View Full Version : Judgment time

2nd Mar 2010, 10:10 PM
I'll reserve judgement on your propeller, Neil, until it's finished...:D

In another thread some time ago which discussed the risks vs aesthetics of winged/propeller forms, Frank said that "the results shown do not appear to justify any risk...", but he did suspend judgment on the piece-in-progress that I posted until it was finished.

Well, it's finally done.

A sort of lidded box, with attitude.

60cm/24", wing tip to wing tip, Blackwood with Inland Rosewood finial.

Who would have thought I would ever put a finial on anything I ever made...you Finial Challenge people have a lot to answer for....:U

What's the verdict?


EX's Timber
2nd Mar 2010, 10:20 PM

2nd Mar 2010, 10:20 PM
A1!!!!!!!!!! go to the top of the class

Have you got a Gallery in mind to show it off?

Great job

2nd Mar 2010, 10:41 PM
Brave and beautiful turning!!:clap3::clap3::clap3::clap3::way2go:

tea lady
2nd Mar 2010, 11:45 PM
:cool: Very pretty. (I haven't put a finial on anything since the challenge. :doh: ) (Propeller challenge anyone? :D )

Gil Jones
3rd Mar 2010, 04:39 AM
Hey, Neil,
Exceptional work, and a neat way to show it off.

3rd Mar 2010, 09:50 AM
Nice result there Neil :2tsup: 60cm wing span is pretty huge!

:cool: Very pretty. (I haven't put a finial on anything since the challenge. :doh: ) (Propeller challenge anyone? :D )
Do you want me to show you the photos of the tendon in my left index finger that I managed to get when I took my eye off the ball turning a square edged bowl :o (stupidly, without sacrificial bits :doh:).

That's one challenge I'm not entering! It's important to know your limits and those things are beyond mine...:rolleyes:


3rd Mar 2010, 12:23 PM
Yes Neil, I agree that your results are better than those. :D They justify a certain amount of risk, and allow you to go one up on most turners. That's the point, is it not? The friendly rivalry that spurs everybody. Without a brilliant result the risk would have been pointless.

The other face of the coin is that the result is self-justifying, whatever tools have been used. Would anybody dare to criticise Brendan Stemp for using other tools beside the lathe to make his art nouveau style bowls? I certainly would not.

Ed Reiss
3rd Mar 2010, 12:36 PM
Neil...the piece speaks for itself :2tsup:

3rd Mar 2010, 12:58 PM
Excellent work. :2tsup::2tsup::2tsup:

Allen Neighbors
5th Mar 2010, 08:37 AM
I'm speechless! :2tsup:x10

5th Mar 2010, 11:13 AM
Beautiful piece.

5th Mar 2010, 04:53 PM
Nice one Neil :2tsup:

5th Mar 2010, 05:39 PM
A+ work Neil.

9th Mar 2010, 05:30 AM
Neil, nice work as always. :2tsup:

Now, is there a safe way for a beginner to turn this piece ie with sacrificial boards? I've tried cutting air fairly successfully of late, but nothing as large as 300mm. A few anxious moments there? Any tearout too? Lathe speed? Tools?

Just questions and little in the way of a critique, so my apologies.

11th Mar 2010, 12:31 PM
yeah I know how that is.

11th Mar 2010, 01:13 PM
Thanks everyone for your replies.

The verdict seems to be that the piece worked and worth the risks, if not for you, at least for me, if I was prepared to take some carefully considered risks in turning such a piece.

I don't want to minimise those risks, as Ozkaban found out the painful way (and no Dave, I will pass on seeing the photos of the tendon in your left index finger). Yes, propeller forms are inherently dangerous. The difference between these and a full form bowl is the difference between juggling sharp knives and juggling tennis balls.

If making propeller forms takes your fancy, I would recommend that you make sure you can juggle soft tennis balls very well before you work your way gradually through natural edge and broken form bowls, then modest square and triangular edged bowls before you tackle smaller propeller forms.

