Category Archives: Projects

Nutmeg 2×4 Challenge

Photo: Nutmeg 2x4 Challenge

Here is my bowl from a 2×4.

I made it for the “Nutmeg Woodturners 2×4 Challenge” on January 14th, 2019.

The bowl is 3-1/8″ diameter by 1-1/4″ tall. The base is 7/8″ diameter. Wall thickness is roughly 1/8″. It was made out of a Douglas Fir 2×4 blank. The blank was actually 3.5″ x 3.5″ x 1.5″.

I am making this blog entry because I want to show people how to use a glue block (see below) and I want to encourage all the Nutmeg Club members to get busy and make something before our January 14th, 2019 meeting.

Also, I want to remind people of 2 important points.

1. People are encourage to explore different rim options and bowl shapes. The magazine article is just one option of many.

2. People are encourage to bring in multiple bowls. Each bowl gets a ticket for the raffle. However, there is 6 ticket limit per person.

I am definitely going to bring more than 1 bowl!

The Nutmeg 2×4 Challenge

I proposed the Nutmeg 2×4 Challenge for our “Nutmeg Woodturners Club” in Brookfield CT, after reading an article in a recent AAW Woodturning Fundamentals on line magazine. I liked the article because it talked about turning bowls out of ordinary soft wood 2x4s (Pine, Spruce, Douglas Fir). I thought, well here is something that anyone can do because every has access to soft wood 2x4s. You can do it on any lathe. Mini Lathe, etc. It seems easy, so everyone will give it a go. However, it’s not that easy, so it will challenge our experienced people. People are going to learn that cutting soft wood CLEANLY is not easy!

The article was “2×4 Softwood Bowl Puts You on Top of Grain Direction” by Walt Wager in the August 2018 AAW Woodturning FUNdementals on line magazine. Click here for the article.

After discussion at a club meeting, I sent out an email to all Nutmeg Members to get the challenge started. The email is attached to the end of this blog entry.

Use A Glue Block & Part the Bowl Off

The above magazine article does not use a glue block. I want to show people how to use a glue block. Because, I think a glue block makes things a lot easier. With a glue block you can just part the bowl off and finish up the bottom with a carving chisel. You don’t need to jam chuck the bowl to finish the bowl. Jam chucking can be a problem for new people.

Here is how I turned my bowl for the 2×4 challenge.

Photo: Wood for Blanks Wood for Blanks

I looked around out back and found a nice Douglas Fir (DF) 2×4 scrap that I could use for bowls. The top piece in photo.

I also found some Spruce 2×4 scraps that I could use for glue blocks. Bottom pieces in photo.

Tip: Douglas Fir is one of the harder soft woods that you can purchase from local store. It is harder than Spruce or Pine. Thus it is easier to cut cleanly with a bowl gouge. Thus less sanding. Thus a good choice! It often has nice strong grain lines that make attractive pieces.

Note: Here I can use a softwood glue block, because my blank is softwood. Normally, I recommend using hardwood (Poplar, Maple, Cherry, etc) for glue blocks.

Photo: Cut Your Blanks Cut Your Blanks

Here I have cut out my blanks. My DF 2×4 was 3.5" wide by 1.5" tall. I cut my DF blanks 3.75" long to making centering easier (less fussy).

I cut my Spruce 2x4s into 3" x 3" blocks that are 1-1/2" tall. You really want the blocks to be 1-1/2" tall, to make your life easier. See latter photos. Only 3" to make gluing easier.

Photo: Use Yellow Wood Glue! Use Yellow Wood Glue!

Use any Yellow or White Wood Glue. In photo, I have spread a LIBERAL coat of glue with a plastic scrap.

When I put the blocks together I use an old trick. I rub the blocks around until the glue sets up a little. Then position them. I don't need to fuss with clamps.

I wait overnight for the glue to fully cure.

NO SUPER GLUE Super glue does not work well for glue blocks. If you just spread it on and then spray with accelerator around the outside it does not work! The accelerator only goes in like a 1/2" inch. After that the glue stays wet. Sooner or latter the block breaks off. Some times you can get away with using super glue if you spread it on one half, then spray accelerator on the other half. Then stick the half's together while praying they line up correctly. Because, the glue is going to set up instantly.

