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Going Bigger

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by John Hammonds, Feb 15, 2021.

  1. John Hammonds

    John Hammonds

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    Am moving up from a 20" swing to a 25" swing and am looking for some tips from those of you that turn the bigger stuff. My usual process for bowl making is to twice turn and that, it seems to me, presents problems in the re-mounting stage the bigger we go. I've managed it for 18" bowls but am looking for advice/tips as I go bigger. So, assuming I'm staying over the ways, doing a twice turn on a deep bowl, and pushing the 25" swing capacity:
    1. For roughing, and assuming tailstock support is maintained, what do you consider an "appropriate" faceplate size? I've been doing fine with a 3" but am looking at a 6" or 8" Oneway. (If there are technical data out there on this question I'd like to see them. Though bigger diameter should be better, from some of the pictures that Leo has posted with those huge blanks and small faceplate, it makes me wonder if the strength of the faceplate and the fasteners aren't the critical considerations. Wonder if there's some way to test this ... safely, and off the lathe ... maybe a modified Charpy V-notch rig? Probably too many variables ... eh?)
    2. What is your method for re-mounting and finish turning?
    3. What's gone wrong for you in the past and how do you avoid it now?
    4. What questions should I be asking but haven't?
    And, while I do realize the increase in risk and think I know how to manage it, I'm always open to input along those lines. My career was in engineering & operation of nuclear power plants. If you talk safety I'm all ears.
    Thanks
     
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  2. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    The amount of horsepower needed goes way up. It's a huge difference between those 2 sizes and you'll still be taking lighter cuts to minimize stalling. You could easily require a hoist above the lathe to load it. 3" faceplate is even undersized for 20" in my opinion. I'd second turn with some 5" jaws on my Stronghold chucks, but I've never second turned one. I have a old chopping bowl my Grandmother had, and it was single turned as the rim has a dramatic difference. I love that old bowl, and that is the example I use. You'll definitely want to have a coring device, and you'll still need shovels and big garbage cans to haul out the curls. Nothing has gone wrong, made a bunch of money with 18" bowls when a patron decided to give a ton of them to family. 18" bowls can be hard to sell since they won't fit on a shelf and a 24" bowl will even cramp people for room when sitting directly across from each other on most dining tables
     
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  3. Hugh

    Hugh

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    Get some sort of lift to move the larger pieces of wood.
    Do not strain your back trying to pick up a huge bowl blank.
     
  4. JeffSmith

    JeffSmith

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    Been turning on. a 25" lathe for just over 8 years now and have maxed it out on several occasions. I always start roughing between centers. Oneway big bite is my center of choice for big blanks, but I also use a smaller two-prong center- either allows rebalancing to shift the grain where its wanted. Face plates force a decision before I know what I've got.
    Generally, I rough between centers, turn a tenon, then remove the big-bite and chuck by the tenon to core. I find vicmark 100mm jaws on a tenon that's 4-1/2" work great. I turn a recess on the face of the core before cutting so it can be reversed to cut a tenon on the core. Done, ready for drying, move on to the next blank...
    When I first got the new lathe I turned many larger pieces, but find that unless someone is looking for an architectural design piece or wall hanging there's not a lot of call for a bowl over 14 or 15 inches...but I do enjoy the process.
     
  5. Rick Crawford

    Rick Crawford

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    Stubby if you can afford it. They occasionally pop up on the used market, but you've gotta move fast. Still available out of Aus, but shipping is pricey.
     
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  6. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Moving on to bigger pieces is a progression you have to embark yourself, slowly. I did not one day say, ok, I'm tired of my 12 in bowls, let's do a 30 in bowl. It is not safe, in my opinion, to do bigger bowls if you have not gone thru a progression of bigger and bigger bowls yourself. I start my big bowls all in between centers. I then move on to a chuck with big jaws. I just bought a bigger VM150 with 8 inch jaws. Most of your questions, you already have the answers, just think bigger, and with that, bigger risk. There is no difference between turning a let's say 12 in bowl or a 25 in, just the size, and they take me longer to complete.
     
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  7. John Hammonds

    John Hammonds

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    Many thanks for the prompt and thoughtful responses. I'm just an intermediate hobby turner (self described and self taught) and while I have max'd out the capacity on my 20" lathe a few times I wanted some expert advice before it dipped my toe into that bigger pond. I guess I'm going through that progression on the lathe and in my mind that Emiliano is talking about.

