Author Topic: Best wood for bowls?  (Read 267 times)

Offline Vestas

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Best wood for bowls?
« on: August 17, 2019, 03:34:37 PM »
Hi
Ive been turning for 6 months or so and have learnt a great deal from talking to others and from this forum. I purchase a variety of different woods to try turning and have realised the vast difference 
Between the types of wood and the way that some finish better than others etc

I had a real issue with a piece of lime today (first time using lime) with end grain that simply wouldn’t get any better despite the tools I tried etc. In the end I turned to some advice I was given a few months ago by Pete Twisted trees and used superglue as a finish- with a bit of careful finishing it’s turned out really well with a great finish.

What i your opinions is the type of wood that you achieve a great finish with that has the least end grain issue?

Offline Les Symonds

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Re: Best wood for bowls?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2019, 04:43:55 PM »
Lime is prized by wood carvers because it is fairly soft and featureless, which is more or less why most wood turners don't bother with it.

With hard, dense timbers the wood fibres immediately ahead of the cutting edge, hold firm and support those fibres which are already being cut or sheared by the cutting edge, so fibres cut relatively well. However, with soft timbers of low density, support from neighbouring fibres is minimal, so the fibres being cut/sheared by the cutting edge are more prone to being pulled out of the surface rather than being cleanly cut or sheared away. Do yourself a favour....put timbers like lime away until you have perfected light, shearing cuts and good sharpening of your tools.

There is no one, specific timber that you should use, but for now, just stick to medium density timbers, such as sycamore, beech etc; they are both good timbers for beginners (there are many more)
Les
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Offline Twisted Trees

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Re: Best wood for bowls?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2019, 05:55:03 PM »
Have to agree with Les on this one, Lime is boring! when making bowls the more interesting the grain the more "features" you can get away with  ;) but also the more special the end piece and lime just doesn't cut it for me.

I am impressed you managed to use CA glue as a finish on a bowl! I have used it on pens and small spindle ornaments, also used it to harden punky grain before cutting, but think if I attempted it as a finish on something as big as a bowl I would still be stuck to it  :)

I missed club this month, got my dates mixed up and had to be in Chepstow, put 19th Sept. in your diary that is the next club night, I will try to be there...

Offline seventhdevil

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Re: Best wood for bowls?
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2019, 06:12:45 PM »
there is no best wood for turning as everyone likes different things.

if you want an education and don't mind coming to slough at J7 of the M4 then i'll happily help you learn about more timbers than you will ever turn or most likely even see in your lifetime.

Offline Paul Hannaby

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Re: Best wood for bowls?
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2019, 06:14:43 PM »
Lime is very soft which is why the carvers like it! Unless you have properly sharp tools and a good technique, there will be torn fibres, particularly in the end grain.

Try some beech, sycamore or ash for something much more forgiving but still relatively easy to cut with sharp tools.

Offline Twisted Trees

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Re: Best wood for bowls?
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2019, 06:17:08 PM »
there is no best wood for turning as everyone likes different things.

if you want an education and don't mind coming to slough at J7 of the M4 then i'll happily help you learn about more timbers than you will ever turn or most likely even see in your lifetime.

Well worth the visit, Seventhdevil supplied the cherry bowl blanks I brought back for you, he knows his timbers and has a very interesting collection to rummage through.

Offline GBF

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Re: Best wood for bowls?
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2019, 08:23:10 PM »
More important than the wood you use is correctly profiled and sharpened tools combined with good Techniche.
Tuition from a professional Woodturner is a good start or failing that there is a very good book on Woodturning written by Mark Baker it also contains a 3 hour video  It is on Amazon and Titled Woodturning A Craftsman's Guide.

Regards George
The man that never made a mistake never made anything

Offline Derwent Woodturning club

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Re: Best wood for bowls?
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2019, 09:30:36 AM »
I had a real issue with a piece of lime today (first time using lime) with end grain that simply wouldn’t get any better despite the tools I tried etc.
Hi Vestas,
Along with the earlier replies, I just wonder from your comment, if you are turning a bowl from end grain, i.e. the wood fibres running parallel to the lathe bed. Although this can be done, if is not normal practise for bowls. For those, you use a blank with the fibres at right angles to the lathe bed. This means you have far fewer end grain areas to deal with.
I apologise if you were already aware of this but it is a common error made by many newcomers to turners, and the general public who think 'bowls are round, trees are round, so a bowl comes from a slice across the trunk'
Regards,
Derwent Woodturning Club

Offline Vestas

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Re: Best wood for bowls?
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2019, 04:52:11 PM »
there is no best wood for turning as everyone likes different things.

if you want an education and don't mind coming to slough at J7 of the M4 then i'll happily help you learn about more timbers than you will ever turn or most likely even see in your lifetime.


I may well take you up on that offer ! Many thanks

Offline Vestas

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Re: Best wood for bowls?
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2019, 04:55:14 PM »
I had a real issue with a piece of lime today (first time using lime) with end grain that simply wouldn’t get any better despite the tools I tried etc.
Hi Vestas,
Along with the earlier replies, I just wonder from your comment, if you are turning a bowl from end grain, i.e. the wood fibres running parallel to the lathe bed. Although this can be done, if is not normal practise for bowls. For those, you use a blank with the fibres at right angles to the lathe bed. This means you have far fewer end grain areas to deal with.
I apologise if you were already aware of this but it is a common error made by many newcomers to turners, and the general public who think 'bowls are round, trees are round, so a bowl comes from a slice across the trunk'
Hi Paul
Thanks for the advise but I’m past that bit on my wood turning journey - I have turned 100+ bowls now and have only had issues with a couple - the end grain on the two side of the blanks was really bad on this particular piece -