Photo: Cut a Tenon Cut a Tenon

Here I have cut a tenon on the bottom of my glue block. The tenon is roughly 1/4" deep with a 1/4" wide flange for the front of my chuck jaws to land on.

I turned the glue block down to 3".

I just jammed the bowl blank up against the chuck. It is being held there by pressure from the tailstock. The block is not attached to the chuck.

Use a bowl gouge and/or parting tool to cut the tenon like they say in the magazine article.

Photo: Cut the Inside (Yea, Inside First) Cut the Inside (Yea, Inside First)

Here I have mounted the piece in the chuck via the tenon I cut in previous step. Then I made the blank round with my 1/2" bowl gouge. Like they show in magazine article.

Then I have started to cut the inside shape with my 1/2" bowl goug

I turn the inside of my bowls first! Latter, I turn the outside to match the inside. This is EASIER! Less mental stress!

Turning on the inside of a bowl is always a LOT HARDER than turning on the outside. On the inside you have to swing the tool handle a lot more thru a long arc while reaching out over the lathe bed. Doing this when the bowl walls are getting thin, because you already turned the outside is a receipt for disaster! The walls flex, etc. It's just all wrong. You should turn the inside first. Get the hard part over, early, while the bowl walls are still thick and therefore forgiving.

Photo: 1/2 1/2″ Bowl Gouge with a Double Bevel

This is a small bowl. But, I still use my standard full size set of tools. A 1/2" bowl gouge, a 1/2" detail gouge and a 1/8" parting tool.

Going to a smaller bowl gouge because we are turning a small bowl is a NOT a good idea! Smaller tools (like a 3/8" bowl gouge) flex to much because the tool shank is less than 1/2".

The best solution for small bowls is a 1/2" bowl gouge with a double bevel. The second bevel cuts the heel off of the gouge. So the primary bevel is smaller and thus can turn faster inside of a small bowl. Like my bowl gouge in photo. There are also, some good photos of double bevel bowl gouge in magazine article.

I create the second bevel by extending the tip of the gouge an extra 1" beyond the end of my sharpening jig after sharpening the primary bevel. i.e. if primary bevel is created with tip sticking 2" out of sharpening jig, then secondary bevel is 3" sticking out.

Note: In this photo you can also see a lot of cracks in my blank. This blank is really small, so I decided to take a chance. Turn away the cracks. I was stupid, really stupid. I brought a nice DF 2×4 in from my shed out back. My damp shed! I then cut it into blanks. Glued on some glue blocks. Then I put the blocks in my furnace room while the glue dried overnight. The damp wood dried out and cracked! Err… what an idiot! Will I never learn. Fortunately, the cracks did not go to deep.

Photo: Inside of Bowl Inside of Bowl

Here is the inside of my bowl, nice and clean. Finally pass was with a nice freshly sharpened bowl gouge. See previous photo. I took several final passes. Each pass removed just a little wood at a time (like 1/8" or even 1/16" of inch) so I did not create a lot of torn grain that needs to be sanded out. I also just floated along on the bevel, rather than pushing in hard.

I decided to go with a shallow roman ogee bowl shape. Rather than a deep cereal bowl shape, like in magazine. The ogee shape is easier and more elegant in my not so humble opinion. See photo of finished bowl above.

Photo: Turn Thru the Glue Block Turn Thru the Glue Block

Here I am roughing out the outside shape of the bowl. I cut thru the glue block AS NEEDED to make room to work.

I am still using my 1/2" bowl gouge.

I used a 1-1/2" tall glue block to give me room to work here on the chuck side of the bowl. It will also give me room to part off latter.

Photo: The Golf Ball Trick The Golf Ball Trick

Here I have inserted a golf ball wrapper in a paper towel for padding on the tailstock side. I drilled a 3/4" hole in the golf ball so it just slips over the threads on the live center.

The golf ball supports the walls on the bowl. It allows me to make the walls 1/8" thick with out a lot of vibration. This is another good reason why you should cut the inside of the bowl first, rather than the outside.