Have you got a Gallery in mind to show it off?

That piece is already in an Adelaide Festival of Art exhibition, in which I have been invited to exhibit over recent years. If it doesn't sell there I may put in the local gallery where I usually sell my work.

Now, is there a safe way for a beginner to turn this piece ie with sacrificial boards? I've tried cutting air fairly successfully of late, but nothing as large as 300mm. A few anxious moments there? Any tearout too? Lathe speed? Tools?

OK, Jeff, in addition to the above comments about working up gradually towards full propeller forms, the following points may be helpful:

I don't use sacrificial attachments myself. I'm not that type of turner... just don't have the patience for that approach. My approach is more to find a form within a piece of wood than to impose one on it. So, for example, if I had turned a square sided bowl, I would have begun with a bowl that seemed to want a flange and then, because it also suited the piece, I would have cut away the edges to create the square form. Anyway, unless I was a skilled cooper (which I ain't) I doubt that I could make a sacrificial attachment that could successfully marry up to the stave edge profile of this piece.
Any edge pull-away on the trailing edge (there was a bit on the very tips of this piece when it was turned green) is removed when the edges are cut to the final form.
Probably the safest way to turn a piece like this would be to turn a large bowl then cut away most of it to leave the arch form. But, that would preclude the use of smaller diameter logs, like I used here, and the heartwood/sapwood interplay that you get from a small diameter bent logs.
Speed was just below/above vibration speed (i.e. both in the lathe and wood). The deep roar generated by the 'wings' helps to remind me to keep my fingers (and head) out of the chop zone.
Nothing unusual about the tools I used, just the normal ones used for bowl turning.
Because the 'wings' are so long and unsupported, a very light cut is need towards the tips to avoid excessive vibration in the wood from the periodic impact with the tool. The tools also have to be held very firmly on the toolrest to resist the tendency for the tools to pushed back on impact and then to edge forward in the interval and then cut too deeply on the next wing/rotation.
Probably the most challenging aspect of the turning was to get the two small foot areas supporting the whole piece dead flat and in alignment across the two. Because of the vibration at the extremities, and given the very small area involved, the feet had to be sanded with the lathe turned off and the wings hand turned past my sanding head secured to the toolrest, as shown in the attachment.


11th Mar 2010, 02:55 PM
I applaud you for your approach Neil. You know the risks and are prepared to accept them, not just blindly rushing in and thinking it will be all right... I do think this piece worked because of the small diameter log with the heartwood and sapwood grain.

Keep 'em coming :2tsup: I'll applaud from the sidelines :cool:


Tim the Timber Turner
11th Mar 2010, 08:48 PM
Nice looking sanding pad Neil:2tsup:

The finished job is pretty nice as well:2tsup:



11th Mar 2010, 11:07 PM
Nice looking sanding pad Neil:2tsup:

Yeah, a bloke called Tim makes them. I currently have about 30 of them in assorted sizes. He must be doing well, at least from me....:U


11th Mar 2010, 11:42 PM

As always, your posts are very instructive. Thanks for the time you took in responding. :2tsup::2tsup:

In spite of your expert account, I don't think I'm ready for the props just yet. I will get there, but not just yet. Maybe Monday, with Ken W. standing over my shoulder.

gal turner
13th Mar 2010, 11:35 PM
Hi, I'm new to the forum and thought I would "get my feet wet" on this request. What do I think? Courageous. A step above. Beyond most folks abilities. Awesome. Gorgeous wood. Excellent technique. It's a stunner.:2tsup:

14th Mar 2010, 09:03 PM
Hi Gal Turner

Welcome to the forum. If you are into turning, this is a good forum to join. Only thing to watch for is our Australian slang and our different sense of humour. Your fellow US members maybe able to give you some tips on how to handle us....:wink:.

And, you are extra welcome with such complimentary comments... :U. You are too kind.