Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Fullsized Finisher

Did you ever notice how we have these woodworking cliches? We never “grab a chisel”, we always “grab a sharp chisel”. Let me think about that for a second. I want to make a fine paring cut on a piece of hard maple, so I think I will get my dull chisel. In my profession, the Attorney General of the State of Georgia got involved one time in a legal opinion about Land Surveyors. Question was whether we had to call ourselves “Registered Land Surveyors” or simply “Land Surveyors”. His legal opinion was that if you were not registered then you were not a land surveyor. There are only “Land Surveyors”, and any label past that was superfluous. I agree — no more “sharp” chisels, only “chisels”.
Same thing happens in woodturning — we never have a catch, we always have a “nasty” catch. I agree that catches are always nasty, and I still hate them. They scare me pretty good most of the time.

Full Finisher
I was practicing last week with the next tool in the Easy Wood Tool group, the Full Finisher.  Watch the video below and you can see how it works. It really is a smooth cut and you can get quite aggressive with it. The piece was wet, ash I think, and I had roughed it out a few days before and then put it back on the lathe to round it off and thin it out.
What I think a lot of woodturners miss is listening to the sound of the tool cutting. You can tell a lot by the sound the tool makes as it cuts. After a while, the tool makes a steady droning sound and you can tell when you get some wobble in the shape and the tool is not following very well. You get a little bit of that high pitched wail from movies set in the Middle East where the men are going off to war and the women are cheering them from the top of the cliffs. Listen to the sound I left in the video and you will see what I mean.
I went to a class with a bunch of beginners one time and the sounds in the room drove me up the wall. Even at that early stage of my turning career, I could hear the pieces beginning to break apart, but the people doing the work had no idea what was about to happen. Now and then one would explode and fly all over the room, but somehow that was easier to take than waiting for one to bust once I heard that sound.
I think I overstepped the capability of the Easy Finisher with the size of the bowl I was using it on. Probably overstepped my capability also. I went back to the Easy Tools web site and watched their demonstration again, and they were working on a smaller bowl. I think that may be the key. That and a lot more practice.
It is hard for me to watch the video cause I know what’s coming. Maybe we should call all catches nasty. Least I didn’t cuss, I just hollered. Or screamed like a little girl, whichever you think. Let’s see what you say if it happens to you.

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