    As a couple of you point out, lifting is gonna be a challenge ... it already is on what I've done so far. Am thinking along the lines of a hydraulic engine lift or gantry crane and suspend the piece in a nylon lifting sling/net as I've seen others do in photos. Or ... I can get to my lathe with the tractor and am thinking of using the boom arm and sling ... and a buddy. Should I get my wife to drive the tractor or guide the load? Ah, nevermind ... that's a reeeeaaallly bad idea. :eek:

    I am surprised when I hear a preference for turning large pieces between centers. I do grant that that technique allows you to balance the piece and/or choose the grain orientation but it just gives me the heebie geebies. When I was starting out some 10 years ago, I had a bowl blank (out of balance & knarly) fly off my Jet 1220 and smack me in the head. When your family refers to you as "OSHA Man" injuries are all the more embarrassing. My face shield saved me and I learned a lot from it but am now shy about turning anything over about 10" between centers. I know the 3" faceplate I'm using now is small, but with tailstock support it seems safer to me. I will seek expert, hands on instruction before I try it your way. Once bitten, twice shy. I saw one expert turner on Youtube do it and explain how he balances the piece and digs the spur center in ... but then he roughs while in the line of fire ... not me.

    Haven't heard of anybody twice turning yet. Difficult and risky ... but I may do what I do now only bigger, and slower, and maybe with a safety partner. Moving slowly & carefully through that progression.

    Think I'm getting a little cabin fever ... of the pandemic type ... and woke up at 4 a.m. thinking about the "appropriate" faceplate size question. And then it came to me ... don't reinvent the wheel ... literally. If we look at the wheel of a car/truck we see that the diameter of the lug pattern in relation to the tire is somewhere around 20%. We realize it's not a direct correlation but I'm going to use it as a starting point and say that my thumb rule going forward will be to use a faceplate that's at least 30% of the diameter of the piece assuming no tailstock support. Proper fasteners, out of the line of fire, etc. Emiliano's 8" jaws are at 32% for a 25" piece ... and I think a properly installed faceplate is stronger but can't support that with test data.

    Anyway, thanks again. Moving on down that progression.
     
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  8. JeffSmith

    JeffSmith

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    John - I agree with you - you're over-thinking this a bit. Not that it's a bad thing. Staying safe is always at the top of my mind when approaching turning. I try to get the blank as balanced as possible with the chainsaw and, if needed, the bandsaw before it gets to the lathe. I have already decided where my centers need to be for the grain direction I'd like in the finished piece. Even with that, there's always the chance that the centers will need to be moved (more often than not). The Oneway Big Bite center mounted in a stronghold chuck has about a 3" spread - I put it cross grain and knock the prongs in for full contact. A decently sized live center with a cup (either Robust or Oneway) provides a good amount of hold. I always start roughing at low speeds - sometimes near 150 rpm - but whatever the piece indicates it needs to keep vibration minimized - to knock off the high spots and get the piece balanced and round, staying out of the line of fire. Knock on wood, but I haven't had a large piece come off the lathe in the nearly twenty years I've been turning.

    Never felt the need for jaws over 4" - by the time I'm ready to chuck the piece, it's pretty well nice and round and balanced - there's little stress on the tenon except from the cutting tool. Good tool presentation and a well made tenon and step takes care of most of that concern. Even coring with the MacNaughton is done on this chuck/jaw combination.

    I find that turning larger pieces just requires a little more time and attention to the details at every stage but is not that much different from turning a 12 - 16' bowl...

    When twice turning, the dried rough blank will have shrunk to oval the tenon. If I was good at balancing the grain, it will has shrunk somewhat symetricaly. I stick the oval tenon in the same chuck and turn a shallow rebate inside. Turn the piece mounting in the rebate to true the tenon and shape the outside from tenon to rim. Reverse again to finish hollow the inside.
     
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  9. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    There is a guy in N Washington State, Vernon LeBrand, or some thing like that, and he turns some really huge pieces, like 30 inch diameter. He turns green to final thickness and lets them warp. If I was going to twice turn pieces that big, I would boil or at least give them a long steam bath, which is almost the same thing. Turning to that size almost requires either of these methods, if you can find the trees big enough for pieces like that. If I was going to dedicate myself to pieces that size, I would go with a VB36. It is made for bowls that size. For turning between centers on pieces over about 18 inch diameter, I would go with at least a 6 inch face plate. Note here, that plate needs to sit flat on the wood. If it rocks at all when you rest it on the wood, it will do that when turning, no matter how many screws you put into it. For pieces up to 18 inch or so, I just drill a recess to match my chuck jaws, a Vic 120, I think, 2 5/8 inch forstner bit. This is plenty of attachment/grip for 'driving' the wood blank. I would use tail stock support. Any piece this size pretty much needs tailstock support, at least for roughing. Turn in low speed range or your overload switch will keep tripping....

