Walnut turns best at a lathe speed of 800-1,000 rpm, and requires sharp tools. Bowl turners know that walnut's pronounced end grain in the bottom of a bowl tears easily and produces a rough surface that's difficult to smooth. Here's what Arizona turner John Lea does to counter that:
- Leave a little extra thickness -- about 1/8" or less-in the end grain at the bowl's bottom. Then, stop the lathe and with a power disc or flap sander, sand the grain down to a slightly lower level than the surrounding wood. Turn on the lathe and sand the remaining wood around the bottom. This method gives you a round bottom instead of the oval shape you get with the uneven sanding done with the lathe on.
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