Skill Builder: For many new turners, finding the right technique can be a little frustrating, and they often end up using scrapers to do most of their turning. This article will help you get more use out of your gouges and rely less on your scrapers for shaping.
There are only three shapes you can produce on a lathe - a flat, a bump or "bead", and a hollow or "cove". You combine these three shapes to produce your desired form. The spindle illustrated, although wildly shaped, only contains combinations of flats, beads and coves. In my last article I discussed the importance of rubbing the bevel (see Basic Techniques, issue #39). But how do you maintain bevel contact when the shape of the work is always changing direction? Practice the techniques below and you will soon see it’s not as difficult as it first seems.
Once the blank has been roughed out and is running true, it's time to start the shaping. The first thing to remember is to always cut "downhill". That is to say, cut from the large diameter to the small diameter. Cutting in the opposite direction brings the cutting edge up under the grain and causes tear out. Whether you want to cut a bead or a cove, it has to be done in steps, creating a space for the chisel to progress into the work.
Cutting a Cove
To cut a cove, begin in the center of the desired cove. Cut a small cove from one side to the center, then from the other side to the center. Continue in this manner bringing the cove to the desired size.
Start with your tool rest about ⅛" below center. Hold the chisel horizontal and perpendicular to the axis of the lathe, with the flute facing the center of the cove. Starting this cut is the most difficult part. The gouge may want to "skate" a bit when you start. If that happens, swing the handle away from the center a bit, start the cut, and then quickly swing the handle back to the start position.
From the start position, make the cut by lowering the handle and twisting it at the same time so the chisel ends up with the handle low and the flute facing up in the center of the cove. Start again on the opposite side and repeat, twisting in the opposite direction. This should be done in one smooth, fluid motion, as if you were scooping the wood out.
Try to get the two sides to meet cleanly at the center of the cove. Changing the rate at which you twist and lower the handle will change the shape and size of the cove. While practicing this cut, make sure that the bevel always stays in contact with the wood.
Starting a cove cut
Steps in turning a cove
Turning a Bead
Turning a bead (or 'rolling a bead') is just the opposite of cutting a cove. Start with the chisel handle low and the flute facing up. Lift the handle and turn the chisel until the handle is horizontal and the flute is facing the side. Work from the center to each side, starting at the large diameter working toward the small diameter (i.e. downhill). Just as with cutting a cove, you must remove material ahead of the cut, so that the chisel has a place to go. If there is a flat on one or both sides of the bead, start by parting down each side to the rough dimension, and then roll the bead between the parts. If you are turning a bead or a ball at the end of a work piece, start by removing the corner and working towards the finished diameter. Just as with turning a cove, you control the size of the bead by changing the rate at which you raise the handle and roll the chisel. When you roll a bead properly, it’s very easy to see how the bevel stays in contact with the work at all times. Turning a flat, whether it is parallel, perpendicular, or at an angle to the axis, can be done in a number of ways. I will discuss some of these techniques, focusing on the skew, in a future issue.
Use of Canadian Woodworking's Website and It's Content
This website is presented with the understanding that:
The authors, editors and related web personnel are not responsible for the results of any actions taken on the basis of information on this website, nor for any errors or omissions;
This website is not engaged in rendering professional advice/services; and
Any and all content submitted by this website's users is in no way an expression of the beliefs or opinions of the owners, webmasters, authors and editors.
Canadian Woodworking disclaims all liability for any claim in relation to:
• any matters or factors outside of its control, including the availability or unavailability of the website and digital content due to the availability of the Internet, or telecommunications or other infrastructure systems; for any reasons including but not limited to power outages and maintenance.
The owners, webmasters, administrators, authors and editors, expressly disclaim all and any liability to any person, whether a user of this website or not, in respect of anything and of the consequences of anything done or omitted to be done by any such person in reliance, whether whole or partial, upon the whole or any part of the contents of this website. Please exercise caution when working with any tools or machinery. Follow common safety rules and precautions as outlined in any manuals related to the equipment being used. If advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.
