advice on preparing blanks with chainsaw?

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advice on preparing blanks with chainsaw?

Postby goldsmithexile » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:35 pm

Can any body offer advice on roughing out bowl blanks with a chainsaw? I didnt find anything on a search, and online videos seem to not get beyond making a octagon shape. I was wondering how the cuts should be made, in what order etc, any useful tips please? :D
Yesterday I acquired some 18 inch diameter beech, and alder which was only an inch or so smaler. LOL if I'd gone to the yard 10 minutes later the alder would of been split down to firewood....Just happened to spot it waiting in line for the splitter while I was loading the beech into the trailer.
cheers Jonathan :D
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Re: advice on preparing blanks with chainsaw?

Postby gavin » Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:39 pm

It is extremely dangerous to do this with chainsaw unless you have plenty of training and experience and the right saw.

If you have a powered lathe, you'd be FAR better to use that to rough the blanks on that.

No limb or life is worth the risk of using a chainsaw

Even chainsawing the blank to the octagon stage may not be at all safe. There is comment elsewhere on bowl-blank preparation with chainsaw. Robin Wood's opinion about" bygonetoni" 's ( Tony Rossi) youtube videos of Tony using his foot to hold the work whilst sawing are informative. To paraphrase Robin: if you value your foot, don't put it near the saw to hold the work.
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Re: advice on preparing blanks with chainsaw?

Postby robin wood » Sat Nov 21, 2009 2:51 pm

My thoughts and further discusion here viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1057&p=6507&hilit=chainsaw#p6507
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Re: advice on preparing blanks with chainsaw?

Postby JonnyP » Sat Nov 21, 2009 3:17 pm

robin wood wrote:My thoughts and further discusion here viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1057&p=6507&hilit=chainsaw#p6507

Interesting read, that thread.. I am only beginning in all this but I have found a chop saw very useful for rounding a blank. A decent saw doesn't take long anyway. I have thought about using a chainsaw, but I don't think I will now..
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Re: advice on preparing blanks with chainsaw?

Postby goldsmithexile » Sat Nov 21, 2009 6:05 pm

Well I roughed out 4 or 5 blanks yesterday without any mishap, good job I didnt read this first :shock: .
I split the logs in 2 with wedges, then ripped the pith centres away with the froe. Then trued up the surface to get a flat, then turned it over and placed it on the chopping block. I didnt "cut" the waste off as such. I made shallow cuts like radial spokes from the centre to the edge like the same radius as the log. I made the cuts spaced about evvery 2 inches round or so. Then Used the axe to pop the waste off. The shallow cuts made that part of the job much faster and less tiring. When I removed all traces of the chainsaw kerfs, I knew I was pretty much "there". BUT I think I need a slightly heavier axe with a long handle AND some sizable iron dogs to hold the blanks on my chopping block-in for a penny in for a pound..... Mr Jordan used a hefty looking axe judging from his photo! I think that would speeden the job up considerably.......Anything that reduces the strain on my hands :D is welcome Thanks for the sobering advice any way.
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Re: advice on preparing blanks with chainsaw?

Postby Robin Fawcett » Sat Nov 21, 2009 7:49 pm

goldsmithexile wrote: BUT I think I need a slightly heavier axe with a long handle AND some sizable iron dogs to hold the blanks on my chopping block


Yes - I've just got the Gransfors Broad axe and it's perfect for the job.

Image

I've also used the chainsaw for roughing out blanks and had some near misses.
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Re: advice on preparing blanks with chainsaw?

Postby goldsmithexile » Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:09 pm

Nice axe Robin, I wish I could afford one of those swedish ones :D . But I do have a couple of rusty old felling axe heads about 4 or 5 pound weight each, which someone gave me in return for a job done. Just needs a new ash handle.....I reckon the extra weight will mean I can do the facets much quicker, especially as the logs are up to 18 inch diameter. Just out of interest how do you support the blank when you do the axe working? To do the job with 2 hands on the axe obviuosly I would need some sort of fixed support.....
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Re: advice on preparing blanks with chainsaw?

Postby Mark Allery » Sun Nov 22, 2009 1:43 pm

Hello Jonathon,

I do use a chainsaw to prepare my bowl blanks - but then I have a lot more experience with the chainsaw than I do with an axe. I clamp the blank firmly to a bench surface - I use an old work bench for the task - and this makes the whole process much safer. I only use small simple downward cuts and a small saw, again this all helps improve safety. It is necessary to put down the saw and reclamp the blank 4 times during this process but it's quick and easy and much better than trying to cut an unstable piece of wood.

I wrote a little about preparing bowl blanks on my blog recently as I've been trying out a small grinder mounted chain, called a lancelot. I've also tried an arbortech as well. I now use the sawchain to prepare the octagonal shape and the lancelot to finish the blank. I have made a couple of bowls with the lancelot but it's not as much fun as turning, though if I find some weird wood I would certainly use the lancelot.

http://woodlandantics.blogspot.com/2009/09/bowl-blanks-with-lancelot.html

All the usual statements with regard to chainsaw safety apply. But then they also apply to the axe and to the lancelot as well.

Incidentally I saw a friend, Wayne, at a show recently prepare a bowl blank using a steel wedge and a beetle - a bit like crude carving - it was remarkably fast and efficient. I certainly intend to give it a try sometime soon as it seemed intrinsically safer and easier than using an axe.


