Step 2: The Fun Part - Turning the Vessel
mount the blank on the screw chuck in the lathe and begin by turning the bottom. my lathe is set up such that i first turn the bottom of a vessel and rough out the sidewall, including a tenon (or mortise depending on the wood and size) on the bottom for turning the hollow when i flip the workpiece.
before i go on, i'd like to state i'm a self-taught turner and still a pretty rank amateur. that being said, the lathe tools i use primarily are as follows:
- parting tool
- round-nose scraper
- 3/4" spindle gouge
- 1/2" bowl gouge
after roughing out the bottom and sidewall, i like to remove the blank from the screw chuck and remount it 180 degrees the other way with the chuck jaws gripping the tenon i turned on the bottom. i get the piece spinning again and finish up the sidewall before i begin hollowing out the vessel. this allows me to work the outer most part of the wood while it still has a lot of mass in the center (isn't physics fun?!?). once happy with the shape of the outside, i hollow out the vessel until i'm happy with the thickness of the walls and bottom.
after the turning, i like to sand the piece while its spinning with the following grits of sandpaper: 36, 60, 100, 150, 240 respective. on occasion, i will also burnish the workpiece while its spinning with a piece of dowel stock of a harder density than the workpiece. workpieces with knot holes pose an interesting challenge. if you work a knotted out piece, your tools need to be SHARP!!!