully it should turn out the ugly looking hole.
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21. Try to keep as much material in the centre as possible, this will help stabilise the thin walls. Reduce the thickness in stages from the edge to the centre. Here I am cutting back the centre with a right to left cut in preparation for the next stage of cutting.
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22. Back to reducing the wall thickness using a push cut. The wall thickness is only about 5mm thick so be very careful at this point because it is very easy to go thinner at this point as the bowl turns in near the bottom.
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23. Now ready for sanding. The ridges that are visible are caused by the length of the grind on the chisel. Normally they can be removed by using the 1/4" bowl gouge with a short bevel. I decided to sand them out.
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24. Sand using the Velcro backed abrasive system using the same technique as used for the outside of the bowl.
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25. After sanding up to 600 grit, use a compressed air gun to remove all the dust from the crevices and on the natural edge.
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26. The finished bowl before the Finishing oil has been applied.
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27. The bowl after the Chestnut Finishing Oil has been applied. A coat of Wood Wax 22 is used on top of the dried oil to give a softer sheen.

Disclaimer: The techniques shown here are representative of the way that I work. I have highlighted certain Health and Safety points throughout but responsibility lies solely with the person who is carrying out the woodturning. Always adhere to safe working practices at all times. Remember the more fingers that you lose, the harder it becomes to turn wood!