    I looked Vernon Liebrant up, and found a few images, but his web site is not active. He is probably older than me....

    robo hippy
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2021
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  10. JeffSmith

    JeffSmith

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    Vernon lives/works up my way - though I haven't been to his studio, I believe he's still active - turning large bowls on a self-built lathe and selling mainly through a few galleries and online. His website does seem to be inactive. He's evolved his manner of work over 6 decades. Here's a youtube video of a demo he did last year...
    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfNu8Ky3isQ
     
  11. Kevin Weir

    Kevin Weir

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    Hi John. Most of the larger bowls I make have come from a blank that was cut on a sawmill. So they typically have 2 flat and parallel faces. I use the Oneway 6 inch faceplate with 1.5 inch number 10 wood screws using all 18 holes in the face plate. My blanks are all bandsawn round and are usually close to balanced before I turn on the lathe. The faceplate is mounted on the side that will be the top of the bowl, so the screw holes will turn out. I’ve been tempted to get larger jaws for my Stronghold chuck, but the 4 inch number 3 jaws have performed well on blanks up to 23 inches. Having said that, larger jaws will never hurt.

    After roughing the bowl outside, it is mounted in the chuck and either cored or roughed out. I usually turn a 5 inch recess inside the bowl so after it has dried it can be reverse mounted to finish turn the outside of the bowl first. Then I true up the tenon on the bottom and finish turn the inside of the bowl. Finally, I remove the tenon by jam-chucking the bowl between centres using a sacrificial piece of maple or pine mounted in the chuck.

    That’s my approach to turning large bowls and platters. There more than one way to turn large bowls, but be sure to always use a safe approach.

    As Richard mentioned above, bowls this large can be difficult to sell for all the reasons he cited.
     
  12. John Hammonds

    John Hammonds

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    Now that's the kind of stuff I was fishing for. Good stuff. Had not thought of it or ever heard of it before. Thanks guys.

    Kevin, yeah, I have it on my mind to call a sawyer I know, have him cut the slabs, then air dry and turn some platters. Would save me a lot of work and allow me to true the blank up on the bandsaw.
    And I always appreciate the safety reminders ... can never have enough of those ... keep it slow & controlled, use tailstock support ... good stuff.

    I used to make my "flat spot" for the faceplate freehand ... with chainsaw, chisel, drill & forstner ... then I saw a video you did that showed how you mill a nice true and flat surface using a drill press and forstner bit. Went and bought a big, old drill press and that's how I do it now. I can be taught. Regarding the lathe, I decided I'd stay over the ways but am in love with the sliding headstock so am getting a Robust AB, 3hp. Good Lord willin' and the pandemic don't rise it should make it here for my 67th in late April. Thanks for taking the time to respond. Oh, and I've got one of your robo-rests too ... works great.
     
  13. John Hammonds

    John Hammonds

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    Jeff & Robo Hippy, I could have saved this whole thread and just watched that video if I had known about it. Will watch it over and over again. I just love the beautiful simplicity of his work and his techniques. I like to tell people that I try to be quiet and let the wood speak ... Mr. Leibrant is a master at it. Wonderful, just wonderful. Am not sure I knew what I was shooting for. Now I know. Many thanks.
     
  14. Dennis Weiner

    Dennis Weiner

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    After reviewing the video, my gut tells me there are safer ways to turn a large piece. Recently there was a discussion here regarding "the line of fire". In that thread, I was wondering exactly where the line of fire was. After watching Liebrant shape the outside of his bowl, I know exactly where turning in the line of fire is. He may have turned thousands of bowls this way without a problem..... I just don't want to stand where he does when turning large pieces. As a production method, I liked his 2 step efficient method and his donut chuck. However, there are safer ways to do his step 1 if you use tailstock support. BTW Congrads on your lathe selection (that comes with a tailstock:) ). Robust is a mighty fine lathe and I hope you enjoy it.

    I have owned a oneway since 2000 and have turned quite a few big pieces. It came with a 6" and I added 3" and 10" faceplates. I rarely used the 10". Two years ago I added the 4inch and I like this size a lot. I would say the 6" was used the most. I also own the Vicmarc 7" and 9" inch large dovetail jaws. I use the faceplates for mounting logs for hollow forms and chuck up my bowls. I do own HFT cheap 800 lb overhead winch. I use it in conjunction with scrap paired riser blocks of various heights to bring heavy logs to center height. I initially turn them between centers to prepare the ends for a faceplate or chuck. I use the safe drive to accomplish this. At times, it will slip and require tightening but the log will not come off. It also gives you the flexibility to flip the log if desired because the footprint is identical on the drive center and revolving center.

