My First Woodturning Project(s)

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Introduction: My First Woodturning Project(s)

So I took this weekend woodturning class at The Crucible in West Oakland, and here's what I made. This is actually my very first woodworking project ever. Needless to say, I'm quite happy with the results.

(The Crucible is a really cool place, by the way - they do lots of classes for youth and adults, anything from paperworks, to stone carving and blacksmithing, with a big emphasis on anything fire-related. Check them out if you're in the Bay Area!)

Both of these bowls were tuned from very wet / freshly felled black acacia. The first day, I did all but the finishing on the smaller bowl, and roughed out the second, larger bowl (which was a bitch - with all those knots, it felt like I was holding a jackhammer at times!)

That also means that I was able to dry the smaller bowl overnight (and a bit more in the microwave in the morning), but I didn't get a chance to dry out the larger one before finishing it.

The smaller bowl, shown first, is 7" across, and wound up very thin: about 1/6" or so - thin enough that you can see a little light shining through that big knot at the bottom. Because we started with very wet wood, and the walls of the bowl are very thin, it developed quite a bit of warping while drying afterwards. You can see this really well on the first, side-on set of pictures, but it's actually not that noticeable in person.

The second bowl is 9" across, and about 1/3" thick. It was made out of a much more "ambitious" piece of black acacia, containing a big "crotch" (Y-shape, where a big branch splits off the main trunk of the tree). I decided to leave a bit of the natural bark exposed at the crotch, to accentuate that feature.

Because of time pressure (most other people in the class were only doing one bowl for the weekend), the more challenging nature of the wood, and lack of drying, there are a few more technical flaws with this piece, but overall, I do like it a lot.

There's a lovely convoluted knot at the bottom of the bowl - shown in a close-up at the end. The wood is actually carved and sanded perfectly flat there, but the folds in the grain make it look like a little maelstrom...

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34 Comments

I really like how your pieces turned out. I just started wood turning a couple of weeks ago and started with one lathe and ended up trading up to another. I have been watching every video on Youtube and not I can honestly say I am addicted. You bowls are GREAT, keep making shavings.

Very Nice, I really love that wood. I want some.

Your photos look fantastic! Of course, I can attest that the bowls look/feel even better than the pictures show.

First Class From 60 Year Young Woodturner from Ireland

Sweet first project if I say so. I would just maybe make the top level buy touching it on a band/disk sander. But the wave looks cool either way.

Very nice. Green turnings can be challenging for someone who has never turned before. You should get your own lathe and use your awesome new skill =]

My wood projecs

Hey - nice to see I prompted another woodworker to post! Do try your hand at turning some green wood, if you still have access to the lathe. I found it very satisfying - you get nice big shavings, rather than lots of fine wood dust. You're definitely aiming more for "character" than precision when turning green wood, because you can't really control how the wood will settle when it dries out. Using a wood with a lot of contrast - like this black acacia with its dark heartwood - definitely helps. nobody is going to complain about a little wobble if they're lost gawping at the pattern of the wood itself. ;-)

I have tried green turning before with little luck. The first time I tried the tool dug into the wood and sheered it off of the face plate. After I reattached it, I turned the project into a nice looking goblet and began drying it very slowly. Or at least I thought. After about a week the goblet split down the center and was almost in 2 pieces with no why to fix it. Same thing happened after that with a different project.