June 2011 Edition
Focus on Wood - Cherry
Cherry is a wonderful wood for turning. It has beautiful color and grain, and is very easy to work with. Excellent choice for beginner and expert turners alike. The cherry that we sell typically is somewhat darker than most cherry lumber found on the market. Many business carry cherry trees of different varieties which are found in the northern US. The cherry trees which we get here in South Carolina are typically much smaller, but the wood has a much darker, richer color that develops because of the specific growing conditions found in our area.
American black cherry, black cherry, chokecherry, rum cherry, wild cherry
Sapwood is a light white or yellowish-white color. Heartwood is a medium to dark reddish-pink color. Occasionally black streaks of color will occur within the heartwood, which are known as "gum streaks".
34 lbs/ft3 - Moderately dense
950 lbft - Moderately hard
Turns wonderfully, with very little tearout occurring along end grain sections. Produces a pleasant cherry aroma while being worked.
Dries well, but somewhat slowly. Has a relatively low initial moisture content, so drying times are not extended. Little tendency to warp, and only a slight tendency to develop checks or cracks.
Sands very well. For removing tool marks, 120 grit sandpaper is recommended. Will sand to a medium high luster, usually requiring grits no higher than 600 to achieve satisfactory results.
Readily accepts most stains and finishes without need for any special pre-treatment of the wood surface.
There are no known toxicities associated with cherry.
Turning Tutorials - Proper Cutting Techniques for Spindle Projects
Proper Cutting Techniques for Spindle Projects
Over the next few months we will be covering proper cutting techniques for a variety of different types of turning projects. Last month we covered proper techniques for turning side-grain bowls. This month we're covering spindle projects, in which the grain of the wood runs parallel to the bed of the lathe, as shown in the photo below.
With spindle turning projects, the grain of the wood runs parallel to the bed of the lathe, as shown in the photo above. What many turners do not realize is that they may or may not be cutting the wood in the proper direction in order to improve the quality of the surface produced by their tools. Let's take a look at how it should be done.
The most important thing to remember is that wood fibers need to be supported from behind in order for them to be cut cleanly, rather than broken off. When cutting the outside of a spindle, the tool should begin its cut at the largest diameter, and end at the piece's smallest diameter. The inset red circle shows an example of what the wood fibers would look like if greatly enlarged. By cutting in the direction indicated by the orange arrow, each wood fiber is supported by another longer fiber directly behind it. This will produce a smooth cut. If the cut is made in the opposite direction, then each wood fiber is not supported by another fiber directly behind it, causing the fibers to be broken or torn, resulting in a much rougher surface.
When undercutting the surface of a spindle project, the tool should begin its cut at the smallest diameter, and end at the piece's largest diameter. Again, by cutting in the direction indicated by the orange arrow, each wood fiber is supported by another longer fiber directly behind it. This will produce a smooth cut. If the cut is made in the opposite direction, then each wood fiber is not supported by another fiber directly behind it, causing the fibers to be broken or torn, resulting in a much rougher surface.
Learning to cut wood properly, by making cuts where each wood fiber is supported to facilitate cutting rather than tearing or breaking, will greatly improve the quality of your wood's finish directly from the tool and reduce the time you'll spend later in sanding. Over the next few months we will be covering the proper methods for turning hollow forms (both end and side grain), and will also cover more advanced techniques for heavily figured and/or twisted grain patterns (special case situations).
All archived monthly newsletters do not include the following:
- Business updates
- Recently added woods and schedule of upcoming woods
- Photo of the month contest results
- Discounts and upcoming sales information
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