The bowl shape is coming along nicely. I have left room on the bottom for a foot, that I am starting to form.

Photo: Thompson Gage't Thompson Gage’t

Here I am using my Keith Thompson Gage't to check the wall thickness.

Photo: Gage't In Action Gage’t In Action

Here is a close up of the Gage't in action. To the right of the brass ball on the left you can see to gold bands and 1 black band showing between the brass ball and blue plastic. Each band is 1/16".

3 bands are showing. 3 times 1/16" is 3/16". Thus the wall thickness is 3/16" at about 3/4 of the way down the bowl. At the edge we can visually see the wall thickness is only 1/8". Thus the wall thickness is perfect, on course!

A Gage't is not cheap and in this small bowl you can just use your fingers. But, I really like the Gage't. In bigger bowls, I have found it to be a huge help to students. I often still use it, my self. I encourage all my students to get one. In the end you will spend a lot less money on screwed up bowl blanks.

Full Disclosure: Keith Thompson lives near me and is a friend. I don't get any kick backs from Keith. I had to pay full price for this Gage't.

Photo: Create Foot Create Foot

Here I am creating the foot using my 1/2" double bevel detail gouge. To the right of the detail gouge in photo you can see I cut a nice clean tight junction between the foot and sides of bowl. The sharp point on detail gouge can easily do this. The round point on a bowl gouge can't get in there nice and tight.

I am also getting ready to part off. I have created space on left of detail gouge to part the bowl off. A nice 1-1/2" thick glue block gives me lots of room here.

Photo: Err.......... Idiot! Err………. Idiot!

Here, I decided to do something really stupid. Part of with the detail gouge. I knew there was a chance the sharp point on the detail gouge would catch and skate like a skew. And well, it did! I screwed it up good!

Photo: Part Off the Bowl Part Off the Bowl

Here I am doing it right. I got my 1/8" wide parting tool and I am parting the bowl off.

A nice 1-1/2" thick glue block gives me lots of room here. I could cut the glue back some more, if I needed more space.

It looks like, I wasted 1/4" of my bowl blank height. I could have made my bowl 1/4" deeper. The next one will be better.

Photo: Remove Nib with Carving Gouge Remove Nib with Carving Gouge

Here I am removing the nib after parting off with a carving gouge.

Photo: Back To The Drawing Board Back To The Drawing Board

One of the great things about these small bowls is, you turn another one in no time. My second bowl is on the left. I refined the shape on this one a little more. More of an ogee shape. I used the extra 1/4" of depth to make a smaller foot. I really like this bowl. However, the ogee could be a little better.

Nutmeg Challenge History

From time, to time, our Nutmeg Woodturners Club in Brookfield CT, likes to have a “member challenge”. Where we challenge all the members to go home and make something. Then bring it to the next club meeting for show and tell. We give out a prize to encourage participation.

Participation is the name of the game! So there is no judging! We really want everyone to bring in something regardless of their skill level. Thus, the prize is awarded via random drawing. If you bring in something, anything, you get a ticket for the prize drawing.

Our club has done this once a year (or so) for a long time. It works good! We get lots of participation and it is fun to see what people create.

New people often don’t have access to hardwood. Thus, in the past our Nutmeg Woodturners Club has passed out wood to get the challenge started. “What can people make with a 10″ x 10″ x 2″ chunk of maple wood?”

The club purchases all the wood blanks in advance. Predicting how many blanks we need is a bit tricky, but in the end it all seem to work out. We hand out the blanks at a meeting. People pay $10 for a blank. At the next meeting you get $5 back if you bring back a finished piece. You are also get a ticket for a random prize drawing. The prize is something like a $100 Gift Certificate. Club dues fund the cost of the prize and part of the cost for the wood.

But, not this time. 2x4s are easy to obtain. Thus everyone has been asked to supply there own 2×4. See copy of email below.

Challenge Email

Here is the email I sent out to all Nutmeg Club members to get the challenge started.

From: Nutmeg Woodturners
Subject: Nutmeg 2×4 Challenge. Bring in pieces for January, 14th, 2019 Meeting.
To: Nutmeg Woodturners

The Nutmeg 2×4 Challenge is based on a recent AAW Turning Fundamentals Mag that had an article on turning bowls out of Pine (soft wood) 2x4s. I have attached PDF.

