When I started turning in 2003 I told Allen Hockenberry that I wanted to make vary large turnings. His reply was to learn to make small things first. Joe Dickey reinforced this with the wisdom of “you can learn more by making 3 small pieces than from making one large one”. I took this wisdom to heart and concentrated on small and medium sized pieces for a number of years. I recommend this strategy to all new turners as it is far less disheartening to scrap a small piece you have spent an hour or two on than a project that has taken days.
I 2007 I purchased a OneWay 2436 with a 60″ bed extension and full outboard turning option. This allows me the ability to turn up to 8′ between centers and around 24″ in diameter. When the workshop was added onto the house the builder had to install a beam to support the floor. I worked with him to put the beam over where the lathe would be going, and as there was already to be a hoist for rigging in equipment in another part of the shop, the builder sized the beam over the lathe 3 sizes larger than needed to support the house. He had an idea what I would be up to.
This is the next progression in making a large hollow form. As I am scaling up the turning I am learning more and having to develop additional tools.
Some of the things I have learned are:
- When you start breaking tools it’s past the time to call it a day and regroup.
- It’s all theory until you start cutting.
- Its not fixed until it is tested.
I have had to be engineer, machinist as well as wood turner for this project.
The tools that I have built or had built include a steady rest, a 5’6″ gated hollower, and a 3′ gated hollower. I also had to build a Steady Rest (see Steady Rest Project) The hollowform I use for prototyping my tools developed severe cracks due to it being made from a whole log rather than a section. This was exacerbated by the time it took to develop the tools and my not covering the turning in plastic when I was not working on it.
Photos and video below