    Sorry to hear of your mishap between centers. Why did your piece come off the Jet lathe?
     
  15. John Hammonds

    John Hammonds

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    Am with you 100%. I should have said I love his work but don't intend to copy his techniques. Was a bit too effusive in my praise ... becoming a habit as I age. But I really do love his simple bowls. Made the mistake of showing the video to my wife and was telling her how he made the lathe and tools. She said: "So you don't really need all that fancy stuff you've been buying?" Ah, well, you see, I can't really make that stuff ... and ... But she knows I just like the toys ... I mean tools ... and thinks it's great.

    Am getting consistent input from you guys on faceplate size and will go with the 6" Oneway ... adequate with tailstock support and versatile. 8" is a little big for my 16"-18" natural edge stuff and too small (maybe) for the huge stuff. Will get a bigger one if a special huge piece of wood comes along maybe. And I always use tailstock support until I get the chuck on, but will use it even working the bowl inside as much as I can on this big stuff. My 3" steel will go out the door with the Powermatic. I understand the AB comes with a 3.5" aluminum ... can't say I'm excited about aluminum ... but can use on small stuff.

    [Warning: the following accident/incident report is not for the faint of heart ... but is for woodturners.]
    Why did my piece come off the lathe? Because I did not pay attention to or take action to mitigate the following accident precursors:
    1. Lack of knowledge. I had turned a couple of bowls before ... one in 8th grade shop class, eons ago ... and one at a group session at Highland Woodworking. But I was working beyond my knowledge base in turning a natural edge bowl out of a blank I cut from a huge ornamental pear on a friends property. The piece was very hard wood and severely out of balance (chainsaw cut ... didn't have a bandsaw) but some of that was by design because I wanted an a-symmetrical piece. Thought I was being artistic. Frankly, I was unaware of the level of risk I was taking and how to manage it or avoid it. There are four things one can do with risk: Treat, Transfer, Tolerate, or Terminate. Lacking knowledge of the risk I did none of those.
    2. Overconfidence. I had just turned a similar piece successfully and got a little cocky.
    3. Self-imposed schedule pressure. It was time for dinner and I was hungry ... usually am. But, said I, "I'll just knock one more out just like the last one". Now, this little lathe didn't have variable speed. I turned on the lathe and realized I had left it on the high speed belt setting. But, hey, I need to get 'er done and can handle this (see item 2 above). I realized afterward that I had also failed to fully lock down the toolrest. Getting "antcy" reading this? I am. So, anyway, I touched the bowl gouge to the piece without good tool control (see item 1 above).
    The result was that when that tool touched the piece, it dug in and moved the toolrest. The protruding edge of the blank (about 10-15lbs) struck the toolrest violently. The spinning blank, gaining traction on the toolrest, freed itself from between centers (the spur center was not in a recess ... see Item 1 above) and went airborne. By my calculations the piece had a tangential angular velocity of about 30mph (10" diameter at about 1000 rpm). I was standing in the line of fire (see Item 1 above). It was like getting hit in the head by a bowling ball thrown out of a truck window.

    The next thing I remember is seeing stars ... literally. I did manage to stay upright. When my senses came back I realized my faceshield was on the floor and that blank was spinning against the wall ... still spinning. Now, I've been a competitive martial artist. I've "caught" 80lb German Shepherds charging me at 30+ mph. I had never been hit that hard. I took stock of the situation. Thought everything was cool ... and then saw the blood running down my shirt. I'm a crisis management guy ... didn't panic. Went and looked in the mirror and found I had driven a tooth right through my lower lip. The faceshield (basic variety with a 4mm shield) saved my facial bones and teeth. Got a few stitches and later finished that bowl. Couldn't let it beat me.

    That was 12 years ago. I bought a Powermatic 3520 after that ... liked the cage and the sliding headstock .. and have turned a good deal since then, some bowls up to 18" with natural edge. I researched proper lathe procedure and turning techniques and have had no further incidents. I continue to learn how to do this stuff safer and to improve technique ... thus this thread.

    In accident prevention "common sense" and "paying attention" are never enough. If they were, we would never have had the sinking of the Titanic or the meltdown at TMI-2. Among other things, we need proper training and a safety mindset. We also need to learn from our own mistakes and those of others. I think the woodturning community could do a much better job of the latter.

    At this point I feel like Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day" ... "I'm sorry, did you want to talk about the weather? Or were you just making conversation?" :) Be safe and thanks for the input.
     
