Sunday, November 27, 2011

My method for fast drying wood for turning.

     In a previous post I was trying to find new ways of fast drying wood for turning. I tried gasoline on the principles that the water would settle to the bottom since gas is lighter than water. It worked just not that well. Starting with a piece of wood that was at 34% moisture the gas would bring it down to 17% in 12 hours. That sounds great but after it made it to 17% it would not go much lower no matter the time in the gas. The same results can be had from a few minutes in the microwave on high without the gas smell and danger. The issue woodturners try to solve is that 17% down to your 8% or what ever your trying to achieve because this area is where I see the majority of my checks and cracking.
     So with me not being a very patient sort of a person to turn a bowl and then put it in a bag and wait a year. I have resorted to turning wood that has dried as logs already or if I do want to turn green I am turning my walls real thin ( 1/4 to 3/8 ) and then putting them in my oven at about 125 degrees for around 24 to 36 hours. Then I have a nice warped bowl that has to be hand sanded, but it works with little cracking depending on the wood. Some woods just want to crack and they are sitting on selves now.     
     I hope this help post with any questions.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Adding carving to your woodturning.

     I thought I would write about my newest endeavor today. That is adding carving to my turnings. Here is my first try at it. This is a bowl turned from a piece of iron wood that I put into the microwave and dried very quickly. I always do that when I am turning a new variety of wood it allows me to see what the wood is going to do. After the bowl was dry it was put back on the lathe and turned back to a round shape.

    So now after it was returned into a round bowl the iron wood did not have much design in the grain so I figured carving and painting would go good with it. I drew tree in the bottom of the bowl with a pencil then used my carving tools on it. Afterwards I used paints to bring the details out. It was finished with a few coats of poly for protection.

     This next piece is a natural edged pecan bowl. On this one I carved a rose on the outside of the bowl. It is also painted and coated with poly.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

First finished bowl to leave the house.

     This bowl is a piece of an elm tree. The walls are turned real thin less than 1/4 of an inch at the top of the bowl and the bass is around 1/2 inch thick. I burned the inside of the bowl to make the grain pop. Post a comment if you have any questions. Thanks

Grizzly G0698 lathe review.

                To start this review off I would like for you to be aware that this is the only lathe I have ever used but with my background in custom cabinets I do know equipment. Now to the review on the lathe. When I was choosing my lathe I kept a few things in consideration. I wanted variable speed because I didn't want to be changing belts all the time. I also wanted a machine that could do most anything I wanted it to do since I had never done wood turning before. So I wanted a large swing to be able to turn large bowls and enough room between centers to handle most spindles. Now for the most critical part I needed a lathe I could afford.
                So I decided on the Grizzly G0698 and I have had it now for about 3 months and I have turned probably around one hundred bowls and other things on it. It has a 18 inch swing and 47 inches between center. A 2hp 3 phase motor with a inverter so it runs on standard 220v. It weighs in at close to 500lbs out of the crate. Solid cast iron legs and a machined bed.
                Now for the pros of the lathe. It was heavy but with a helper it took about an hour to setup including leveling the feet. My head and tail stock centers line up perfectly. all of my movable parts seem to fit very well. I did do about 2 minutes worth of filing on my banjo but that was more for me than having too. The motor runs quiet and I have not noticed any excessive heat. it does get a little warm when I am sanding at slow speed but nowhere near the point that I have any concern. There has been talk about the lathe hunting at very slow speeds and mine does at below 50 rpm but I get bored myself at that speed and my specs say not to go below 100 rpm so no problem there. The lathe has a lot of power and I have turned ruff cut blanks up to around 75lbs. I ended up building a ballast box for my lathe and added around 600lbs to it and I am able to start turning most of what I turn at around 400 rpm. I could probably start turning faster than that but I'm on a conventional foundation and my floor will flex and give me a wobble. That I will be fixing pretty soon.
                Now for the cons of the lathe. Soon after receiving my lathe I noticed a crack on the head where the indexing holes are. Let me say something before I go any further. I have not contacted Grizzly on any of my issues with the lathe. I have read that they do have excellent customer service but as of now I can live with my few problems easier than I can live without my lathe for a week or so. Another issue with the lathe is the bolt that tightens up the tool rest stripped out when my cousin was using the lathe. So I don't know if it was abuse or not but it was an easy fix for about 20 cents at our local hardware store here in Noxapater Ms. Now for my last con on the lathe. The large bolt that tightens the banjo to the bed vibrates loose and every so often you have to reach under the bed and tighten it by hand. It mostly has to be done when you don't tighten the banjo while you are sanding. This could easily be fixed with a locking nut but I would I like not having to use tools to remove it so not a problem again.
                In the end I have been very happy with my lathe so far. it has done everything I have asked of it when I asked it. I am sure the more expensive lathes are very nice and one day I hope to get to use some of these. For now I am happy with my choice and having the extra $800 worth of accessories I was able to get with the savings from not getting one of the other lathes. 

Thanks Joseph Bealis

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ordered my lathe for shop today.

I ordered my lathe from Grizzly today. I was able to get the G0698 lathe. The customer service was great they were really helpful lets hope they are that good when i have a problem and i am not giving them money. Will write a review when the lathe comes in.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Start of my shop.

                So it has been awhile since I posted with the holiday and all. For a quick update I picked up the materials to start building my shop this week. I am adding a 16' X 20' onto my existing 12' X 20'. For now I will be enclosing the new part and will add or do more as I need the room. Here is a picture of what I have so far more pics will come latter.

Monday, June 20, 2011

New methods for fast drying green bowls for turning.

