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Bowl hollowing direction question

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Bill Szydlo, Oct 9, 2020.

  1. Bill Szydlo

    Bill Szydlo

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    I am wondering if someone can shed some light on a technique for bowl hollowing. 95% of all hollowing demos I have seen are of a procedure whereby a depth hole is drilled (sometimes there is no hole) and the hollowing proceeds beginning about an inch or so from center with the gouge moving toward center. All the gouge motions are directed toward the center of the bowl. The back of the handle of the gouge is pulled toward the body.
    Then I come across an outlier where instead of hollowing the usual way the turner begins at the outer diameter and removes material in steps moving the gouge toward the outer diameter rather than toward center. The back of the gouge handles is moved away from the body. Finish cuts are done toward center.
    This seems like a better way to hollow but since I don't see many people doing it I keep thinking there must be a reason why more hollow toward center. Is there a safety consideration I'm missing or does it simply come down to preference?
     
  2. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    I hollow large bowls like platters from the outside in and finish as I go. That way get no vibration or flex as lots of wood in Center til end. I can’t remember where I learned it from but was from a well known turner.
     
  3. John Walls

    John Walls

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    Removed my confusing explanation.... LOL Hockenbery's video below shows how I do it, he's a good teacher as well as many others on here.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
    hockenbery likes this.
  4. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    a depth hole is a reliable guide for reducing the chances of making a funnel.
    ( end grain bowls often have a depth hole but it is used to hollow)
    It’s a great aid for those staring out. I drilled some holes when I started.
    Once I got comfortable using calipers I didn’t need a depth hole.


    generally a face grain bowl is cut from rim to bottom center.
    by cutting a little bowl in the center an making it bigger you get all that practice.
    End grain bowls are often turned from the center hole toward the side wall.

    4.5 minute video clip hollowing a live oak face grain bowl.
    The hole in the center is about and inch deep and was used for a screw chuck
    It is a hemispherical shape and small so is don’t néed calipers.

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flw8LwQqGQU
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
    Tom De Winter likes this.
  5. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I usually do it the way that what you call an "outlier" does it. However, there's more than one way to skin a cat turn a bowl. I haven't ever drilled a depth hole, but I have also turned a few funnels. Now, I use calipers a lot.
     
  6. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    there is a very good reason.
    The most efficient cuts in woodturning are cross cuts.
    On a face grain bowl cutting from rim to bottom center cross cuts the fibers with supporting fibers under the ones being cut.

    cutting from center to rim on a face grain bowl is a hard turn because you are cutting straight into the endgrain.
    Leave a much rougher surface and is harder to do.

    however whatever works best for you is fine.
    Also there are folks who lack the range of motion to hollow one way or the other.
    Particularly young children and elderly students.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
  7. Russell Nugent

    Russell Nugent

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    I learned that from rick blundell on YouTube. Haven't seen too many other people do it that way but I ind it works the best for me as well.
     
  8. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    On side grain bowls I start at the center and take my bowl.gouge with the flute about 1 o'clock and I push straight in about an inch. Move left a little and do the same thing. I keep.doing this going deeper until.the bowl is about an inch thick. Then I start thinking the bowl.frrm the lip down about an inch at a time using the normal push cut. I started doing the push straight in cut because its quicker and easier. You are cutting across the grain which is very fast. With the hollowing technique where every cut is from the outside going to the middle you are pushing into end grain.
     
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  9. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    When turning the outside of the bowl, I always work from the bottom of the bowl to the rim. When turning the inside of a bowl, I never drill a depth hole. If it is a bigger bowl, I am coring, and if it is a smaller bowl, less than 3 inch deep and 10 or so diameter, I don't bother with the hole either, just not worth the time since I was a production turner. When turning out the inside of a bowl, I don't worry about the center much other than keeping it even. If I hollow out the 'perfect' bowl shape, that leaves the rims thin the whole way down, which can cause vibration issues. I prefer to take it down in steps as well. There is generally a mound in the center until I am ready to finish turn the transition and go across the bottom. I have a bunch of bowl turning videos up on You Tube as well, and mostly on bowl turning. I do all of my heavy roughing with scrapers.

    robo hippy
     
  10. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    I also never drill a center hole. Just never learned to do it that way and I'm often dealing with imperfect blanks and may change my mind about how deep once I get inside. I may decide to take more off the bottom to deal with or take advantage of what I find as I work my way down the inside. If you drill a hole you're committed. I work both directions as I'm hogging out then switch to rim to bottom to finish off with a smaller and smaller cone in the middle.
     
  11. Leo Van Der Loo

    Leo Van Der Loo

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    Here are 2 pictures from Richard Raffan's book, how he normally turns, it is like I turn as well, and yes I often do drill a center hole to get that part out of the way as it is somewhat harder to turn, not for the depth, as this would be the rough turning part where I keep enough wood in the wall and bottom, and yup I have made a funnel or two in the last 50 years of my woodturning hobby, of course there are times that I will turn to finish and then I do keep a close eye on where I am on wall and bottom thickness :)

    hollowing.jpg Cutting directions.jpg
     
  12. Clifton C

    Clifton C

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    In this first description,
    I believe the wood is being sliced or cut as the gouge moves through the wood, usually leaving a cleanly cut surface.
    In the second description,
    I believe you meant, in the first sentence, "The turner begins at the inner diameter...", in this scenario, I believe that the bottom wing of the gouge is removing wood, acting more like a scraper. Even though a freshly sharpened gouge can be used this way and can "make shavings" the edge is not very robust is a scraper and quickly looses its edge resulting in torn grain, especially the two troublesome areas that are 180° out. I've seen the technique used, not sure there is a right or wrong thing here and I don't believe it's dangerous, I just don't believe it's as effective or efficient as other methods.
     
  13. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    It might have been Jimmy clewes that showed me. And it was fast turning.
     
  14. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Well, gouges do not make good scrapers, and as far as I am concerned, scrapers are far more efficient than gouges for heavy duty stock removal/roughing. True, it doesn't leave a clean surface, but that is what finish cuts are for...

    With Leo's post up above, and the method Richard Raffen uses, for me, I start near the rim first, cuts 16 through about 22, then move to the center, then back out. More than anything, it depends on size of the bowl. For a 10 to 12 inch bowl, I still start roughing near the rim, and move towards center, but pretty much use the scraper to get to 'one pass with a gouge' thickness for end product. It never works for one pass though, I usually take several passes.... With 12 inch or so bowls, I have cored them, so most cutting on a cored bowl is done with gouges, but some times the bottom and transition need to be reduced with scrapers.

    Hmm, I like that diagram of Raffen's. I may have to incorporate that when I make another bowl turning video...

    robo hippy
     

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