Hi, Alan Stratton from As Wood Turns dot com
A little while ago a viewer wrote me a note. He said he had just purchased a new lathe
but did not have a chuck. He wanted to turn a bowl. So, his question was: how could he
turn a bowl without a chuck? Well, there was a time when there were lathes
but no one had a 4-jaw chuck like this one. I regularly use a 4-jaw chuck and I recommend
that every turner have one. But that’s just me.
Back to his question. I haven’t done a bowl the way he asked in a long time. In fact,
the last time I did, I did leave screw holes in the base of the bowl that I had filled.
Now, I think those holes are totally unacceptable. So, how do we turn a bowl without a chuck
and without leaving nasty screw holes in the base of the bowl?
Well, I recently purchased a new mini lathe and I don’t have a 4-jaw chuck for it yet.
And I emphasize YET. I will be buying one as standard required equipment for a lathe.
So, let’s make this small bowl out of dry walnut without using a chuck and without leaving
nasty screw holes in the base. Let’s go for it.
My new mini lathe has a small faceplate. So, the first order of business is to screw a
faceplate to my bowl blank. Some would say to use super long screws — I’m just using
1 ½” square drive flat head screws. For dry wood, these have been adequate.
Since my studio space is limited, I’ll clamp and setup the mini lathe on my full size lathe.
It’s a little high but I’ll survive. Even with the wood securely screwed to the faceplate,
I’ll keep the tail stock in place at least until the wood is round and more balanced.
Now to rough out the blank, I’ll use my large bowl gouge. One of the first things,
I noticed is that I have to take very light cuts on this mini lathe, else I’ll stall
the lathe. It just does not have the power of my big lathe.
Let’s see if changing the belts will help. Yes, it helps a little.
This is definitely taking longer to rough out this bowl on this mini lathe.
I’ll flatten the bottom and even sand it a little. Since, I don’t want screw holes
in the bowl and I don’t have any of this walnut to waste, I’ll glue on a waste block
that I can screw into. My faceplate has a large center hole which
will make it difficult to center it on the faceplate and I only have the one faceplate.
So I thought I’d drill a hole in the waste block for a dowel to fit the large center
hole in the faceplate. This should help me center the faceplate.
Now to true up the waste block while I can still get to it easily. And to trim down the
dowel. Now for the big switch. I’ll reverse the
wood on the faceplate and center it perfectly on the other side.
Well, that didn’t work. The dowel interfered with seating the faceplate. So mount it again
in the original position and turn down the dowel even more.
Whoops, now the faceplate is on but the faceplate will not seat properly on the headstock. So
back to the drawing board. At least I have screw holes in the proper place. I’ll remove
the dowel and remount to the same screw holes. I made a mark on the bowl and the faceplate
to get the same positions on my next attempt. After removing the screws, I sanded the remainder
of the dowel flush to the faceplate. Then remounted the walnut. What a comedy of errors!
Now back to work. I trimmed the outside of the bowl again before starting to hollow out
the interior. I brought up the tail stock again just to be safe.
Now for the interior, I’m still using my large bowl gouge. For the bottom, I switched
to a round carbide cutter. With the interior finished, it’s time to
start the sanding and finishing process. I applied my mineral oil and beeswax mix and
sanded it up thru the grits by hand. After sanding, I applied walnut oil. It seems appropriate
to use walnut oil on a walnut bowl. Now to finish the base. I mounted some glued
up layers of MDF to the faceplate. I don’t yet have a tap for this size spindle, so I
had to screw the MDF to the same faceplate. I turned the MDF to approximate the bowl shape
and padded it with a sanding pad. I turned down the waste block to a small stub,
made the bottom a little concave and dressed it up a little bit. Then sanded and finished
the base except for the small stub. Then I broke off the remaining stub and managed
to hold the bowl onto the jam chuck while I sanded and finished the stub area. While
this went ok, I probably should have spent the little extra time to properly fit the
jam chuck to the bowl edge. Whew, I did it. I turned a bowl on a mini
lathe without a 4 jaw chuck. Would I do it again? No. I’m going to buy a small 4 jaw
chuck that will fit this mini lathe. But I do have a nice small walnut bowl just
in time to use as an Easter basket. Please Like this video and add your comments,
suggestions, and critique. If you haven’t already subscribed, take a minute now and
do it so I can keep you informed about new videos.
I’m learning from this process and hope you are also.
And, we’ll see you again with the next video.