Jun 142011
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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.

  6 Responses to “The Woodturning Snob tries another Easy Wood Tool: The Fullsized Finisher”

  1. I have used the easy finisher. I have found that if you orient the tool so it addresses the wood at a 90 degree to the surface of the cut, you will have fewer catches. If you watch your last catch on the walnut, your tool is almost parallel to the part of the bowl you are cutting. If you rotate the handle more toward the middle of the bowl, your catches should be reduced.

    Catches scare me too. : ) Erik

  2. I kinda sensed that as a solution Erik, and intended to make myself do it. From watching the video on the Easy Tools site, they made a point of being able to move the tool in both directions and cut most anywhere. Guess I thought I could and I was determined to try it. Next time I will try moving the handle towards the middle and also taking a smaller cut. Also if you look at the article by Phil Colson about safety in The Highland Woodturner, he is emphatic about staying away from the rim once the thickness is established. I certainly violated that rule as indicated by the little divots on the rim of the first bowl. Oh well, I thought my problems were over, but I guess not.
    Thanks for reading.

  3. Erik may have it.

    I’ve done similar with the radiused square bit; too heavy a cut and you can create a self-feed effect.

    Another possibility, or better an explanation of Erik’s point, is that at the angle you were cutting the forces were enough to pull the shaft onto its edge.

  4. I think woodturning is all about the options one knows or has seen demonstrated. Armed with these informed options any task can be accomplished. I work much of the time with soft woods (box elder, ambrosia maple), so cutting with less “chatter” is the goal. Seems that this tool (and the strong rest you used) achieve that end. I appreciated the candor and your article.

  5. Terry,
    Sorry if this posts twice, the page didn’t change after I hit submit.
    There are two rules to follow when using Easy Wood Tools. ALWAYS keep the tool flat on the rest, and keep it level with the floor.
    With typical wood turning tools, you “roll” a gouge and it cuts better. If you roll any of the EWT tools, you are changing the geometry of the grind and it can cause the bit to catch.
    Try holding the tool in one hand and use the thumb of your other hand to hold the tool bar flat on the rest.

    I turn segmented bowls and the link I listed shows a picture of a bowl I turned using the EWT mini finisher.

    I’ll be in Atlanta the week of the 4th if you want a demo. hahaha
    I can even show you how to turn with the lights off. I’ve been blind for 45 years. Have yet to blow up a segmented bowl, but I have lost a couple goblets.

    These are the best turning tools I’ve ever used. and if you follow the two simple rules, you’ll learn to love them too. Even if you turn with the lights on…

  6. Terry,
    To make it easier to keep your EWT tools flat on the rest and level to the floor while turning, suggest you get a flat (as opposed to a round) tool rest. It makes it a whole lot easier to avoid catches. The wider the flat surface the better. There are a variety of flat ones available for any lathe.
    I made one by welding a 2 inch x 10 inch flat plate steel onto a tool rest post. It was overkill, but it sure is easy to keep the EWT flat and level using one or two fingers. It should also help me turn when I really get older – am shooting for 80’s or 90’s in front of the lathe.

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