The Art of Hardwood Turning on a Wood Lathe
The Art of Hardwood Turning on a Wood Lathe
The are about as many paths to entering the hobby of woodturning as there are people in the hobby. These unique paths have allowed a great number of individual techniques to flourish, and many more unique types of piece to be produced. Exploring different techniques, different turnings, and the varies paths people followed to get there will enrich how you approach you turnings, and what path you choose to follow.
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Burl wood is some of the prettiest wood in the world. It’s twisted and multi-directional grain give a fascinating activity to the surface of the wood. Burls usually come from large knob-like projections from along the tree trunk. These irregular growths are usually caused by a fungus. Very twisted and irregular growth patterns can also be obtained from the roots of trees. Burl bowls make a very good project for the beginner turner. Because the wood is so beautiful, it is not necessary for the novice turner to create the most difficult turning to have a very nice artistic result.
Wood turning is a very addictive hobby. I first started turning to make legs for the furniture I was building but as I learned I became addicted to turning bowls, vases, wood goblets, hollow forms and segmented woodturning. There are two main types of woodturning. Spindle turning and faceplate turning. Spindle turning is done between centers. In faceplate turning your piece of wood is connected to a faceplate.
I'm guilty of having been a "typical" information-technology professional stuck in the fast-paced, chaotic world of custom systems development and delivery. Meeting deadlines, competing in the bidding process with competitor's, and of course the ever-present challenge of actual delivery ... on time and within budget. This story is likely true for many of you as well, across a variety of jobs. Our lives narrow, altering under the pressures from work. Stress, and whether it's managed properly or not, comes into play as the weeks, months, and perhaps years pass.
There are many reasons for measuring the wall thickness of your turned objects. Probably the most important is to achieve a uniform wall thickness in the entire object. The esthetics of having a turning with uniform walls just makes for a nicer and more artistic object. If someone picks up your turning and can tell that the walls are not even they may get a bad impression of your turning even if it looks good from casual viewing. If your turning has very thin walls and hence lightness, you also get a wow factor from people who will want to know how you did it.
It's common to see wood turners excited over lumber such as Cherry, Maple, Walnut, and all manner of other hardwoods. Particularly if there is a Burl involved (drool). However, Pine holds some surprises for us as a woodturning material, if we look carefully. There is a particular strain of fungi that will invade Pine causing a blue stain through the wood. It poses no health hazard and does not cause decay of the wood. However, for a woodturning it can add a lot of interest. The first time I turned a log of Pine I was pleasantly surprised to find interesting blue streaking through the wood, almost like blue dye stroked on with a brush. Once I saw that I shifted gears from simply "goofing off with a junky piece of Pine" to a more serious woodturning project
Wood turning is one of the oldest crafts in the world and has been done with very primitive but creative tools. Most of the world does not have the big boys’ toy stores for woodworkers as in North America, but woodworking still goes on all over the world. A typical Amazonian turning shop is a little rough around the edges. The electricity comes and goes and materials and tools may or may not be found. One thing is very noticeable, and that’s no one complains. I will show how wood turning gets done with tools that would be banned in many parts of the world. The carpenter shop shown and described here was mine in the Upper Amazon of Peru. Coming from a woodworking background where I had a sander for each problem and tools of any and all types I had to reinvent myself in the Amazon. When you are in desperate need of a tool or machine to do a job and have a good bottle of rum to make the mind move, solutions just appear.
I first began woodturning in about 2002 and I've found it to be an extremely therapeutic hobby - I recommend people to try it. My normal job is very stressful, as anybody involved in running a small start-up business in the current economic climate will know. My lathe is an old friend, and has had a long life. I think it's from the early 1950's , I know is that it was used in my old school, and that my Father bought it in the early seventies. He taught himself how to use it before giving it to me in 2002 when he decided, at aged 80 he wanted a new challenge and began painting landscapes.
The art of woodturning originated centuries ago, in European countries where spindle and bowl lathes were driven manually, with pedals like a bicycle. They were much larger and more elaborate than the compact machines of today, and were used to turn hardwood vessels of all sizes. However, these ancient devices usually operated at very low speeds (imagine woodturning at a rate of one revolution per second!) and required a great deal of time and patience to complete any project of significance. The power tools of today's generation, by contrast, allow you to completely finish small projects such as pen turning in the space of just a few hours. And, to many in this era of "instant gratification", even that may seem like a long time to some. But, the joys of woodworking are often found in this process, time-consuming though it may be; if art can be quickly and thoughtlessly created, it loses its appeal and meaning.