                I started an experiment today. While getting ready to start my own shop one thing I keep reading in forums is how to dry green bowl blanks. These methods by some turners can get very strange indeed. The one account of a turner sacrificing a chicken to the turning gods and doing a dance was real weird. Ok so that one is just a joke. We do have everything from the bag and wait a year method to soaking in a soap solution overnight. You have 50 ways to just bag a green bowl and another 50 ways to guess when the piece is ready for turning. Then we can also make a kiln of sorts or just stick them on a shelf. The one that interests me the most is the Denatured Alcohol method and the soap method. I will be dealing with the DNA(Denatured Alcohol) one for now.
                DNA has properties which remove and shed water from wood. The issue with DNA soaking is that first off is the price per gallon of about $15 to $25 a gallon. The price is not a huge problem if it was not for the fact that we have to replace every so often. So in my experiments I will be trying different chemicals to achieve the same results for under 5 dollars a gallon. That is my goal anyway. I set up 6 large mason jars one with DNA in it and the other five with different combination of chemicals that I feel will do the same job. I have placed pieces of wood from the same tree in the jars. I will allow them to soak for 24 hours and then remove and then document over a week what each piece of wood does. Please feel free to leave comments and HAPPY TURNING.

Friday, June 17, 2011

JET 1642

               The Jet JWL-1642EVS appears to be a awesome lathe for the hobbyist or even for the professional turner. Woodworkers love to have the biggest and the best tool for the job. The JET 1642 looks like it can do the job without breaking the bank.
                Lets look at some of its features. It comes in 2 different models. One has a 1 1/2 hp motor and runs on 110v. The other has a 2 hp motor and runs on 220v. They both weigh in at over 400 lbs which will greatly reduce vibration. With a swing of 16" and 42" between centers it will handle most turnings. The 3 phase motors gives it the ability to have variable speeds from 0 to 3,200 RPM. The low RPM of this machine is a most if you are wanting to turn large out of round blanks.
                I would like to hear from people who have this lathe or who have used one. HAPPY TURNING 

Spot for woodturning shop.

           Ok I have picked a spot to build my woodturning shop. I will be adding onto a little shed I already have. I then will enclose this. I will add my rough draft in a day or so.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Grizzly G0698

            For my shop I have decided to get a Grizzly G0698 18" X 47" wood lathe. Through my search for a lathe I started looking at the Jet 1642 and I liked the features of the lathe but I was having a real hard time justifying the cost of one for my first lathe. I ran across the Grizzly and the specs match the Jet 1642 almost perfectly but its bigger.
                The Grizzly has a 2hp motor and electronic variable speed control. It weighs a massive 547 lbs so hopefully it will not be bouncing all over my shop. I can't wait to be able to review it in person.
                If anyone has one can you please leave a comment about it for me thanks. HAPPY TURNING.

Types of lathes

               Picking out my lathe has been one hard decision. I would find a lathe model then pick it apart on the forums. During this time I  still had not figured out what type of woodturning I wanted to do. Was I going to do spindles, bowls, pens, pepper grinders, ect... Since I am setting the shop up for this to be a hobby I will try them all at least once. Now to the different types of lathes out there.
                Pen lathe is usually pretty portable and has a swing of around 2 inches. This type of lathe is very specialized since it is ideal for turning pens(hence the name pen lathe).
                Mini lathe these usually have a 1/2 to 1 hp and a swing of 6 to 12 inches. Most of these lathes can only turn a spindle 16 to 20 inches long but most can have a bed extension added so you can do most anything with them.
                Floor lathe  are your big boys with a 1 to 3 hp motor, a 10 to 20 inch swing, and can turn a 33 to 60 inch spindle. These units weigh a lot more than the mini's and have a much more rigid tool bed for the more serious turners.
                In each type of lathe you have a wide variety of lathes and features which I will talk about later on. You will have to also keep in mind to your budget. HAPPY TURNING.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Beginning woodturning budget.

Woodturning on a budget can be frustrating but with some planning and bargain hunting you can get what you need to get the job done. We will be looking at all aspects of setting up a shop and the tools we want to put in the shop.
                Lets start with our budget. I am going to build my own shop but if you have a garage or a basement to work in you are already on your way to getting started. I am going to get my shop started for under $8000. I already have an assortment of tools so I do not have to buy everything but we will get to tools later own. First I had to decide what type of turning I am going to do in my shop. Now this is a loaded question but there is a simple answer(I want to turn everything). I want to turn pens, 3 foot tale vases and round table tops. So now that we have that straight let's move on and plan our budget.
                I have decided on a lathe that will cost me about $1500. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that your lathe will only be half of what you will need to get started. So I will figure in another $1500 for accessories for the lathe. That leaves me with $5000 that sounds great but now let's go through a quick list of other tools I will need. Chainsaw because I do not want to buy blanks $350 for a gas powered one and $100 for an electric one that want wake neighbors. Table saw so I can do segmented woodturning and no shop would be complete without a table saw $500. Band saw is on my wish list, for now I will be looking for a good used one of these that can cut at least a 16 inch blank. Then we come to all the little stuff, screws, sand paper, finishes, wax, hot glue gun, straps,  ect......... $500. $3550 left to build a shop, I wish it was that easy. I am going to give myself $3000 to build my shop. I am sure that $550 extra in my budget will find a home somewhere else before I get done.
                Keep in mind that this is my budget and yours can be extremely different than mine. I am trying to get tools that may not be the best but should get the job done and should be big enough that I will not want to replace them the next day. HAPPY TURNING!