People should turn bowls for the challenge and bring them to the Monday January 14th, 2019 Nutmeg meeting.

Everyone who brings in a bowl gets a ticket for random drawing for prize.

The prize is a $50 Craft Supplies gift certificate provided by the club.

People supply there own wood. Any soft wood from Home Depot, Lowes, etc. Pine, Douglas Fir, etc. NO Hardwoods! No Poplar, Cherry, Maple, etc. NO pressure treated wood!

NO glue! i.e. you can NOT glue up 2x4s into a bigger blank. Thus, people would be making small bowls. Like the magazine article.

Bowls must fit within a 4″ x 4″ x 2″ box.

Paint, stain, burning and other surface enhancements are allowed.

People are encourage to explore different rim options and bowl shapes. The magazine article is just one option of many.

People are encourage to bring in multiple bowls. Each bowl gets a ticket for the raffle. However, there is 6 ticket limit per person.

People can turn plates, hollow forms, boxes or bowls. They must fit within a 4″ x 4″ x 2″ box. NO glue!

You CAN glue on a glue block to mount your 2×4 on the lathe. NO glue is allowed in the finished piece!

P.S. I love snow! Please pray for more snow!

Carl Ford
carl@carlford.us

(PLEASE do NOT reply to news@nutmegwoodturners.org. This email address is not monitored by anyone on a regular basis. Send any replies to carl@carlford.us).

Viking Sunset Bowl


Here is a Nick Agar style Viking Sunset Bowl that I just finished. 8″ diameter by 2″ tall. I really enjoyed making this piece. My students are also having a good time making these in my “Woodturning Workshop” studio classes.

I saw Nick make one of these in a demo at 2018 Totally Turning Symposium. I then purchased his “Viking Sunset Bowl Kit” from Chroma Craft. I also really enjoyed seeing Nick on the 2018 Woodturning Cruise in Norway.


I followed Nick’s directions in the kit. Plus Nick’s “Viking Sunset Bowl” article in “Woodturning” Magazine, February 2013, No 250 from www.pocketmags.com.

Airbrush

You need an airbrush to apply the stains and finishes in the kit.  At Totally Turning I saw Nick use Paasche brand airbrushes.  On the Woodturning Cruise, Nick used cheap $20 Harbor Freight airbrushes.  Nick uses more than one airbrush at a time.  One for each color and sealer.

Note: If you want a good Binh Pho style airbrush then you need to get something like an Iwata Hi-Line HP-CH for $250. Then you have  spend a lot of time cleaning it because it was  big bucks.

After doing some research I decided to go with a $80 Paasche VL airbrush.   Below, is what I ordered from Amazon.  All prices are on 12/2018.

I really like the Passche VL airbrush.  It is easy and fast to clean. I load each of the glass jars with a different color stain or sealer. Then I can easily switch back and forth between the colors and sealer by swapping jars.  I use the cup that comes with the airbrush and a lab squeeze bottle of denatured alcohol to clean the brush between colors or sealer.

Or

1st Hollow Form on New Powermatic 3520C Lathe

1st Hollow Form on New Powermatic 3520C Lathe Photo: 1st Hollow Form on New Powermatic 3520C

The second thing I turned on my new Powermatic 3520C Lathe was a nice cherry hollow form.

Here is the hollow form, all done.

I put a high gloss finish on this piece. Gloss sells. But, it made getting a good photo a real pain. To many reflections.

7-1/2" diameter. 7-3/4" tall. Cherry wood.

The blank was a little out of balance. But, it did NOT give me any trouble. My new Powermatic 3520C lathe, handled it, no problem.

Note: Full disclosure. I also have a big VB36 lathe that I use for most of my hollow form turning. Turning this hollow form on my new Powermatic 3520C was a "one off" kind of thing. I did it, to check out the new lathe and write this blog entry.

Photo: Me and My New Powermatic 3520C Lathe Me and My New Powermatic 3520C Lathe

Here I am all suited up and all ready to go. Standing in front of my new Powermatic 3520C Lathe.

