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Work in Progress - Spruce Burl Form

Part 6 - Ready to Hollow

It was not necessary to sand the outside at this point, but I have done so as it seems a little easier with the internal mass still there. While this may be just suggestive thinking, it also allows for a look at the finished product before the final hollowing. Once hollowing starts, there is little chance to go back for a correction. woodturning project: ready to hollow
One of the advantages of a swivel head lathe is the option of turning the head a few degrees for hollow turning. The tool rest is easy to use without some kind of extension which would be needed if the work were turned farther. Try to find a place for the work which is comfortable for you and reached by the tool rest, at the same time remembering that the handle of the hollowing tool may need to reach significantly counter clock wise during the work and the tail stock or the body of the lathe may be in the way. Of course, readjustment is easy. woodworking lathe: moving headstock
To start hollowing, even through a huge opening like this one, I like to drill a center hole to define depth and give an area to cut from center out to the side. For this I like to use a 1/4" bowl gouge. It is sharpened at 45° and fairly straight across. I do this free hand although you can use the jig the same as a roughing gouge for the same effect. With the tip away from you and the flute up, the left side is given a couple of touches on the grinder and the right one. This leaves a point in the middle. What is left is a sort of gun drill.
With the flute pointing left and the tool rest adjusted so that the point of the tool is exactly on center, push the tool into the work about 3/4" to 1". Withdraw it and clear the shavings. It will self center and drill a hole similar to a "D" drill or gun drill. I like to work about 3" deep at a time but your mileage may vary.
woodturning tool: bowl gouge drill top view
wood turning tool: bowl gouge drill bottom view
wodturning tool: bowl gouge drill end view
The bowl gouge so used can be used to work its way gradually out to the side and in fact, as a friend of mine does, could be used to hollow this entire piece. However, aside from the center drilling, I like to use hollowing tools in an arm brace.

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