Basically, operating the wood lathe and using the tools (chisels) are similar to the plaster lathe but the setting up is quite different.
First of all I needed to find the centre point and used a compass to make a circle which was slightly within the edge of the block of wood. Then I mounted the wood (judge by eye) on a base brace before securing it onto the lathe. To avoid too much resistant force during the turning the excess wood needed to be removed by the banding saw to give a rounded edge.
After the wood has been secured onto the lathe, we need to find the centre point of the wood then start with a gouge tool and change to use different chisels when necessary.
Gouges (rounded head tool)
Skew (with angled head) – benefit to turn into different angles
Parting tool (arrowed tip) – to separate the wood into two
General steps of turning a bowl
- Move the tool rest into a position which is close to the wood but without touching the rest. That can be checked by manually rotating the wood
- The tool needs to be placed on the tool rest to keep it stable while turning. The turning is moving the tool along the tool rest to and fro until the desired depth or shape is reached
- “Dressing the wood” – trim the wood’s edge until it has a smooth-rounded edge
- Turn the foot ring about one centimetre depth enough for a clamping tool to secure the bowl onto the lathe to turn inside later.
- Define the shape of the bowl with various tools.
- Refinement – sand it with 60 – 240 grit sandpaper, fine-wire-wool ball, 6 times of waxing (Carnauba wax) and polishing.
- After waxing, the wax takes 24 hours to completely dry and you must avoid touching the surface by hand.
In plaster lathe turning, there is only one speed whereas in wood turning speed needs to be adjusted depending on different working process. In the waxing process, the speed needs to be changed to the highest setting.
Giving extra decoration to the wood before waxing, a wire tool can be used to make burn marks or to use a wood stain to colour the wood.