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Torn Grain

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Dylan Skeean, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. Dylan Skeean

    Dylan Skeean

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    Hello again,

    Now I must apologize for this post because I know there is so many variables involved but I'm having a very hard time and could use some help.

    I am cutting some Staghorn Sumac with a natural edge, it's a fairly small blank, maybe 6-1/2"x4-1/2" deep. It's green wood and very wet, I have never heard of sumac growing this big but it looked interesting to me so I bought a couple blanks from eBay. I have an 8" diameter piece of this as well, but I wanted to practice on the small one. I will attach some pictures to show the torn grain, I just can't seem to get rid of it no matter what tool I try? I tried taking a nice slow finish pass with my 1/4" bowl gouge. freshly sharpened at 45° degrees. I tried all my bowl gouges ranging from 45° to 60° degrees. The smallest gouge worked the best for finish but the grain is really torn. I have tried my negative rake scrapers, regular scrapers, spindle gouges, nothing works?

    I hate sanding more than torn grain so I would like to try and figure this out if possible. I was running the lathe speed at 800 and tried all the way to about 2200 RPM, all pretty much had the same results. If anyone has ever cut this stuff or if anyone has any tips I would be forever grateful!

    Thank you, I hope everyone is having a great Saturday! It's cold and rainy so a perfect day to stay in the shop and turn all day!
    20181012_171812.jpg 20181012_172133.jpg 20181013_101933.jpg 20181013_101952.jpg
     
  2. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    This might help some. Theres four parts, Mark is really good at getting a smooth finish on nearly anything you can get on a lathe.

    View: https://youtu.be/OCikQVvx5P4
     
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  3. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Try putting a wood sealer on the piece and let it dry and then make several light passes with a sharp tool.
     
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  4. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    It isn't staghorn sumac, but a similar looking tree called Ailanthus, or sometimes called tree of paradise. It is a noxious weed tree and harbors Spotted Lantern Fly. It has a very coarse grain fibrous wood and the fibers tear out from between the rings quite readily, making it hard to get a clean cut. From my experience with alanthus, it is probably impossible to get your tools that sharp. https://www.wood-database.com/ailanthus/
     
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  5. Dylan Skeean

    Dylan Skeean

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    Thank you very much for that link, that guy is really good with that spindle roughing gouge! I will definitely watch the rest of the videos. On a side note, is that Mike Peace in the front row???

    Thank you Mike, I've only heard of wood sealer in passing a couple times but I will give that a try as well. Torn grain can be so tough to deal with sometimes, or in my case all the time! Lol!!
     
  6. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    This is a difficult shape to turn.
    A shallow open bowl is the easiest to to turn and the shape easies to get a clean surface.

    Scraping rarely works well of wet wood. Shear scraping can improve the surface.

    Once you get tearout repeated light cuts are needed to clean it up.
    Sealing with shellac or lacquer often helps. If the wood is alianthus it is too soft for most turners to have success with. Need sharp tools light cuts, bevel riding.

    Cleanest cuts will be made in the direction of the red arrows because the cut fibers are support by longer fibers as they are cut.m. Cutting against the arrows will create tear out. One case where cutting in the wrong direction is sometimes used on NE bowls is the rim section to save the bark.
    Also with soft wood cutting the tenon with spindle gouge usually works much better than with a scraper.

    1DFC24F6-A21E-461C-BB2B-C7CC1B0A83A7.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
    Chuck Lobaito and Dylan Skeean like this.
  7. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    @Dylan Skeean i’m sure you realize the video is on spindles. Your bowl is face grain turning.
    Do not use a spindle roughing gouge on facegrain bowls. Catches can be catestophic.

    A pull cut with a side ground gouge will give you the clean surface.
     
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  8. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    @Dylan Skeean
    Below are two demo two videos on turning natural edge bowls at the Sarasota woodturners which were streamed live on YouTube by their host Advantage Lumber.

    The first is a demo I did from a punky oak blank. I had two other blanks buT they had bigger potential problems. You can sort of watch most all of the tear out turn away. You can fast forward to see the tearout
    23:20 lot of tear out
    27:10 still some tear out Show the bevel riding push cut
    28:11 the pull cur is shown
    28:30 looking at the tearout
    29:10 lot of improvement after the pull cut
    30:52 tearout is mostly gone
    32:11 cutting the dovetail tenon
    33:43 outside about done. I will do a final finish cut when it is in the chuck.

    Demo 3-21-18

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6XccQl_0BY


    this is another approach to Natural Edge bowls by my freind James McClure.
    Demo 6-20-18

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMHtenBtaLY
     
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  9. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    It's very likely to be him. The Gwinnett Woodturners meet in Norcross, Georgia and Mike lives in Suwanee which is only a hop and a skip away (no jump necessary ... A hop and a skip is roughly a dozen miles).