For more info about my new lathe see "My New Powermatic 3530C Lathe Verses My Old Powermatic 3520B" blog entry.

I really like the color of the Powermatic Turning Smock that I am wearing. Over time I have owned a lot of smocks. I have found that the AAW Turning Smock is the best design for me. It is light weight, well ventilated, sheds wood savings easily and comes out of the washing machine, looking like new. However, I really hate the blue and other dark colors! The PM smock is the same design and fabric. Just a lot better color.

Well, there is one difference / problem. The PM smock zips on the left. Most men's clothes in the US and the AAW smock zip on the right. I had to purchase my own PM smock on the web. The $50 price is the same as the AAW smock. Shipping is not cheap.

Photo: Cherry Blank Between Centers Cherry Blank Between Centers

Here is the cherry wood log blank that I started with. My silver 1 foot ruler is on top.

The blank was roughly 10" long. The blank was a bit oval and thus the diameter was difficult to measure. Sort of 9" diameter.

You can also see that the blank had a big knot in the side from a branch. I really like the interesting grain pattern this added to the finished piece. See first photo above. However, it can make the piece hard to hollow when your hollowing tool bounces around due to the hard spot created by the grain around the knot.

You can also see I am driving the blank with my big gold drive center from Stubby Lathe USA. They are no longer available. If I wanted to purchase one today, I would have to go with a Elio-DR Safe Drive or Big Bite Chuck Spur. See my "Best Drive Center" blog entry.

You can also see that the chain saw cut on the end of the log was a bit off. It is not very square. This and the knot are going to make the blank out of balance when I turn the lathe on. See next photo.

Photo: Powermatic 3520C Stability Video Powermatic 3520C Stability Video

I was pleasantly surprised to find my new lathe was able to spin this sort of out of balance log at 500 rpm. Almost not problem. See the video at right. Take note of the glass of water on the bed of the lathe.

The log was sort of out of balance due to the NON square cut on the end of the log and the bit knot. See previous photo.

I strongly believe that all lathes can be vastly improved by adding 200+ lbs of weight to a shelf on the bottom of lathe. This makes them run a lot more stable. In this video I have NOT added any weight yet. Thus I was not expecting it to be this stable.

I will be adding a shelf with 200+ lbs of weight to this lathe. I have already done it. Stay turned for a future blog entry.

Note: One data point does not really prove anything. Your mileage may vary! I am sure my mileage will vary. Maybe the piece is not really all that far out of balance.

Photo: Movable Control Box. Movable Control Box.

This photo shows how I moved the new movable control box for the lathe. While I was truing up the end of the log. I am getting ready to mount a face plate.

Photo: Trued Up End Trued Up End

This photo shows the end of the log after I trued it up. I am getting ready to mount it on a face plate.

Photo: Oneway Banjo Oneway Banjo

The new PM banjo that comes with the new PM 3520C is better than the old PM 3520B banjo. But, I still really do not like the offset design of the PM banjo.

I strongly prefer the NON offset design of the Oneway banjo shown in this photo. It allows me to get the banjo in there with out having to crank the quill in the tailstock way out. For more info see Oneway Banjo section of "My New Powermatic 3530C Lathe Verses My Old Powermatic 3520B" blog entry.

The stock PM tool rest is ok. But, it is to tall to fit in a Oneway banjo. PM make their banjos extra low to accommodate there tool rest.

The tool rest you see here is the one I prefer. It was custom made for me. It is very similar to the one I really love on my big VB36 lathe. I like my tool rests to be at least a 1/2" wide and almost flat on top so I can feel when my bowl gouge is straight across on top of the rest. I also prefer really beefy and strong tool rests. So there is absolutely no flex or vibration out near the end of the rest. Thus I like my rests to be made out of a 1/2" thick by 2" wide STEEL bar. With a 1" post that slopes off at 45 degrees, 3/4" of an inch below the top of the rest. With a really big and beefy weld between the post and steel bar. I like to have 4", 9" and 14" long tool rests for each lathe.

