Large Australian Coolabah Burr Project

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1.This is a large piece of Coolabah Burr from Australia. The finished items are always very striking and well worth the effort.
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2. The piece of timber weighed 19.2Kgs and was 20" across at it widest point. I used a 6" face plate to mount the piece on the lathe.
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3. The reverse side with the bark still intact. If the bark is loose I remove as much of the bark as possible otherwise it tends to fly off! In this case the bark was very tight so it was on with the face shield!
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4. With speed of the lathe at about 350 rpm the back is starting to be turned. WARNING! Keep all loose clothing out of the way of the natural edge; it could quite easily snatch any loose clothing, hair etc!
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5. The back has now been completed using the 1/2" bowl gouge. You can just make out the marking of the foot in pencil. The foot is cut using a parting tool and 1/4" spindle gouge.
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6. The problem with the bowl gouge on very hard timbers like this is that it tends to tear the grain. The solution is to use a big scraper to take fine cuts and smooth the outside and so reduce sanding.
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7. Power sand the overhanging natural edge with a 2" Velcro pad with the bowl stationary. You do not want the moving bowl to grab the sanding pad and draw it into the moving bowl.
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8. After power sanding, hand sand the natural edge. The rest of the back of the bowl can be sanded with the bowl moving.
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9. The finished back of the bowl. This photo was taken after sanding and 2 coats of sanding sealer applied.
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10. The bowl is now mounted in the O'Donnell jaws ready for turning the inside of the bowl
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11. Close up of the way that the jaws are gripping the inside of the foot. A good fit is essential especially on a bowl this size.
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12. Turning the inside at around 400 rpm using the 1/2" bowl gouge. Watch your fingers!
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13. The inside is now finished. To achieve a better finish than the bowl gouge, use a scraper to remove the torn grain as before. Sand again to 600 grit.
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14. Use a compressed air gun on the natural edge to clear the dust from all the nooks and crannies.
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15. After the dust has been cleared use a brush to apply sanding sealer to the edge. Make sure that you keep wiping the excess sanding sealer away from the edge.
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16. The finished inside after applying the sanding sealer. Now the whole bowl is polished, buffed and then waxed with pure carnauba wax. This wax is very hard.
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17. The finished bowl.

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!