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Ideas for Practicing Bowls

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Scott Barton, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. Scott Barton

    Scott Barton

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2012
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    Location (City & State):
    Kansas City
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    Hello All!

    I'm new here and have enjoyed absorbing some of the tremendous amount of knowledge shared here. Now it is time for me to jump in!

    I have been turning for about 6 months or so. In that time, I have done a ton of pens, bottle stoppers, ect. All very fun and good practice as well an enjoyable way to make some extra cash. But my real point of learning to turn is to do more vessels. I don't really know what that means, only that I saw a video of William Hunter and I was truly moved.

    Now, to turn bowls and other vessels, I need to practice. I don't have access, or a consistent source of logs or large blanks. I have a ton of 12/4 blanks, but obviously that yields a very small piece.

    I am looking for some ideas on how to practice on a larger scale when I don't have large chunks and I would like to avoid spending $18/bf to practice.

    My only guess is to start doing segmented bowls? That seems like ill-spent effort to practice form and hollowing.

    Maybe I am missing some genius idea or some obvious step that bowl turners do regularly?

    Thanks for your help in advance!
     
  2. Timothy Rowe

    Timothy Rowe

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
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    Location (City & State):
    West Palm Beach , Florida
    where are you located

    Down here in Florida people cut trees everyday, pick up a LOG off the street. Contact a local tree maintenance company, they usually have to pay to dump them. Our city has a local green dump where you can get wood to big for the chipper. Call a tree trimmer or if a neighbor uses a tree trimmer. Go to construction sites where they are clearing land to build a house.

    I drive around on Sundays looking for trees that were cut down on Saturdays. But then I have "the disease", for wood collecting.:cool2: LOL
     
  3. Dean Center

    Dean Center

    Joined:
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    Location (City & State):
    Bozeman, MT
    As Tim says, "Free" wood is reasonably available if you put in some effort. This means cutting wood to a reasonable length, splitting lengthwise to yield 2 bowl blanks, cutting the corners off if you're safe with a chain saw, turning green, doing whatever you plan to do to keep it from drying too quickly and splitting, then turning into final shape when it's dry. You can also use firewood for practice, if you can find some that hasn't been split past the half log stage.

    There's nothing wrong with 8/4 and 12/4 wood from the lumber yard. It's fully dry and you can turn it to whatever final shape you want. Lots and lots of bowls are less than 3" deep. Plus, you have a lower chance of spending money on stitches, if you don't mess with "Free" wood. :D

    Dean
     
  4. Scott Barton

    Scott Barton

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    The local green dump is a very interesting idea.
     
  5. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

    Joined:
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    Location (City & State):
    Cookeville TN USA
    Don't forget segmented work. You can glue up the 12/4 into thicker blanks. Look up segmented woodturning. You'll find lots of incredible stuff. When I started turning I didn't even know you could turn green wood, or for that matter do hollow vessels. I thought they were all done buy gluing up blanks.
     
  6. Grant Wilkinson

    Grant Wilkinson

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
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    Location (City & State):
    Ottawa, Ontario
    If you would prefer not to go to the work of cutting segments, just glue up a couple of pieces of 12/4 on their face. That will give you a bowl of somewhere around 5 inches deep and as big in diameter as your lumber.

    I have a great source of exotic off cuts, so glue up bowls are a staple for me. I've ended up with some nice vases and hollow forms, all from glue ups.
     
  7. Tom Hamilton

    Tom Hamilton

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2009
    Messages:
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    Location (City & State):
    Southern Wisconsin
    How about joining a local club?

    Hi Scott - I was wondering if you've thought about joining a woodturning club. I joined my local club about 6 months after I started turning in 2009. You couldn't ask for a better resource, and almost free.

    It's a wonderful resource for many many things, one being WOOD!

    One of the activities at the monthly meeting is a raffle. That raffle is supported by the club members donating things like wood, tools, supplies, etc.

    That's a great place to pick up a lot of wood for bowls, vessels or whatever, for a very minimal cost.

    Don't overlook the other benefits of a club though, mentors to help, a demonstration at every meeting, a club library of books and videos, and our club brings in two big names a year for demonstrations too.

    Where are you located? The AAW has a listing of clubs, one may be close to you.
     
  8. Scott Barton

    Scott Barton

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    There is a turning club in my area. I have been once, but then the holiday rush took over and I have not been back, but I do plan to join.

    I belong to a woodworking guild and we have the fun raffles. Going to the meeting tonight, as a matter of fact.
     
  9. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Location (City & State):
    Eugene, OR
    If you find one arborist, cutting up a tree, and get a piece of wood or two from them, then give them and the owner a bowl or too, very soon, you will be finding log sections in your dirveway, "I thought you might like this piece." You will need a chainsaw, and a bandsaw, and.......... it never ends.

    robo hippy
     
  10. DOCworks

    DOCworks

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    Amen to that! I just had 4 16' logs of Osage Orange dropped off by my Brother in Law from his place in NC. My wife's eyebrows were in her hair line. 3 phone calls and I'm down to 2 and a whole lot of wood chips for the fire pit. I have a new electric chainsaw that is much quieter than my Stihl, neighbor's request. Just get the word out you need wood and have a place cleared to stack it, wood will come.
     
  11. Gretch Flo

    Gretch Flo

    Joined:
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    Location (City & State):
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    osage orange

    Bill -I have had osage orange log pieces from 3 sources. A few pieces my son brought from Kansas from 2 diff areas (peace offering for not calling his Mom!!!), and some from Mich St university. They all were cracked. I cut smaller blanks that I thought were crack free and stumbled on them while turning. Did I just have 3 duds or is it the nature of the beast??? Gretch
     
  12. DOCworks

    DOCworks

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    I have two logs with cracks the others are fine. I have no idea why some crack and others don't. I assume the cracks are due to stress in the wood, but I don't know what caused the stress. These logs have been on the ground for at least 3 to 4 years, probably longer. I've made a couple of hand hewn bowls out of some of it and was able to go around the cracks. "Hand Hewn" is a realitive term as while I do some by hand, the osage orange, well lets just say a few power tools make the experience more fun. When I do them in cherry it's pretty much hand tools, but some of this stuff is just not fun to work by hand. Besides my customers don't really care, it's more of a artist thing. Cough, cough, I just do it cause I like to make a big mess. Besides the chips and shavings burn really nice in the fire pit. Osage, by the way is one of the best BTU woods out there. In Florida though wood burning it's mostly just for ambiance while one sips the margaritas beside the fire pit on the back porch. Well that's what I hear.
     
  13. Thomas Stegall

    Thomas Stegall

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    Messages:
    164
    Location (City & State):
    Niles, IL
    As someone who turns larger items as a general rule I have two suggestions

    1) Do as I have done and contact the Forestry dept. of your local township. My local forestry dept takes their downed trees and converts them to free wood chips for the local citizens. However, some of the larger 2-4 foot diameter tree trunks don't fit in the chipper so they have a mountain of short logs with nothing to do with them. A few employees take some home for firewood, but there is always a surplus, so I made some calls and now I have unlimited access to take as much wood I want and I have pieces up to 26" dia.

    2) Look up the construction methods of Michael Mode. Similiar to segmented, but without all the work, its very simple and easy to do. You can make about a 8 x 12 bowl from a 12 x 12 x 1 board.
     

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