MCW Mar '10 Demo
Mar 28, 2010Public
Photo: This evening, we were privileged to host David Ellsworth, one of the world's most influential woodturners.  He invented blind hollowing through a small orifice, and the tools to accomplish it, in the 1970s.  He was a founder of AAW and it's first President.  He has won numerous awards, and his works are in all the major museums and collections.
Photo: David kindly agreed to critique this evening's Show & Tell pieces prior to his demo.
Photo: David Ellsworth is setting up to make a natural-edge beach bowl. He starts between centers. He has cut out a piece on the bark side to get a good bite into wood with his spur.
Photo: Alignment is very important for the balance of the final product. You can judge your setup roughly with a pen held against the headstock while the piece is rotated.
Photo: A little adjustment is necessary to get equal heights on opposite sides.
Photo: All set to go, and discussing the overall plan of attack.  David showed five different cuts with the bowl gouge in the process of making the bowl.
Photo: David talks about tool control with his signature bowl gouge.
Photo: ...and starts making chips fly.
Photo: This wet beach cuts like butter and makes nice curls.
Photo: Remove that wood and make a tenon for a scroll chuck.
Photo: Reverse and mount in chuck. Note that he has not completed the outside cut yet.
Photo: A little left-handed action brings up the side. On a bowl like this, you sometimes have to turn "the wrong way". There's a tradeoff between cutting into supported fibers and keeping the bark on. It's important to come into the bark from the bark side. The two cuts meet at the height of the lower lobes of the bark.
Photo: David talking about some important points before beginning hollowing.
Photo: By request, David does a little quick work and explanation of the cuts with his straight hollowing tool -- the one used for blind hollowing of vessels through a very small opening.
Photo: Back to the gouge. Here's how you begin hollowing; note the overhand grip.  It's best to keep your hand on the near side of the tool rest!
Photo: David sends some chips out into the audience for effect with a powerful cut, but...
Photo: ...a gentle touch is all that's needed...
Photo: David emphasizes that the left hand is there only for light support -- to keep the tool down on the rest -- no white knuckles here.
Photo: Working from large to small diameter into supported fibers to minimize tear out.  Wherever possible, keep the tool handle in tight to the body and make the cuts by swinging your hips -- the woodturners' dance.
Photo: More chips to keep the audience on their toes.
Photo: When the rim starts getting thin, you have to pick it up from looking at the shadow. It's very important to start outside the arc and move in carefully until wood is contacted, because if you start the cut on the wood, you'll end up with a fat rim. You really don't want to cut back the other way!
Photo: Working across the bottom to get the final thickness. It's very important to both aesthetics and to having the piece dry without cracking that the thickness be fairly uniform from top to bottom.
Photo: Now the fine work -- note the delicate threads coming off a final cut, and the gentle touch. Note that you can see the tool cutting inside the bowl to the depth of the lobes.
Photo: The hollowing is done, and it's time to reverse again -- this time onto a jam chuck with some padding.