Wood Turning Tools – Turning a Fruit Bowl
In article #1 we learned about different ways to make a square piece of wood round and how to center and glue a waste block to the turning block for the purpose of attaching a face plate to the fruit bowl turning blank. Article #2 will deal with the actual turning and hollowing out the project to make the fruit bowl.
The face plate has been attached to the fruit bowl and attached to the lathe, you have checked for any looseness or movement between the your bowl bank and the face plate (any movement between the bowl blank and lathe means the waste or face plate has been improperly attached, start over) and you have read followed all the manufacturer’s warnings on the lathe and lathe tools you are now ready to start.
Start at the slowest speed, start the lathe; stand aside when you are first starting the lathe in case there may be loose debris on the turning blank or if the turning blank is improperly attached. There will always be some vibration because the turning is out of balance due of the shape, (not round) and face plate is not centered correctly. When you first start the lathe there will be some vibration this normal and will diminish as you start turning the bowl and it becomes round.
The first thing is to round up the turning block; with the lathe in the off position the tool rest in front in front of your work area approximately 1″ away form the widest portion of the turning block, be sure and rotate the wood 360º to insure nothing rubs against the tool rest or the banjo. Most lathe tools, the cutting edge is designed to work at center to slightly above center with the tool held in a level position, there are exceptions but this is a good place to start.
Using a rouging gouge turn the bowl into a round shape. Once the bowl is round you can design your shape, if there happens to be solid defect in the bowl leave it in the bowl as it only adds to the artistic appearance of the project. The inside of the bowl can be hollowed out using a bowl gouge. DO NOT USE THE ROUGHING GOUGE ON THE INSIDE OF THE BOWL. There are many videos on YouTube that will show the proper use to of these tools. Like all things on the internet, some of the videos are not good, so use good judgment. There are many different ways to use the lathe tools and as you become familiar with the tools you will learn techniques that work good for yourself.
When hollowing the bowl pay attention to the thickness. Be careful not to make the bowl too thin, try to leave about 1/4″ to 3/8″ thickness on the sides; the bottom will tend to be a little thicker. Too thick will make the bowl look clunky. Sanding will make the bowl a little thinner. When you are getting close to the thickness you want slow down and make smooth cuts, this will save a lot work when you start sanding your project. Keep you tools sharp! The safest tool is a sharp tool. The next article will talk about sanding, surface coating for your project and appearance
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