Wood Turning Tools – Turning A Fruit Bowl
Article 2 discussed the woodturning project, securing your fruit bowl to the lathe, safety, proper tool use, and where to locate information for tool use and different techniques. The side walls of the bowl and bottom are at the thickness that you want and you have made some allowance in the thickness for sanding the bowl. With all that work completed let’s finish the bowl.
Sanding, start with 60 grit sandpaper and finish at 250 grit; these are approximate; different types of wood, the type of finish you going to use, and your experience all affect the finishing process. Sand until all tool marks are gone. The 60 to 250 grit is what I generally use; sometimes I will go to 320 for final sanding. All this depends on the type of wood and the finish you are going to use.
You can hand sand the bowl. The downfall to sanding by hand; is the sanding is slow and tedious and it is very hard to sand out the concentric rings that will appear in the bottom of the bowl. The main cause for this is sanding speed. I use power tools to do the sanding, a 45º variable speed angle drill with an RPM of at least 2500. You can also use a pneumatic sander; the high speed will give a very smooth finish.
The 3″ sanding disks seem to be generally the best size. Go slow until you get the feel of the sanding the heavy grit tends to be grabby when it is new; a few bruised knuckles, you’ll understand.
To finish the bottom of the bowl; knock off the waste block, use a wood chisel, and carefully drive it between the bowl and waste block in several places, careful not to gouge the bowl. The bottom can be sanded flat with a belt sander or several large chucks can hold the bowl so you can finish the bottom. This is referred to as reverse turning because you are turning the bowl over and finishing the bottom.
It is time to put a finishing compound on your bowl. You can finish it naturally or stain the wood this is entirely up to you. Just be sure and read the directions on each product to make sure they are compatible. One of the simplest and easiest finishes to use is a hand-rubbed oil, the only drawback is this type of finish will showcase any blemishes or scratches left from sanding.
You can mix your finish; there are many recipes online or in wood magazines. They all contain a solvent of some type, paint thinner to alcohol the reason I mention this is because the different solvents evaporate at different speeds, in cool weather you want to use a faster solvent, and in hot weather a slower solvent. One of my favorite finishes is made by Dailys called Profin, gloss. The gloss can be buffed to a satin or semi-gloss and won’t darken the wood.
You now have a Fruit Bowl for your table that you can be proud of. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different species of wood, woodturning is fun.
You have turned your fruit bowl with woodturning tools. To finish you will need sandpaper and a finishing compound.