  16. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I did have a chance to chat with Vernon a couple of times at the Best of the NW show in Seattle. Liked him, and our styles were similar, except that his were a lot bigger. I like in the above video how he is using a scraper for the heavy roughing, just like me, or me just like him since he has been turning longer... My impression of him was that he is a really nice guy.

    As for standing out of the line of fire, here is the video I did some time ago. I have a new shop, and the hole in the wall is no longer here, and I think I may have lost that piece of wood, but still a sound idea.


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4qIM_-Jzgk


    robo hippy
     
  17. Dennis Weiner

    Dennis Weiner

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    I’m glad you recovered. I’m also happy that you utilize your engineering abilities in determining the forces in play. Common sense and your knowledge will keep you safe.
     
  18. John Tisdale

    John Tisdale

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    Lot of good advice above - I would add the following:
    - Stay between centers as much as possible
    - I have found a 1.5" spur drive works - on a log over 200-lbs, I have gotten accustomed to starting at lowest setting and slowly turning up
    - Drill a shallow 1.5" with a forstner - I think 1/4" into viable wood is good - allows you to reposition
    - Get accustomed to turning slow - I rarely get over 200-rpm prior to balancing and rarely get over 300-rpm when balanced.
    - When turning a tenon, resign to aero-space tolerances - needs to be dead-nuts flat
    - I use 6" Oneway faceplates up to, and exceeding, 400-lbs
    - I always pre-drill for #14 with a 11/64 with depth stop. Position is determined with a hinge-drill
    - I uses 1.25" on the six inside holes and 1" on the twelve outside - SS oval head - most of my hollow-forms, when profiled, are under 300-lbs - never had a problem
    - The 1" screws allow me to remove the screws and "dive under" the faceplate for a 4" or less base - of course I have a cone on the live-center.
    - On "talls", I always use a steady-rest / chuck combination. Take a look at Keith Clark OK Spin Doctor - you'll be hugging yourself for buying his steady-rest.
    - I can't imagine using a chuck to cantilever a piece - I know the bowl-guys do it out to some serious diameters
    Then again, I think the bowl guys are more talented and smarter than us hollow-formers - me saying "I can't imagine" testifies to that.
    Good luck, don't get in a hurry, and be safe. If you decide to cross to the "Dark-Side" (hollow-forms), I can share lots of stupid mistakes on that learning-curve.
    John
     

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  19. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    2 thoughts not yet mentioned:
    1. Fill ALL the faceplate holes with screws. Real screws, such as John Tisdale describes, at least that long.
    2. Learn to rough turn the outside left handed. It keeps the flying shavings from coming right at your face, but more importantly, it automatically positions you out of the line of fire.
     
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  20. John Hammonds

    John Hammonds

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    Now that is some seriously BIG, seriously beautiful work, John. My "take away" from your response is that I'm going to have to be even more accurate and diligent with any holding device as I go larger. In the stuff I've been turning I gave up pre-drilling and just coat the threads with wax and go for it. Gotta follow proper procedure and be painstakingly accurate with faceplates, chucks, etc., as I move up. Had to look up what a hinge-drill bit ... that actually addresses a concern I had with countersunk faceplate holes ... got it now.

    Another vote for the 6" Oneway ... with proper installation and tailstock support whenever possible. 400 lbs and big diameter ... that's impressive!

    This may be the single, most important piece of advice anybody has given me. I was thinking along those lines but, frankly, not thinking that slow. Seems to me the turning world has gotten infatuated with speed. It's unnecessary and dangerous. I am hearing more and more experts like yourself tell us to turn at slower speeds. And, of course, the bigger the diameter, the more we need to adhere to that advice. I hope we all start listening ... me first.

    Many thanks.
     
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  21. Al Chavez

    Al Chavez

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    Following this thread intensely... even if i never reach this level of turning.
     
  22. John Hammonds

    John Hammonds

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    Thanks, Dean. All input appreciated.
    1. Am currently using #12 hex washer machine screws 1 1/2" long but my faceplate holes are not countersunk. Looks like the Oneway takes up to a #10 and is countersunk ... although John T. says he uses #14. I'll use the largest I can get in the hole. To retain the hex head ... which is stout for repeated use ... and to get the countersink, am looking to use a structural screw like a TimberLOK. Specs on those for both shear and tension are impressive ... up around 1000 lbf. Got a better one? Let me know.
    2. Right on. Have been doing it that way for a couple of years now ever since I saw Dave Sweitzer's video for his bowl gouges.
     
