Practice Bowl Turning Blanks From Old Planks.

Introduction: Practice Bowl Turning Blanks From Old Planks.

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I recently sawed up some mahogany bowl blanks from some reclaimed fire door frames, when i checked what price they would have been on eBay i saw that the blanks I had where of to much value to be used for practice pieces. I needed to find some cheap timber to make some practice blanks with

I checked the wood shed to see what cuttings of pine planks I had and discovered that I had 2 large planks the builders left behind after the renovations to my house the planks where 8" x 1 1/2" .  On examination one plank had a long crack running along the grain and was not suitable for bowl blanks but could be resawn for spindle work.  the second plank had a slight split at one end but was sound enough to mark out 9 8" squares.

When marking out the plank I tried to avoid knots and lost a few inches of limber to avoid heavily knotted parts of the plan, the center point of each square was also marked.

Using a pencil compass circles where marked on each square so the blanks could be roughly rounded on the band saw. 

So for about 20 minutes of marking and sawing I had 9 pine blanks I can practice my turning on rather than wasting any of the few mahogany blanks I am lucky to have.

The pine blanks where mounted on the face plate with wood screws so the blank could be squared and either a tenon or recess cut s the piece can then be mounted on the nova chuck.

As far as wood goes these blanks are not the most pleasant wood I have ever worked it tends to tear and required allot of sanding to get a good finish, but then I need the practice.  So far I have used the blanks for practice work on both turning and staining and finishing.  I am making some mistakes but then this is how I will learn.

I have successfully turned a plate, the finish could have been better but this should improve as I become more experienced. I also turned the base for a plain box with turned lid, the base was of simple design but was stained before finishing.

While turning the lid I had a nasty catch on a knot that toook a chunk out of the lip of the lid and the piece became destined for the wood stove, but then this was not a worry because they are cheap practice blanks and are for the purpose of learning through trial and error.

Thanks for looking I hope you find the idea useful.

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    4 years ago

    Nice Instructable. I'm a novice turner too. I've learned that pine has more tear outs then any other wood. It's a cheap way to practice, but it sucks when you have all that time invested to have a mistake at the end. I'm only at the point of turning decorative spindles, ornaments, small bats, & spurtles. You have given me inspiration to try and turn some small plates. What's the worst that could happen? Have some alone time. A couple of questions: what do you do about the holes from screwing the wood to the face plate? Have you ever tried to use heavy duty double sided tape & a waste block?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Dr Qui, that pieces are beautiful.

    I was practicing with pine, too, it is a bit difficult. The tool must be sharpened very often to reduce the possilibity of catching. Also, one must be very cautious when there are knots. Anyway, as you say, it is cheap and generally soft.

    Dr Qui
    Dr Qui

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks Rimar, The pine is OK for practice work and can turn out very nice if you re lucky to get a good piece of wood, I think all woods have their good and bad points.