Use of Canadian Woodworking site and Forum
By posting on this site and forum, the poster grants to Canadian Woodworking Magazine/Website the unrestricted rights to use of the content of the post for any purpose, including, but not limited to, publishing the posted material, including images, in print or electronic form in a future issue or issues of Canadian Woodworking magazine or related Canadian Woodworking products, and to use the post for promotional purposes without further compensation, as well as the right to use the poster's name in a credit along with the post.
CanadianWoodworking never shares, sells or rents your information to any third party without your permission.
This statement explains how we collect information from you and what we do with that information.
This policy does not apply to the practices of companies that CanadianWoodworking.com does not own or control, or to people that CanadianWoodworking.com does not employ or manage.
Information Requests and Use
CanadianWoodworking.com collects personally identifiable information when you use certain CanadianWoodworking.com services, when you visit CanadianWoodworking.com pages, and when you enter promotions or sweepstakes. CanadianWoodworking.com may also receive personally identifiable information from our business partners.
Personally identifying information is information that can be used to identify who you are such as: name, mailing address, email address. To enter certain areas of the site, you will be required to register and provide information about yourself. This information is for the purposes of Canadian Woodworking and helps us to tailor the site to best meet the needs of our audience.
CanadianWoodworking.com also automatically receives and records information on our server logs from your browser including your IP address, CanadianWoodworking.com cookie information and the page you requested.
CanadianWoodworking.com uses information for three general purposes: to customize the advertising and content you see, and to fulfill your requests for certain products and services.
The personal information that we retain is what is provided by you voluntarily. We use it to send you information about Canadian Woodworking and its products or to correspond with you regarding your subscription. If you are a subscriber we need this information to be able to deliver you our product(s) and service your subscription.
By completing a form on this website, you will be able to receive email correspondence from Canadian Woodworking. These emails may include information on upcoming events or special offers for subscribers. If you do not wish to receive email correspondence please email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be removed from our email list. Every email that we send to you will include an "opt-out" from receiving future email correspondence.
Aggregate information is information that cannot identify you personally. We collect information on our subscribers that may be used in summary reports presented to our advertisers. This information helps them to better understand our audience and provide advertisements that are more likely to be of interest to you and your organization.
Our intention is always to gather information that will help us serve you better and never to gather information without your knowledge.
As with most websites, we do log web visits. This information, however, does not have a link to you personally. These logs help us understand the needs of our audience and the areas of our site that you do or do not find useful. When you simply browse our site, no personal information is being collected. We may disclose this non-personal information to third parties such as sponsors, clients or advertisers.
Information Sharing and Disclosure
CanadianWoodworking.com will not sell or rent your personally identifiable information to anyone.
CanadianWoodworking.com will send personally identifiable information about you to other companies or people when:
We have your consent to share the information;
We need to share your information to provide the product or service you have requested;
We need to send the information to companies who work on behalf of CanadianWoodworking.com to provide a product or service to you. (Unless we tell you differently, these companies do not have any right to use the personally identifiable information we provide to them beyond what is necessary to assist us.);
We respond to subpoenas, court orders or legal process; or
We find that your actions on our web sites violate the CanadianWoodworking.com Terms of Service or any of our usage guidelines for specific products or services.
CanadianWoodworking.com may set and access CanadianWoodworking.com cookies on your computer.
Cookies are small text files that most Web sites, including canadianwoodworking.com place on your computer. Cookies help us identify your interests. They also prevent you from having to register repeatedly on canadianwoodworking.com or from repeatedly seeing the same ads.
Third party advertising
If you submit your name through a form on our website to request information from an advertiser or third party, canadianwoodworking.com is not responsible for any marketing or other use of your name by that third party.
In certain areas CanadianWoodworking.com uses industry-standard SSL-encryption to protect data transmissions.
Questions or Suggestions
If you have questions or suggestions please contact us.