1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. ATTENTION FORUM MEMBERS!

    Guest, if you have not yet updated your forum bookmark to a secure log in connection, please delete your unsecure book and add the following secure bookmark: https://www.aawforum.org/community/index.php

    You can dismiss this notice by clicking the X in the upper right of the notice box.

    Dismiss Notice

Is a bowl steady rest a necessity for large bowls?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Brad Winesett, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. Brad Winesett

    Brad Winesett

    Joined:
    May 9, 2019
    Messages:
    55
    Location (City & State):
    Fairlawn, Virginia
    Hello all,

    I have been seriously turning for about 9 months now. I have a Powermatic 3520A. I have several 16-18" diameter bowl blanks that I have roughed out that should be ready for final turning this winter. Is a bowl steady rest necessary to finish these bowls cleanly. I have been looking at the Oneway version. Some of the bowls are 8-10' deep.

    If I can get away with not using a bowl steady rest, what techniques can I use to reduce vibration at the lip? Sharp tools are a given.
     
  2. Brandon Sloan

    Brandon Sloan

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2019
    Messages:
    145
    Location (City & State):
    Victoria, Texas
    You can use a paper towel in one hand and apply pressure to the outside of the bowl as you cut the rim area with the other hand. I use this method when I use my bowl scraper. It’s not really necessary unless you are turning your bowls pretty thin. Here’s where I first saw this technique.


    View: https://youtu.be/zo_4iuDJZZw
     
  3. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    11,356
    Location (City & State):
    Dalworthington Gardens, TX
    Home Page:
    No, a bowl steady isn't necessary. I've used a leather work glove for thin (1/4" at 15" diameter) turnings and reduced the lathe speed as necessary. A very sharp tool and very light tool pressure are important. Lots of experience turning bowls helps. I've turned a few 18" bowls, but not many because people aren't interested in something that big.
     
    hockenbery likes this.
  4. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    6,572
    Location (City & State):
    Lakeland, Florida
    Home Page:
    Short answer is no. However a bowl steady can be useful if the dried bowl was turned too thin to support a cut on the rim. Also the hollowing technique may require a bowl steady.

    Generally if
    You can do a decent bevel riding push cut,
    the wood is not extremely hard,
    your dried bowl has an even wall thickness of 1.5” to 1” and
    you hollow the interior in steps of 2-3” from the rim to the bottom and leaving the wall 3/8 - 1/4 thick
    you should not need a bowl steady and should not need to support the rim with your hand.

    On bowls that size I use the robust J rest for hollowing.

    Be sure to true up the bowl rim , tenon, and outside on a jamb chuck before putting the bowl in the chuck for hollowing. The video clip on the remounting the dried bowl in thenworking with greenwood thread shows how I do this.
    http://www.aawforum.org/community/index.php?threads/working-with-green-wood.11626/
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
    Brandon Sloan and Bill Boehme like this.
  5. Dean Center

    Dean Center

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,058
    Location (City & State):
    Bozeman, MT
    Like you, I was pretty concerned about turning my first 16-18" bowls, but if you reduce the speed and have pretty good tool technique, it's surprisingly similar to smaller bowls.

    HOWEVER, 8-10" deep is really hard. Think how far over the tool rest you'd hang, if you kept your rest outside the bowl. Do you even have a gouge with a blade 10" long?

    As Al suggests, a rest positioned inside the bowl can help, but many of us don't have curved or J shaped rests. There are some tricks to how to position a straight rest inside, which end up with the gouge in odd positions and you still have a lot of overhang. You might be wise to turn some 5" deep big bowls as a start, and when you're comfortable with that, go deeper. Or have an experienced club member work with you on your first deep one.
     
    hockenbery likes this.
  6. robo hippy

    robo hippy

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Messages:
    2,935
    Location (City & State):
    Eugene, OR
    I have never used one, and never felt the need, though I did have some learning experiences.... I only turn green to final thickness. On larger bowls, I will some times use my fingers on the outside rim of the bowl to make finish cuts near the rim. To me, if my fingers are getting hot, then my hand pressure is too much. If my bowl is starting to wobble, then my 'rub the bevel' is too hard. It is a delicate balance. That is probably the most difficult skill to figure out. "The bevel should rub the wood, but the wood should not know it." Learning to get rid of the white knuckle grip, and doing all the work with the handle hand, and the other hand just resting on the tool shaft didn't come naturally to me.

    The deeper bowls will tend to vibrate more, a leverage thing, and for some reason, platters also seem to vibrate more than shallow to medium bowls. Having a bigger chuck to grab onto a bigger bowl helps too. For most 16 inch bowls, a recess with my Vic 120, which is 2 5/8 diameter, is sufficient, but bigger than 16 inch, I want some thing bigger. A tenon for a bowl that size should be 4+ inch diameter.

    robo hippy
     
    Gerald Lawrence likes this.
  7. Brad Winesett

    Brad Winesett

    Joined:
    May 9, 2019
    Messages:
    55
    Location (City & State):
    Fairlawn, Virginia
    Thanks for all the tips, this does help. I do have 4" tenons on the roughed out bowls and I have a Oneway curved tool rest for finishing the inside.
     

Share This Page