Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hooray! The Lathe is back and New Project: The Coffee Wood Bowl/Plans, Discussion, and Photos

Hi Everyone,

Well, I'm as happy as can be-the lathe is back in the shop. I can stop fretting and worrying about it and get back to work, which is exactly we'll do next.

The Coffee Wood Bowl

I've got a friend in St. Paul who asked me to make her a large bowl. We discussed it and she settled on the large block of coffee wood that I bought for my birthday and was saving for just a fun turn at some point:

I've turned coffee wood before. These were several small pieces that I made into salt and pepper shakers last year and it very much reminded me of hickory in terms of hardness and grain pattern. Coffee wood however has a lovely pinkish-orange color and a strong open grain pattern reminiscent of red oak. So I was excited to get going on this and I decided this would be my first project as soon as the lathe came back from repair.

So, I'm going to turn a bowl approximately 11" x 3" out of coffee wood and give it a salad bowl varnish finish.

The weather outside is cool and rainy today and it's perfect turning weather so here we go:

Here is the block on the lathe but before I began turning it. I've drilled a deep tenon on the back of it and I've cut the corners off on the bandsaw. As this is a heavy piece I'm going to turn it between centers and at about 400rpm until the piece is turned round and is balanced better and lighter in weight:

I've stopped the turn and taken a picture just about 5 minutes into the turn. I like to true up large flat surfaces by cutting from the side. I'm far less likely to get a catch this way and it's easier on the end grain with less tearing and pitting the result. In the photo you can see two arrows. I'll true up the side of the blank by cutting to the left and shape the flat bottom by cutting to the right:

Here is the blank after about 30 minutes of cutting. Next I'm going to shape the underside of the bowl and create a foot and a tenon:

Here is the bowl about 20 minutes later. You can clearly see the foot and tenon. Also note the grain pattern. This wood is really turning well-no chipping or tearing. And look at that grain. This is going to be a lovely bowl when it's done:

Here is a side photo of the bowl. I'm going to remove that squarish shoulder on the bowl and leave some extra wood for the rim:

And here is the bowl again without the shoulder:

I've begun shaving down the surface here with a very sharp roughing gouge. This creates very fine shavings called angel hair shavings and it prepares the bowl for sanding:

 This is the bowl after it's been sanded down to 400 grit. I've left the rim alone because I'm going to cut it next:

This is a closeup shot of the rim. I've turned two beads into the surface and prepared the wide area for smoothing. I'll finish the rim when I flip it over for hollowing in a little while:

I've taken the bowl off the lathe and here is the underside of it completed:

Now to hollow it out:

I've flattened the surface of the bowl and we can now see the color and grain pattern. Very pretty:

Now I'm into serious hollowing here. I like to create the walls of bowls but leave the center thick and unturned while I'm working. This helps to dampen the vibration that sets in whilst it's spinning and you can see the center is still intact:

I put down the camera and continued to hollow out the bowl. Here is a photo after about 40 minutes of turning. It still needs the bottom flattened out and the whole surface shaved smooth:

And here is the bowl after the turning is finished. The sides are about 1/2" thick and I think this gives the bowl a good feel in the hand, and if it's ever dropped it's less likely to crack:

Here is a side view. Note the rim:

And here is a photo for the wood fairies:

 Now tomorrow I'll completely sand it smooth and put a first coat of varnish on it. Monday it will get a second coat and if all goes well, I should be able to deliver this fellow by Thursday or Friday. So stay tuned for more photos this week.

Also tomorrow I'll begin the finish work on the poplar bowl I was making last week. See you then.

And also welcome home dear... :)

More later,


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