I do NOT like the Oneway tool rests or the Robust tools rests with the silly little round bar on top. "To each is own!"

Photo: Attach Oneway Face Plate Attach Oneway Face Plate

This photo shows me attaching a Oneway face plate after truing up the end of the blank.

I strongly prefer to use face plates rather than chucks. With proper screws they are the most secure way to mount something on the lathe.

I like to use #14 stainless steel sheet metal screws. I prefer square drive. www.mcmaster.com item #93945A071 for 1.5 inch long screws. I can easily drive the screws in with a Cordless Impact Driver. You can see my Makita impact driver in the background.

Photo: The Powermatic Face Plate The Powermatic Face Plate

This photos shows the 3" PM face plate that comes with a PM 3520C lathe, on the left. A Oneway 4" face plate is on the right.

The thin little crappy cast iron face plates that come with most modern lathes, are worthless. They will crack almost instantly if you really screw them down with decent screws. The PM face plate is thick and beefy. Thus it is ok. A big step above what comes with most lathes. I some times use it. But, for this size log the bigger 4" Oneway face plate is a better choice.

Photo: Blank on Face plate Blank on Face plate

Here is the blank mounted on a face plate. Ready to turn.

I ALWAYS use the tailstock when possible for safety. It takes like 20 seconds to put the tailstock in place. Going to the hospital to get stitched up takes hours!

Photo: Round Blank Round Blank

Here is what the blank looked like after I roughed it down to round.

I like to use a John Jordan 5/8" V Bowl Gouge to rough turn things. John's V shape is deep and wide open at the top. It just seems to work better than anything else I have tried. It cuts really fast and consistently throws a chip that I can easily aim to land directly in my trash can.

For more info see "My Modern Woodturning Tool Set" blog entry.

Photo: Rough Shape Rough Shape

Here is what the blank looked like after I roughed in a shape.

I always start on the left. I remove a chuck of wood with a 45 degree angle cut this is big enough to get me back above the screws. This way I known, latter when I turn my finial shape, the the bottom will NOT end up in the screws. Then I extend the 45 degree cut a little more to the right when my bottom shape will allow it.

I work on the right, after I get the left roughed in. I removed a chunk of wood on the right with a 45 degree angle cut when my top shape will allow it. Then I true up the top of the blank and make it a little concave.

I usually do this step using my Jordan 5/8" V Bowl Gouge.

Photo: Finished Outside Shape Finished Outside Shape

Here is the finished outside shape.

I find that cutting the shape using the "wing" on a 5/8" Ellsworth Bowl Gouge works best. I cut the rim detail using my 1/2" Hosaluk Double Bevel Detail Gouge.

In the past, I would then shear scrape with my Ellsworth Bowl Gouge or an Al Stirt style shear scrapper. In really green wood, I have progressed to the point where I can now cut the outside shape cleaner using my 1/2" Hosaluk Double Bevel Detail Gouge. You can see in the photo that the surface is pretty good. I have NOT sanded it yet.

Photo: 7-1/2 7-1/2″ Diameter

The finished piece ended up being roughly 7-1/2" in diameter.

You can clearly see in this photo that the pith ended up being off center. Some people would be upset by this. I have decided I really don't care. I just don't want the pith IN the rim. Anywhere else in the top, where it will get cut OUT, when I hollow is OK.

The pith regardless of where it is (on center or off center) in the bottom will always cause cracks. It will also, always cause some distortion in the rim. I don't really care. I have learned to love the distortion it adds. It makes each piece unique and more artistic.

Photo: 7-3/4 7-3/4″ Tall

Here is a nice side profile shot. The finished piece ended up being roughly 7-3/4" tall.

Photo: To Drill or Not To Drill To Drill or Not To Drill

I always drill out the center on my pieces using a 1" diameter morse tapper shank drill. The drill mounts directly in the tail stock via the morse taper shank.

Drilling out the center, establishes my inside bottom depth and makes the hollowing process a lot easier and faster.

The funny copper thing attached to the drill is my laser guide. It makes drilling the hole to the correct depth, fast and easy. A red laser points down from the green tip. It shows precisely where the tip of the drill is inside of the blank. You can not see the red laser beam in the photo. But you can see the red dot from the laser on the very tip of the drill if you look closely.