  23. John Tisdale

    John Tisdale

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    Dean's comments about "use all holes" is spot-on - it's "belt and suspenders" on big stuff.
    Not sure I understand the "Left-Hand" part - I go both ways (in woodturning). If the spur-drive is in a properly sized hole and the live-center in a hole, I have no problem working "in the line of fire". Some logs, especially the figured logs and burls, have erratic grain patterns - I cut in the direction that makes sense. And I cannot tell a lie: I often use the other side of the gouge to minimize sharpening.
    And while you can learn a bunch, and I do, from the super-talents that travel around and do lots of club demos, you should remember they have about an hour to go from log to masterpiece. Nit-wits like me attempt to emulate and get hurt. Last time I had my Oneway on medium or fast pulley setting was when I was turning osage orange handles - about ten years ago - I keep it on low-range which is crawling to 900-rpm.

    And a side-comment on Oneway: The log for Planet Mesquite was 36" dia, 1000+ lbs, and grossly un-balanced - I had a hard time turning it by hand. I called Kevin at Oneway and asked if I should spin-up by hand, with the help of a friend of course, before hitting the green button. Kevin told me absolutely not - it would confuse the controller. I didn't believe him but followed the advice anyway - it worked and I cranked up to maybe 75-rpm to start the - lengthy - outside turning. If you haven't made a decision, you might consider the Oneway 3-hp. They are made in Canada and cost a bit more.
    ps. I started on the 1.5" spur drive and then went to the 8" faceplate. Could have used the 6" as this log was never cantilevered - the other end was supported by a Keith Clark steady rest.
     

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  24. John Tisdale

    John Tisdale

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    Dallas, TX
    Al,
    What???? If I never reach...??? You are less than an hour drive from the coolest wood on the planet, mistletoe burl mesquite.
    You're clearly a smart guy (only smart guys are on this forum), have two arms and probably most fingers. The only issue is a learning curve.
     
  25. Al Chavez

    Al Chavez

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2021
    Messages:
    43
    Location (City & State):
    San Antonio, TX
    Thanks John,
    I meant level of turning larger pieces. I do have access to mesquite and now will look specifically for mistletoe burls (I've seen them many times). As my experience grows I will upgrade to a larger lathe but it looks like > 20" platters and bowls may be my limit. I will most likely purchase a PM2014 with the extension rails that get the 14" swing closer to 20" and SAFETY is my biggest concern along with giving myself enough time/experience for "Going bigger".
    Thank you again for the encouragement John. I'm working on the learning curve!
    I really do enjoy this community.
    Al
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2021
  26. Dennis Weiner

    Dennis Weiner

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Messages:
    244
    Location (City & State):
    New City, NY
    Just a little note on the oneway 6" faceplate. The screw holes are countersunk. Hex head screws will work with washers but the driver socket cap will butt up against the support ribs of the faceplate. It may make tightening difficult on some holes that are near the ribs. My solution is to use spacers so that the head tightens above the ribs. Over the years, I have used #14s or sheet metal screws with either Philips head or square drive of various lengths. Occasionally I strip them out power-driving them so I switched to 1/4" hex head lag bolts using spacers. When turning larger vases in the 18" range, I have used blanks up to 10" od by around 22+ inches long. I secured them to the 6" faceplate with (16) 3" long 1/4 lag bolts. It may seem excessively secure, but most times I get away without using my steady rest. Anything longer will require the steady rest to hollow. As does @John Tisdale, I also predrill and I countersink the holes under the faceplate.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2021
  27. John Hicks

    John Hicks

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2020
    Messages:
    290
    Location (City & State):
    Hoodsport, Washington
    Axminster makes and sells a large spur drive that really bites; although I'll have to admit that I've never gotten a "free" piece of wood big enough to max out my lathe. I have on a few occasions had a spur drive chew a hole and drop out on green wood. I feel much safer with a face-plate and tail-stock support myself.
     
  28. John Torchick

    John Torchick

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Messages:
    2,927
    Location (City & State):
    Cleveland, Tennessee
    "The log for Planet Mesquite was 36" dia, 1000+ lbs"
    That's a lot of wood!
     
    Emiliano Achaval and Al Chavez like this.
  29. Al Chavez

    Al Chavez

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2021
    Messages:
    43
    Location (City & State):
    San Antonio, TX
    Amazing piece John,
    What model/make of lathe can handle a 1/2 ton of wood like that?
     
