loving the sun and bowls at the same time!

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loving the sun and bowls at the same time!

Postby grinagog » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:54 am

Hello
I once loved the sun but as summer approaches I am finding that I dont want to see it anymore!

I am a novice at bowl turning, but like many others here have been bitten by the bug.

After turning spindles for some time I decided I wanted to try making my own tools and turn some bowles and plates, with the intension of giving my friends gifts.
I live on the canal in a narrowboat and so many people ask if I sell my work, I dont want to become rich but having the odd couple of pounds would help my very low financial status from time to time!

The problem I am having is that recently when I have turned a bowl or plate, it imediately warps badly or splits...I do not have access to anyware cool, dark and dry...and the hull of the steel boat is going to bake the ware!
I have tralled through this site but dont seem to find the answers I want(or maybe I have missed them?) Its like I want to learn the science of how to extract the sap out of the wood fairly fast so I can sell my work..and not have folk come back saying they have split...and although some people like a rocking bowl or plate...I know some people dont.

Ok here is what I know.
I know to leave the first few years of growth rings out to stop warping..(it doesnt seem to always work?)
I hear maybe using a microwave would get the sap out ? (does this work??)
I hear steaming the bowl/plate would remove the sap(does this work?)
And yes finnaly..storing the work in a cool dark airiated old style shed(not a room in a house) for a month or so maybe the best answer...but I cant seem to access that...and they are drying just too quick.

I feel disheartened that for well over a year I have battled with trying to get this art just right, to see my work distort and split!

I do enjoy this humble craft very much and appreciate this excelent forum for all the advice it has shared!

I would appreciate any help or tips

yours humbly so..
nick

p.s.
I do not have the internet at hand..so replys may be slow!

Here's my setup and a few results!

boat.jpg
not much room!
boat.jpg (94.12 KiB) Viewed 8877 times


bowl-collection.jpg
bowl-collection.jpg (54.04 KiB) Viewed 8877 times


first-plate-01.jpg
first-plate-01.jpg (124.78 KiB) Viewed 8877 times
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Re: loving the sun and bowls at the same time!

Postby robin wood » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:13 pm

Speed of drying is one of the less important factors. Well done for posting pics it helps. I think you would have better success if you used less spalted woods. Most of what you are using is further gone than I would use. Also I would tend to turn a bit thinner.
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Re: loving the sun and bowls at the same time!

Postby grinagog » Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:08 pm

Okay thanks Robin, I shall try cutting thinner in future!


robin wood wrote: I think you would have better success if you used less spalted woods.

Yes I have at the moment been restricted with the wood I have been using and it is old!
Although its hard to get a smoother finnish on the surface I was under the imppression thjat dryer wood wouldnt buckle as easy?

thanks
nick
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Re: loving the sun and bowls at the same time!

Postby robin wood » Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:49 pm

I would stop worrying about "buckling" too. Learn to enjoy movement, it gives life to a bowl where a perfectly round bowl with flat rim is somehow dead. The trick is to learn what it does and work with it rather than against it.
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Re: loving the sun and bowls at the same time!

Postby grinagog » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:14 pm

I just had a great idea! To solve my not so personal angst about bowls and plates rocking on surfaces! And I thought I would share it!

But first of all..yes I do want a good supply of mellowed wood!

This thread first started because a friend of mine made me paranoid about plates and bowls, particularly bowls rocking somewhat whilst full of hot soup...just what are friends for!? ;)

Well I thought if I turn an extended surface rim underneath said vessel, when/if it warps I can then gently cut it straight(maybe with a japan saw?) So then the bottom sits flat on a surface...as personally I do like the top rim warping!

Mmmm, now i feel quite happy about extensive warping....so bring it on sunshine! x

and get back to enjoying being creative!

nick

gifts-to-friends.jpg
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Re: loving the sun and bowls at the same time!

Postby Graeme Fraser » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:38 pm

Ok, I've never turned anything wooden in my life and have only thus far managed to carve two bowls but would using a knife like a Frosts 106 to make minor adjustments to the bottom only be heresy? I mean don't you use a bottoming knife to remove/smooth the last of the core thingy. Would it not be fine to make just a few cuts on the bottom to rectify the rocking even just done as a user preference. This morning, I've been flattening the bottom of a dried Cherry kuksa after it warped and it was no big deal to do but I don't know what the etiquette is with turned bowls. Genteel use of a draw knife even?

P.S. I'd love to live on a narrowboat!
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Re: loving the sun and bowls at the same time!

Postby grinagog » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:22 pm

Hi Graeme

Yes I did have a go with a frost knife on a very warped bowl and im sure it can be done, but I found it hard to even the amount to cut off (maybe im not so dab hand with a knife?).....theres rustic and theres down right making a mess( ..well done by me anyhow! ;)) of something that looked beautiful when first turned!
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Re: loving the sun and bowls at the same time!

Postby paul atkin » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:31 pm

Try turning the bases to a slight hollow, that way they sit better when they warp. Nice looking bowls and plates by the way.
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Re: loving the sun and bowls at the same time!

Postby Stanleythecat » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:12 pm

Fantastic work Nick! Really need to pick this back up again. Could do with some forging advice from you too!

Hope all's well

Leo
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Re: loving the sun and bowls at the same time!

