Monday, October 23, 2017

Hollowing and Finishing with Keith Rueckert

Chattahoochee Woodturners - October 2009 Demonstration by Keith Rueckert

written by Mike Peace

Keith Rueckert, President of the Apple Ridge Turners, Ellijay, GA, demonstrated doing a hollow form with some discussion on design.  

He rough turned a blank of Masur Birch from Finland approximately 6" X 9". He demonstrated using a ¼" square home made bedan-like tool to put on the tenon for chucking. He then used a Forstner bit that appeared to be about 1 ¼" with an extension to drill out the center.  He used an Oland tool with a 5/8" bar and  a ¼" tip for initially hollowing the piece. He then switched to a Sorby arm brace and a Dennis Stewart "Maxie" bar.  He switched to a Sorby Hollowmaster with a 3/16" tip for hollowing around the inside shoulder. He finished smoothing the inside with a disc scraper about the size of a quarter. He likes to leave the wall thickness about 10% and return when the piece is dry, about 11-13% as measured by a moisture meter.  He wraps the rough turned piece in a few sheets of newspaper for the first few days to reduce the chance of cracking.
He removes wax from turning blanks with a brass brush and DNA. On a safety note, Keith emphasized the dangers of using a "Spindle Roughing Gouge" (what many folks know as simply a roughing gouge) on the inside of a bowl because of the risk of snapping the narrow tang.

He says that women buy 90% of the art and shape is more important than how much wood there is in the piece.  In other words don't let the size of the turning blank dictate the shape of the piece. He learned from Ray Key to take a vessel off of the lathe and to look at it vertically.  He suggested that looking at library books of Greek art and Southwest pottery for pleasing shapes. If the shape is right, it will look good upside down. He likes a simple foot without any "whoopee doo's" and suggests one third of the diameter of the piece is a good starting point.  Keith puts his price on the bottom of the piece so as to encourage customers to pickup and hold the items.  Putting prices on the table could discourage this.  He had  a story about not judging a customer by their appearance as one little old lady in plain dress with home made crutches bought one of his pieces at a show online casino for $2500 after caressing it for a while.

Another design tip was the use of the "Golden Rule": Keep the widest diameter of the piece or the shoulder of a hollow form somewhere between 60:40 and 70:30. Keith says he may not be the best turner but "I am a heck of a sander!" and admits to using 60 grit "shaping paper" on occasion if needed.

He followed up with a presentation on lacquer finishing.

  1. Sand to 400 grit.
  2. Apply sanding sealer.
  3. Sand again to 400 grit.
  4. Spray numerous coats of lacquer, up to 20 coats, over a period of 4 days.
  5. After lacquer cures 48 hours, wet sand with water with 320 and 400 grit to remove orange peel and runs.
  6. Use mineral oil and #2 medium coarse pumice applied and buffed with a sheepskin pad.  Wipe clean with mineral oil.
  7. Repeat step 6 using #4 fine pumice.
  8. Repeat step 6 using rotten stone.  Wipe piece clean with paper towel; then wipe with paper towel dampened with DNA.
  9. Polish with dry paper towel.
  10. Apply 3 drops of Finesse-it II(3M product) to designated sheepskin pad and buff turned piece to high luster.  Wipe clean with paper towel.

These steps may be done with piece on the lathe and turning slowly.  Sheepskin pad should be rotating so as to eliminate radial marking on turned piece.

Use some degree of pressure with applying Finessepit II.  Use similar to car wax buffing till white film disappears.  Use a toothbrush and water to remove any white residue from cracks or holes.