One of my fellow WGNC members offered to show me the ropes of the McNaughton bowl coring system. I was unfortunately out of town when he hosted the guild a month prior demonstrating the same thing. So, we set a time that would work for both of us and I realized something… I needed to cut up a log. Bummer (he though with a grin on his face).
I got home from work one evening after a whirl wind of a day at the office and realized I’d better get a log cut up since my exclusive lesson in the art of coring was the next day! For the entire week, it’s been showers in the afternoon. It is summer in the south, after all. So as soon as I kissed the wife and changed clothes, I grabbed the trusty husky and headed to the log pile. This lovely storm cloud greeted me!
Thankfully, I didn’t get rained out, but I heard plenty of thunder. I will say the breeze that was coming off the storm was quite enjoyable though. The rainbow was also especially nice to see. BTW, not my house… hope my neighbor doesn’t mind 🙂
Enough intro already, here’s the poor sap that’s about to have a nice heart to heart with the saw. Another good thing about Box Elder, aside from it being gorgeous, is it’s willingness to be cut. It doesn’t fuss nearly as much as Oak or Hickory, which is what I seem to be perpetually working with.
I only cut up half of the log before heading over for my lesson. We cored two sets of bowls and only had one casualty on the first set. I will say that my first impression of using this tool is one of exhilaration. Once you start cutting it feels like you’re just along for the ride. I quickly realized the experience it will take to become proficient with the process. So, packed with fresh knowledge and the coring tools (which were lent to me!!!), I headed back to my house to try my hand at this new process. Ugh, bummer. The standard tool post is too short for my lathe… Good thing I know this machinist that lets me use his equipment 🙂 In short order, I made a new post to adapt the system to my lathe!
Back in my shop, here’s what I’ll be practicing with. It seems strange to practice with something like Box Elder, but it’s the only stuff I have that’s big enough. Hopefully I don’t make any lamp shades in the process! I also decided to cut up the remainder of a Bradford pear log I picked up over a year ago, but it’s very heavily checked. I may play it safe and just toss that piece. Life is too short to turn bad wood ( A.K.A. wood that may split apart at 500 rpm and clock you in the face!) Yeah… That piece may go to the dump… so sad.
Geez I’m getting side tracked today! Here’s one of the pieces roughed out and ready to core. I had to put this piece on a face plate since I don’t have appropriately sized jaws for my VM120 chuck. Total bummer, I know.
Since this was my first attempt coring without the supervision of someone who’s had a touch more practice than myself… I didn’t take any process photos. I thought about recording the process, but no. I need more practice before I subject y’all to that 🙂 Regardless, I’m happy to say that I successfully cored a set of three bowls without going through the bottom of any of them! The largest is a touch over ø 12″ followed by about ø 8″ and ø4″. Not exactly up to Mike Mahoney level, but we gotta start somewhere!
Thanks for reading y’all! I’ll hopefully have a video tutorial on this sometime, but not until I can teach with a bit more experience under my belt!