  30. John Tisdale

    John Tisdale

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    Messages:
    261
    Location (City & State):
    Dallas, TX
    Dennis,
    At one time I used hex-lag - but with the Oneway faceplate, I've found that SS #14 sheet metal Phillips-Oval head due the trick. They're cheap and efficient to use. Not to beat this to death, but here's the process:
    - prepare the 6" tenon absolutely flat - it slightly oversized, have a fine pencil mark at 6"
    - position the faceplate and drill one hole with the hinge drill
    - then drill a 11/64 in that one hole and attach the faceplate with the one screw.
    - then drill the rest of the positions with the hinge drill
    - remove faceplate and drill all holes with the 11/64 with depth stop. If you use tape instead of a stop, be good at it.
    - And for what it's worth, I generally grind the tips off the 1" screws in the outer positions - the depth stop is adjusted accordingly. While generally not an issue, I've gotten into situations when "diving under" to not have the room I would like. Nothing worse than twelve little filler marks
    - I can sit my drill/driver on about 6-ft/lbs and drive them home in most woods - I have large Phillips bit (#3 or #4) for the drill. I also have a large hand screw driver (a girly-man #2 won't cut it)
    Sorry for the excess detail but I well remember my confusion - I'll always be thankful for those old pros at the club that kept a box of crayolas handy to answer my questions
     
  31. John Tisdale

    John Tisdale

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    Messages:
    261
    Location (City & State):
    Dallas, TX
    Al,
    I have a big Oneway. My first lathe was a VL200 Vicmarc. While it worked well for a few years, I didn't like the long bed and asked Oneway to do a 2424.
    I didn't have the "outboard side" until the log for Planet Mesquite was plopped down in my driveway. Designing/fabricating the outboard took several months, and that's just to get past the bad ideas.
    I have attached the last pic before Planet Mesquite was mounted.
    When you're in Dallas, and it's warm, come on by.
    John
     

    Attached Files:

    Al Chavez likes this.
  32. Kevin Weir

    Kevin Weir

    Joined:
    May 13, 2020
    Messages:
    74
    Location (City & State):
    Ontario, CA
    One more thing John. If you are turning wet wood, watch for unbalanced pieces even on blanks that are perfectly round. Sometimes one side of a blank can have a much higher moisture content than the opposite side, making the piece unbalanced. You won’t know it until you turn the lathe on. So it’s a good idea to start the lathe at a very slow speed and slowly increase it, assuming you have a variable speed motor. Sometimes you can see this unbalanced effect if the piece spins in place with the lathe off and then settles with the heavy side down.
     
  33. John Hammonds

    John Hammonds

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2018
    Messages:
    48
    Location (City & State):
    Bogart, GA
    Not beating it to death as far as I'm concerned. I'm taking notes, lots of 'em on this. And, heh, I like procedures.
    Thanks.
     
  34. John Hammonds

    John Hammonds

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Location (City & State):
    Bogart, GA
    Right you are. And again more advice to go slow. I keep hearing that message from you who have been down this road and will comply. Am going to try that recess technique on the inside of a big piece (19" Bradford Pear ... big for me) I have on the drying rack but am going to wait until I get the Robust and get used to it. Had been thinking about just making a bigger "bumper" and press the roughed bowl up against it with the tailstock and use friction like I do with smaller pieces. But, no ... can't trust that. The recess with a waste block jam or chuck jaws along with tailstock support ... and going slow ... should work as I final turn the outside. And I usually leave enough "meat" in the roughed pieces to allow me to clean up the recess. Ya'll got me thinkin'! Thanks again.
     
  35. Al Chavez

    Al Chavez

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2021
    Messages:
    43
    Location (City & State):
    San Antonio, TX
    Thank you for the generous invite John. I would love to see your artwork and tools. Its been a few years since I have visited Dallas but now I'm looking forward to the warmer weather.
    Thank you again John!
    Al inTx
     
  36. robo hippy

    robo hippy

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,165
    Location (City & State):
    Eugene, OR
    I really wish we had Star Trek transporters.... There are so many turners I would love to have play dates with....

    robo hippy
     
  37. John Hammonds

    John Hammonds

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2018
    Messages:
    48
    Location (City & State):
    Bogart, GA
    Now maybe I'm beating this to death but I just gotta ask a couple more questions. If you're not revealing trade secrets:
    1. In order to get blanks that big do you use a whole tree section, including the pith? If so, how in the world do you prevent cracking?
    2. Do you start with green wood and turn once? Or what?
     