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Re: advice on preparing blanks with chainsaw?

Postby goldsmithexile » Sun Nov 22, 2009 6:11 pm

What surprised me was reading about the Irish turner where he describes the bowl turning process and the use of the "loom". He reckoned it took "1 1/2 to 2 hours" to rough out the blank......seems like a lot of time and effort for 4d? There have to be ways to speed it up. I have an idea for a simple chopping bench that would hold half logs solidly on their side, fixed upon a tempory driven in pin, so that a hefty 2 handed chop wouldnt dislodge it, just rotate it a little each time, always choping downward to the surface of the chopping block.
I had a little look at your blog, the laneclot tool looks like it could be good to apply carved textures and patterns.....
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Re: advice on preparing blanks with chainsaw?

Postby Stanleythecat » Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:25 pm

Would it be too purist to say that if you are using a chainsaw to rough blanks you might as well be using a power lathe to turn it?

At what point after felling do we resign ourselves to hand tools and the peace of the wood? Don't get me wrong, I use a chainsaw a lot but when it comes to green woodwork aren't we here because we have a passion for traditional skills and mastering the intuitive skills of our not so distant past?
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Re: advice on preparing blanks with chainsaw?

Postby Donald Todd » Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:57 pm

There are a variety of reasons for green woodworking. Depending on what you use; if you scrounge your wood like me and use no power tools, you can say it's cheap, quiet, clean, easy and safe when compared with, say power turning. Some hand methods, such as cleaving, are more energy efficient than the powered equivalent and give a different, often better, result. Tree felling is probably more efficient using a chain saw. With a few inexpensive tools and self made jigs etc, you're more self reliant and I like being dependent primarily on my own ingenuity. I am not, however, trying to make a living out of it.

I have only just started bowl turning and find roughing out the stumbling block. I will not be resorting to power tools.
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Re: advice on preparing blanks with chainsaw?

Postby Mark Allery » Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:09 pm

Stanleythecat wrote:Would it be too purist to say that if you are using a chainsaw to rough blanks you might as well be using a power lathe to turn it?

At what point after felling do we resign ourselves to hand tools and the peace of the wood? Don't get me wrong, I use a chainsaw a lot but when it comes to green woodwork aren't we here because we have a passion for traditional skills and mastering the intuitive skills of our not so distant past?


It would be too purist for me. But then I think that everyone should be allowed to make their own choices. I choose to use a pole lathe because I really enjoy using it, but that's not to say I have anything against power tools or power lathes, quite the reverse in fact, and I certainly appreciate and admire the work produced by woodturners using power lathes. I use a 4WD and/or a tractor to extract the logs and a chainsaw to fell the tree and cross cut so I am quite relaxed about the point at which I stop using the chainsaw. I have tried carving bowls with the chainsaw and with a chain attachment for the grinder, but I don't seem to get the same enjoyment from doing this that I get from turning the bowl on the pole lathe. So that is my own particular choice.

Having said that I do plan to get more proficient at producing blanks by hand, as I do for spindles. But as I am still learning on the bowl turning I can wait awhile yet.

cheers

Mark
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Re: advice on preparing blanks with chainsaw?

Postby goldsmithexile » Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:52 pm

The story of "tarditional methods", as I see it, is that our ancestors were always on the lookout for the quickest, most efficient ways to do tasks (such as convert timber) within the limitations of available technology. When saws came along as and when blacksmiths were able to make the blades, they were accepted as a quick way to cut a log with little waste. Maybe some die hard said I still prefer my traditional bronze axe thank you very much...."traditions" evolve, funnily enough they are never set in stone, as if somehow the traditions belong to the past but this is now. You could be at the start of a tradition or the end of one. Like I said on another post somewhere, if they would of had chainsaws in the 1600's, it would be a "traditional tool" by now.
any way I was happy to use my chainsaw to do bowl blanks and will do so again, its a useful method.
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Re: advice on preparing blanks with chainsaw?

Postby Donald Todd » Thu Nov 26, 2009 9:07 pm

Chain saws apart I think most of us are working in the "tradition" of somewhere between the 7th and 19th Centuries. We are using steel tools!
I think it's the satisfaction of using our hands, albeit at one remove, to produce something useful and/or attractive, that gives such satisfaction.
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Re: advice on preparing blanks with chainsaw?

Postby Stanleythecat » Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:40 pm

Don't get me wrong, I use a chainsaw, I fell trees and sculpt with one too, it's a very useful tool! Just a tad noisy, very antisocial amongst company and should only really be used by a trained hand. I'm not sure I completely agree with the 'traditions can be taken from any time' arguement, I knew as I wrote my previous post that our main passion is the wood we are working on and as such people would have different paths to acheive the same goals but using 'hand tools' has to be part of the skill and enjoyement we reap surely? That and the fact that we can build and maintain our own equipement from what exists around us; who here has turned a guide bar on a pole lathe or forged a chain in the woods... my hand tools run on sandwiches and the odd bar of chocolate if i'm feeling flush!

My father used to jokingly say 'don't do as I do, do as I say'! and whereas I think like a purist and love the idea of the simplicity of hand tools if i'm totally honest I too reach for the saw when it's most convenient... but i'd love not to have to!
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