Postby goldsmithexile » Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:36 pm

I did some fairly large alder bowls last year, about 11 inch diametr, 5 inch high, and after a few weeks they changed shape quite dramatically, warped and oval. The walls were about 12 mm. I dont do etiqutte :lol: , so got a sharp smoothing plane and adjusted the base flat, job done. The bowl has dried out completely, with no splits, I used blue behandla stain (vegetable based, from Ikea) on the outside only, when the bowl was dry. I seem to remember seeing photos of certain well known bowl turner adjusting a bowl with a draw knife?
Have you tried keeping the fresh turnings in a sack of damp sawdust or chain saw chippings?
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Re: loving the sun and bowls at the same time!

Postby chainsawkid » Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:40 am

Hi grinagog

Wow! Your bowls and plates look fantastic. The narrowboat gives the perfect setting as well, it must be a great way of life.

In my relatively short experience of turning bowls, a couple of things I've learnt, in general I sell my bowls when they're seasoned and oiled (to minimise risk of splitting later on), although occasionally I sell wet unseasoned bowls but usually only at craft fairs where the audience want the particular bowl I'm turning (I always advise them to let the bowl dry in a cool place for a month or so and then oil it with an edible oil). This means I have to aim to keep a stock of seasoned bowls that I can show and sell (thus keeping the wet bowls to see which ones are salable). But I can see that you may not have the space to do this! But the longer you can hang on to them until they're seasoned, the better.

Also, how do you get hold of the timber you're using, and what part of the tree does it generally come from? For instance, if you're using branch wood as opposed to straight trunk wood, which by its own nature is completely stressed in at least one direction (ie compression and tension, as shown by the central pith always being off-centre), then the bowls will always want to move depending on the stresses inherent in the wood. However none of this stops me from turning branch wood into bowls, and all the tips given above ie hollow and small bases etc can help to give a very character-ful product.

Similar to goldsmithexile's example, just looking at my stock of bowls, I have some 12-ish" diameter alder and birch bowls made from trunk wood of straight-ish stemmed trees. They have bases 3-4" diameter slightly hollowed, and have minimal movement. The rim diameters tend to have contracted in diameter by quarter of an inch, with wall thickness being about half an inch. These bowls in general have been seasoned indoors in a coolish back room, though it does have central heating.

All in all I would advise picking the best quality wood you can and season the bowls for as long as possible before placing on display.

Loving the pictures, do you move around in the boat much? It would be good to see a weekly picture of your new and interesting moorings and perhaps interesting places that you get to turn, do you keep a blog? Are you coming to Bodgers Ball?

All the very best
james :D
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Re: loving the sun and bowls at the same time!

Postby grinagog » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:46 am

Stanleythecat wrote:Fantastic work Nick! Really need to pick this back up again. Could do with some forging advice from you too!

Hope all's well

Leo


Hi Leo
Thanks mate, and I hope all is good for you too, I'm doing fine and dandy!

Im sure we are going to catch up with each other soon too!

There seems to be a limitless amount to learn in this creativity...and so much more when the forge is involved, but I do hope I can share some knowledge on that side with you!

Im finding that getting wood is also a probklem for me...Do they sell it at oakfrith?

Will be great to catch up...big smiles!!

nick
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Re: loving the sun and bowls at the same time!

Postby grinagog » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:50 am

goldsmithexile wrote:Have you tried keeping the fresh turnings in a sack of damp sawdust or chain saw chippings?


Thanks goldsmith....no, I have yet to try this! I was sort of under the impression that doing this may slow the proccess down so much that it could easily lead to mold forming? But I shall give it a go!

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Re: loving the sun and bowls at the same time!

Postby grinagog » Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:14 am

chainsawkid wrote:Hi grinagog

Wow! Your bowls and plates look fantastic. The narrowboat gives the perfect setting as well, it must be a great way of life.


Hi James, yes it can be idelic, until someone awakes you from your siesta just to tell you they like your lathe! :roll:


chainsawkid wrote:Also, how do you get hold of the timber you're using, and what part of the tree does it generally come from? For instance, if you're using branch wood as opposed to straight trunk wood, which by its own nature is completely stressed in at least one direction (ie compression and tension, as shown by the central pith always being off-centre), then the bowls will always want to move depending on the stresses inherent in the wood. However none of this stops me from turning branch wood into bowls, and all the tips given above ie hollow and small bases etc can help to give a very character-ful product.


I seem to always get to use the trunk of the tree, but this information is very useful..thanks!


chainsawkid wrote:Loving the pictures, do you move around in the boat much? It would be good to see a weekly picture of your new and interesting moorings and perhaps interesting places that you get to turn, do you keep a blog? Are you coming to Bodgers Ball?

All the very best
james :D


Thanks again James, I do move my boat about once a month and each place is wonderful! I shal try to send some other pictures on the canal in future! A blog would be fun!
I really want to come to the bodgers ball, I am so busy with work at the moment...doing everything by the net slows me down(how ironic!) because I dont get chance to use it that much!

all the best
nick
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Re: loving the sun and bowls at the same time!

Postby Stanleythecat » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:33 am

grinagog wrote:
Stanleythecat wrote:Fantastic work Nick! Really need to pick this back up again. Could do with some forging advice from you too!

Hope all's well

Leo


Hi Leo
Thanks mate, and I hope all is good for you too, I'm doing fine and dandy!

Im sure we are going to catch up with each other soon too!

There seems to be a limitless amount to learn in this creativity...and so much more when the forge is involved, but I do hope I can share some knowledge on that side with you!

Im finding that getting wood is also a probklem for me...Do they sell it at oakfrith?

Will be great to catch up...big smiles!!

nick


Hi Nick

I'm sure I can arrange a few lumps of wood for you as payment for your sharing the contents of your head!

Leo
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