  38. robo hippy

    robo hippy

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,165
    Location (City & State):
    Eugene, OR
    People seldom use lot sections that include the pith. Main reason is that they will crack off of the pith. For art forms, and especially burls, they have a different grain orientation, more similar to a lava flow out from a center point so stresses are more even. If you live in an area where there are big trees, you can get big pieces. Sources can be fire wood people, construction businesses especially road builders, and arborists. Then you have to have a saw that can handle them, and machines to mount them and move them around. As for cracking, that is another art. Some woods are easy to dry with little or no cracking, some are impossible, no matter what you do. I found out that American Yellow Wood is one of those. I didn't try to boil it though. If it dries too fast, it will crack. If it dries too slow, it will rot. Every species is different, and different parts of the same tree can be very different...

    robo hippy
     
  39. John Hammonds

    John Hammonds

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2018
    Messages:
    48
    Location (City & State):
    Bogart, GA
    Am with you. That's why I asked. I can't leave the pith, or anything close to the pith, in anything I turn without it cracking big time. Maybe it's just the perspective of the photo, but if those vessels were turned end grain and only half of the tree (or less) was used, then that tree would have to have been some 6 feet in diameter. Or am I missing something? I did a lot of my growing up in Texas and I don't remember seeing many trees that size ... would occasionally come across a 300 year old live oak that big. If they're all made from burls then maybe that explains it. And there have been artists who turned beautiful vessels out of whole tree sections, but they had to process the roughed pieces in PEG and then finish with something proprietary ... Am guessing John T. isn't doing that.

    I do and can. Have my eye on an 8 foot long 30" diameter section of Sweet Gum with lots of heartwood color at the local arborist's laydown yard ... free for the taking. As soon as my buddy gets better I plan to load up the tractor with the forks on the front and bring home about half of it. I always like to have somebody with me when I run the chainsaw and move heavy loads, just in case ... can't work like I used to. I sometimes have people call me about trees down in their yard to see if I want them. Got a good size American Elm, and the biggest Bradford Pear I've ever seen, that way last year. What I'm trying to do now is find a sawyer who's willing to cut thick slabs for me so I don't have to section these big trees up with a chainsaw. I've got a 4 foot Yankee-made cant hook and can roll big logs with that or the tractor but even that's getting to be hard on the old bod. Kinda wishing I had bought that Wood Mizer portable saw mill with hydraulic lift that I ran for that guy years ago, and that he tried to sell me ... but I didn't.

    Yes it is. And I've found that in this climate and with the species I've worked with, the only method that works for me is to rough out, coat liberally throughout with AnchorSeal, put upside down on drying rack in garage/shop and ... wait. Have had very few pieces crack that way. With every other method I try, they crack like crazy.
     
  40. John Tisdale

    John Tisdale

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    Messages:
    261
    Location (City & State):
    Dallas, TX
    Remember: I'm a hollow-form guy - been 15-years since I tried a bowl - my set-up, tooling, and techniques revolve around large hollow-forms. That said:

    Your reference to PEG reminded me of an experience somewhere in the top-5 dumbest mistakes. Never tried PEG but I did try Pentacryl - bought 60-gallons of the stuff. Filled a 55-gallon and submerged "roughs" for three or four days and then let dry. A year later I final-turned and the smell was noxious - not sure if the stuff ever leaves the wood - I think it finished okay due to the finish I use being higher on the noxious scale. Doubt that a piece soaked in PEG or Pentacryl would be good for growing tomatoes. With more than a little difficulty, I finally was able to discard at the city hazmat site.

    I only turn green - fresh cut and dripping is the best. After shaping, I put on a faceplate to hollow - the piece is wrapped with pallet-wrap for the duration of the hollowing. My definition of a first-turn "rough" is maybe 1" thick, depending on diameter and species. On all wood but mesquite, It is then water boiled, no additives, for about two hours - water is totally cooled before removing, usually the next day. I then goes into a "very sealed" cardboard box with a computer fan glued to a piece of pvc pulling the air out of the interior - the soft air circulation inside the box. There is stays for 5 or 6 months until reaching under 20% MC. Then I pull it out of the box and dry more aggressively. The room for all this has a dehumidifier that runs 24/7.

    When MC is around 6%, I resurface the tenon, attach a faceplate in new holes, and do final turning. First step is ALWAYS to re-true the opening, usually around 3"-dia on my stuff, which allows a cone on the live center. If calculations on thickness was correct, I can re-round while keeping the profile. In late 2019 I took my first commission to do a piece from a red oak the people had planted to commemorate their son's Bar Mitzvah. When I put in on for final-turn, the dimension pith-to-pith (grain axis) was 22" - across grain radial was around 20.5". Re-rounding while maintaining profile was a bit of a task - re-truing the interior and reducing to under .5" thickness was brutal.

    Forgot to mention epoxy fixes - like all turners, you want to avoid cracks. With large hollow-forms you fix cracks and call it art.
     
    Al Chavez likes this.

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