Photo: Hollowing Rig with TV Hollowing Rig with TV

This photo shows my Hollowing Rid with TV Camera and TV Screen.

I ALWAYS hollow with the lathe running in reverse. Thus the cutter head in this photo is set up to cut on the right side.

I use a Trent Bosch Hollowing Stabilizer rig with a Rolly Munro cutter head.

I really love the Bosch Stabilizer. Because, it takes all the stress out of holding the hollowing tool level and it does not let the hollowing tool twist or roll over. However, It DOES NOT restrict my movement. I still have a tool handle, like on my bowl gouges and free hand hollowing tools. I can keep that tool handle up against my body, unlock my knees and use my body to hollow out a nice shape. Just like, I do when turning a bowl. Just like, I have practiced over and over again, while learning to turn a bowl. I don't like any of the other hollowing rigs (Jamieson, Elbo, Monster, etc) because they restrict my movement and I have to maneuver the tools using just my arms. I can't use my body.

I use a "Munro Hollower II" cutter head with a carbide cutter. I purchase the cutter head from Steve Sinner and supply my own custom 3/4" steel bar. I like the older "Munro Hollower II" rather than the new "Munro Wundercutt 10 Hollower". The new one does not work as well for this application.

I have created my own TV system. Finding the right camera is a HUGE problem. Thus I recommend people purchase the Trent Bosch Visualizer system. It is not cheap at $650. However, making your own system may approach this cost after a few miss steps, etc.

For more info on my hollowing rig click here.

Photo:  TV System in Action TV System in Action

This photo shows the TV system in action. In the lower half, you can see the Munro cutter head is just starting to hollow out the top of the piece. Pointed to by magenta arrow in photo.

On the TV you can see part of the cutter head is exposed. The other part is represented by the blue line on screen. Pointed to by the blue arrow on photo.

The red line is my target wall thickness. Pointed to by the red arrow in photo. The red line is 1/4" away from blue line in real life down on the tool rest. Up on the TV monitor it is more like 1/2" due to magnification of TV camera and monitor.

The green arrow on photo points to the tiny TV camera.

My TV camera works best in low light. So I normally shut most of the overhead lights off. The bright light on the piece in photo is for the photo.

I draw the red and blue lines on the TV screen with white board dry erase markers. They did not show up well in my photo with the bright light for photo. Thus I enhanced them (redrew them) in Photoshop. I also added the red, blue, green and magenta arrows in Photoshop.

Photo: Cutter Head on TV Cutter Head on TV

This photo shows the completely hidden cutter head represented by blue and red lines on TV screen. The blue line is the outline of the cutter head. The red line is my target wall thickness.

In the real world, after I draw the red and blue lines on the TV screen they ALWAYS move in sync with the cutter head. Because the TV camera moves in sync with the cutter head. i.e. the TV camera is always directly over and pointing down at the cutter head. Back up 2 photos to see TV camera mount. For more info see "Trent Bosch Visualizer" on YouTube.

In this case, I want my finial wall thickness to be roughly 3/16". Thus I have drawn the red line so it is 1/4" away from blue line. I will rough the wall thickness to 1/4" by going to the outside of the red line. Then. I will come back with a finish cut to the inside of the red line. The red line on screen is roughly 1/16" of wall thickness wide. Thus I will end up with a 3/16" finial wall thickness.

Note: I enhanced the red and blue lines in this photo in Photoshop.

Photo: Inside of Hollow Form Inside of Hollow Form

This photo shows the inside of the hollow form after I have hollowed it out partially. The rim is pretty much finished. The side walls are still a little thick. The depth hole, I drilled in the center is still visible.

Photo: Let There be Light Let There be Light

In this photo I am double checking the wall thickness with a $10 Jansjo LED light from Ikea. The really bright part of the piece is the white sap wood on the Cherry log. The darker part is the brown heart wood. The WET sap wood always transmits more light than the heart wood.

Everything looks good here. I am done hollowing.

This photo also shows my normal almost dark lighting in the room. You can see on the TV screen that my TV camera is real happy with this level of light.

