Alan Truman 11 November 2010

For his first visit to our club Alan turned two projects, an octagonal bowl and a heart shaped dish modelled on a Thornton’s chocolate box.See Alan's Photos

1. Octagonal bowl

For this Alan used a maple bowl blank measuring approx. 8” to 10” diameter by 2” thick, which had eight equal edges cut round it that he had pre-sanded. Before mounting it on the lathe he explained how to measure the edges accurately:

  1. Mark the centre and draw a line right across the blank, passing through the centre
  2. Set a compass to the required radius and, with the point in the centre mark, draw a circle round the edge
  3. Set the compass to a measurement that is longer than the radius but shorter than the diameter of the circle and put the point of the compass on the point where the line across the middle crosses the circle and draw a semi circle.
  4. Repeat this on the other end of the line then draw another line through the middle, passing through where the semi circles cross
  5. Set the compass to a measurement that is shorter than the radius of the circle, position it on the outer end of each line and draw a semi circle from each point
  6. Again, draw a couple of lines through the middle, passing through where these semi circles cross.
  7. You will now have six lines which divide the bowl into eight even segments. Draw a straight line between each of these lines where they cross the outside of the circle and cut them off on the bandsaw

He mounted it on the lathe with a screw chuck then used a bowl gouge to tidy the centre which he sanded, then cut a recess using a parting tool. He turned away the middle of the recess with a spindle gouge, sanded it and used a parting tool to turn some decorative circles. With a bowl gouge he cut a foot around the recess then started to turn away some bulk outside the foot, working towards the edge of the bowl, forming a gentle curve as he went. He explained that the idea is to have the same curve on the top edge of the bowl as on the underneath, so he took care to ensure he didn’t lose too much of the edge. He sanded the curve, first by hand then with a power sander, working down to 240 grit. Using a cloth and with the lathe turned off, he applied a coat of cellulose sanding sealer mixed 50/50 with cellulose thinners. Once he was happy it was applied evenly he started the lathe and ran the cloth over it very gently, taking care not to press any lines into it. To do the outer parts he wrapped to cloth round a soft brush so he didn’t catch his fingers. He applied a second coat of sanding sealer in the same way, then applied a coat of Briwax, using ‘0000’ wire wool and, with the lathe running, he ran the wire wool over the surface to blend the polish in. Finally he polished it with a piece of soft cloth, again wrapping it round the brush to polish the edges. (See photos AT_01, 02 & 03).

Alan turned the bowl round on the lathe and mounted it on a chuck, opening the jaws out into the recess. He trued up the top surface then marked a ring where he wanted the edge of the bowl to start and, holding the bowl gouge with the bevel at a 90˚ angle to the timber he made the first cut into the bowl, on this line. Before continuing to turn away the bowl he turned the curve on the rim to mirror the curve underneath. Now he started to turn away the middle of the bowl, making every cut a practice final cut and regularly checking the depth. Once he was happy with the shape and had taken the final cut he sanded it with a power sander, working through the grits to 320 grit then he just touched the sharp edge of the bowl with a piece of 240 grit so it wouldn’t cut him. As before, he finished it with a couple of coats of sanding sealer and polished it with Briwax. Before taking it off the lathe he loosened the chuck slightly, turned it round a bit on the chuck then re-tightened it to press out the bumps made by the chuck. (See photos AT_04, 05, 06 & 07).

2. Heart Shaped Dish

For this project Alan had a sycamore blank which was 1½” thick and had been cut to a heart shape and sanded round the edges. Before mounting it on the lathe he explained how to find the centre:

  1. Draw a line from the middle of the top to the point
  2. Hold it anywhere on the edge, between thumb and forefinger, let it dangle against a square and draw a line down through what looks like the centre
  3. Repeat this, holding it at several different points and mark in the middle of where all the lines cross.

He mounted it on the lathe on a screw chuck and turned the centre 2½” to make it concave, sanded it and marked a spigot which he cut with a parting tool. He then finished the spigot with a simple pattern of a few rings. Next he turned away the base to the depth of the spigot and carefully turned a gentle curve, taking care not to catch the outside edge. To help him judge where to start the cut he made a mark on the tool rest to indicate the outer edge of the dish. When he was happy with the shape he used a spindle gouge to turn away any tool marks then using a power sander he sanded it down to 240 grit and removed any surplus dust with a brush before treating it with two coats of sanding sealer and polishing it with Briwax. (See photos AT_08, 09 & 10).

Alan turned it round on the lathe and mounted the spigot in a chuck. Using a reference mark on the tool rest he started turning the inside, working from the outside edge to the centre, but leaving the bulk of the timber in the middle to give it some rigidity. He carefully turned the outer surface, aiming for an even thickness, regularly checking the thickness and marking any thicker areas with a pencil so he could see where to cut. Once he was happy with the outer areas he turned away the middle, keeping it flat to start with then carefully turning it down to the correct thickness. Unfortunately, when taking the final cut he put a spiral mark into the outer area which he wasn’t able to turn away, so he started sanding with 60 grit to get rid of the worst of it then moved to 120 grit and did some ‘local’ sanding on any marks that were left, with the lathe switched off. He then worked through to 240 grit and dulled the sharp edge with a quick wipe of 240 grit. He finished it, as before, with sanding sealer and Briwax and turned it round in the jaws to get rid of the little blips before removing it from the lathe. (See photos AT_11 to AT_16).

Alan’s Top Tip Before taking a bowl off the lathe loosen the chuck slightly, turn it round a bit on the chuck then re-tighten it to press out the four little bumps made by the chuck.

I thought these were two very interesting and different projects that are easily achievable at home.

Lorrie FlanneryTop of Page

SWC club member