    I'll add an exclamation mark to what Al said about the spindle roughing gouge. Its name says it all. Use it on spindles, but never ever on a face grain turning!!!! (Face grain is where the grain direction is crosswise to the spin axis. The spin axis is the rotation axis that runs from the headstock spindle to the point on the live center in the tailstock.
     
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  10. Dylan Skeean

    Dylan Skeean

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    Wow, thank you very much for all your help everyone! I really appreciate the videos and tips, woodturning is much harder than I thought it would be. And yes, I'm well aware that the spindle roughing gouge is just that, spindle roughing. I used the piece as a practice piece once it got too small, I just wanted to see if I could get a clean cut. I eventually got a decent cut, not great but acceptable enough to start sanding at 120 grit. I've had a bad run the last couple weeks, seems like no matter what I put on the lathe turns out to be a total headache! I'm getting there, reading a lot here on the forums and lots of Youtube videos. But it seems like the more I learn the less I know, if that makes any sense? Push cuts, pull cuts, up hill, down hill, riding the bevel...…

    I do thank all of you for your help, it means a lot to me and I hope to one day just create some beautiful pieces that I can leave behind for my family. I'm not getting any better health wise so I guess I feel a little pressured to hurry up and learn and that's no way to turn. I'll keep practicing, and I finally got my gouges ground pretty well so that's a big help.


    Hmm, I bought the blanks on eBay and he had them listed as Staghorn Sumac? I wouldn't have a clue either way. They were cheap and looked pretty cool so I bought them.

    I hope everyone has a great weekend!
     
  11. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Perhaps the most unatainabke activity in life is to making a list of things you don’t know.

    In turning the more you learn and do the more you realize how much more is out there.

    I encourage students to Concentrate on learning to do a few things well before they worry about expanding their repertoire.


    All beginning bowl students I teach are taught these basics:
    Bevel riding push cut, scraping cut and shear scrape with the Ellsworth ground gouge
    using a 3/8 spindle gouge to cut beads, coves and flats.
    Sharpening both tools
    With these two tools and those cuts they can turn any outside shape.

    On an individual basis I will teach advanced cuts to students who demonstrate solid proficiency with the basic cuts.

    Classes or mentoring can really build skills rapidly.
     
  12. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    Sure is, he is a Gwinnett Woodworker member.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
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  13. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    You are correct but Mark goes into bowl work in the other videos. You have to have a starting point.
     
  14. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    Dylan,
    There is indeed a steep learning curve to becoming a competent woodturner, but you're curious, asking why something happened, encountering problems and figuring out solutions. That's a critical ingredient in becoming a skilled woodturner. You're doing great, hang in there.

    One additional thought, expanding on Al's comments. When you do a particular type of project, I recommend you do a whole bunch of them. 20 boxes or 50 bowls or the like. It takes a lot of repetition to develop the muscle memory and light touch necessary to do turning well.
     
  15. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    No one correct answer here because every piece of wood is different... Al's picture above with the arrows was what I was going to suggest first. Other than that, a high shear angle helps. I had some myrtle wood this summer that for reasons unknown to me would only cut clean with a high angle shear cut with a gouge sharpened on a 600 grit CBN wheel. No shear scraping would clean it up and that is my most common way to get a clean surface. Just because.....

    robo hippy
     
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  16. Dylan Skeean

    Dylan Skeean

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    Thank you very much Dean for the encouragement, that's greatly appreciated! You make a very good point, I have a bad habit of making a bowl, and then seeing a beautiful hollow form that someone made and then I think to myself, man I have to make one of those! Then I see a nice 12" platter, and then a box! I'm all over the place, so you're absolutely right, I need to make one thing, and make it well. And take those skills and start on a new project. I guess I thought being a machinist for all these years that I would have an easy transition into wood working. I was very wrong! Don't get me wrong, I still really enjoy it very much even if I'm not very good at it.

    I just made a small 9" platter and it came out pretty good, and I didn't make any mistakes this time. So I'm going to try and make another one tomorrow if I'm feeling well. I understand completely what you're saying, and thank you!

    I will attach a couple pictures of the Sapele Platter I made, I still need to sand a little more and put my finish on.
    20181015_201219.jpg 20181015_201232.jpg
     
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  17. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    That is a beautiful platter, Dylan. While it's true that learning to turn teaches us humility, it also rewards us with beautiful pieces of wood.
     
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  18. Dylan Skeean

    Dylan Skeean

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    Thank you very much Bill, that means a lot coming from you! You are absolutely right about humility, that's the first thing you learn while wood turning. Yes, when you knock out a beautiful piece it makes it all worth while!
     

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