Photo: Ready to Sand Ready to Sand

This photo shows the bottom cleaned up. Ready to be sanded and then parted

I used a bowl gouge to start finishing up the bottom. I removed any extra wood I left earlier to support the piece while hollowing. Then I sand.

Photo: Sanded and Buffed Sanded and Buffed

This photo shows the piece after it has been sanded to 220 then buffed with synthetic steel wood and a towel.

I started with a green (aka soaking wet) log. But, in this case, it was not to wet. Thus I got away with sanding and buffing it on the lathe.

First I sand with red 80 and 120 grit Sia Soft cloth & foam back sand paper from "Vince's Wooden Wonders". I use 9 or 10 3" x 4" pieces of Sia Soft. At first, each piece jams very quickly with a short of brown mush because the wood is wet. You get brown mush rather than saw dust. However, friction dries the SURFACE of the wood as you go. Eventually the sand paper comes away almost clean.

Then, I switch to 3" round Mirka AutoNet Mesh sanding disks from "Buff Daddy". I sand thru 120, 180 and then 220 grits. I never go beyond 220. I buff beyond 220! AutoNet is very similar to AbraNet made by Mirka. AutoNet is cheaper. Otherwise I can't tell the difference.

Then, I buff with Carl Ford Medium and Fine synthetic steel wool (nylon mesh pads, scotch brite pads, etc). I prefer the Silicon Carbide stuff that is for use on metals. I use it on wood. No problem. I get it from McMaster Carr, item # 4659A17 and 4659A18. Mcmaster calls it ulta, super dupper, extra fine or something crazy like that. I just call it medium and fine.

Finally, I buff with a blue Surgical Cotton Huck Towel from Amazon.

Photo: It Looks Good! It Looks Good!

Another photo of the piece after it has been sanded and buffed.

The circular grain on the right is the knot from the branch. See photos at beginning. The white on the left is the sap wood. The brown is the heart wood.

Photo: Jam Chuck Jam Chuck

This photo shows a jam chuck that is the perfect size for my stretch wrap plastic trick. Just a little smaller than the piece. See next photo.

Photo: Stretch Wrapped Stretch Wrapped

This photo shows the piece being held on the jam chuck via stretch wrap.

This will allow me to finish the bottom with out a vacuum chuck. I try to avoid using my vacuum chuck system when the piece is wet green wood. Because, the vacuum sucks the water unevenly out of the piece.

You can purchase stretch wrap in 4" wide rolls from local office supply store.

Photo: Bottom Ready for Sanding Bottom Ready for Sanding

This photo shows the piece after I removed the face plate and cut away the excess wood with a 1/2" bowl gouge. I like to use a 1/2" bowl gouge with an Al Stirt grind to remove most of the wood. I then use my 1/2" Hosaluk Double Bevel Detail Gouge to cut off the last little nib and finish up.

Photo: Bottom Ready For Finish Bottom Ready For Finish

This photos shows the bottom all sanded and buffed. Ready for finish.

Photo: Ready for Finish Ready for Finish

This photo shows the piece all done. Ready for a finish.

Photo: Oh Man Look at that Rust! Oh Man Look at that Rust!

This photo shows why some people waste a ton of money on stupid stainless steels ways for their lathe. They think this is rust. NO WAY! This is not rust.

I was turning a nice green (i.e. wet) cherry log. The sap in a cherry log is a thin brown colored liquid. When you turn a wet cherry log on a lathe the sap comes flying out and lands on the ways. When it drys on the ways it looks like this. Yea, it may look like rust. But, it is not!

You can easily clean this mess off with a little WD40, a chunk of synthetic steel wool, and a paper towel. See next photo.

You have to clean this mess up EVEN if you have stainless steel ways! Yea, that's right! Stainless ways DO NOT stop the mess from happening! You have to clean the ways even if they are stainless. So why waste a ton of money on stainless?

Stainless steel ways cost big bucks. I can purchase a ton of WD40 for a lot less.

Photo: All Cleaned Up All Cleaned Up

This photos shows the ways of the lathe after I cleaned off the brown cherry wood sap. It took like 2 minutes.