Collated from newsgroup postings.

Are there some tricks to deal with wood fibre tearout?

I am working with sharp tools and wet wood but still have a lot of tearout on my work. I seem to spend most of my time at the lathe sanding and often have to start with 40 grit.

I am making mainly bowls and I have been using many different types of woods, maple, oak, ash and others, most recently a lot of walnut.

I use both gouges and scrapers, gouges to remove most of the material and scrapers for the final cuts. I originally thought that the tearout was due to dull tools and got help sharpening my tools.

My advice, based on my own experience, is don't resort to coarse sandpaper to make up for poor tool work.

One obvious possible problem is trying to take off too much wood at once, the closer you get to final product the lighter the cuts. Learning shear scraping was the best thing I ever did in this regard.

One thing you have to remember is to always slice the wood the way it wants to. Grain direction is very important.If at all possible cut the wood from the shortest grain to the longest. Rub the bevel and grain direction - remember those two items. Limited use of the scraper works for me.

If you have used a variety of wet woods, then ignore this suggestion. But sometimes one gets a log of wood that just won't turn cleanly. I've had considerable trouble with tearout when turning willow.

Sometimes it helps to wet a particularly troublesome area down with a good spray of water. Let it soak in a few seconds before resuming turning.

Another technique is to use a gouge that is ground almost straight across the end, rather than in a fingernail shape. As you apply the gouge, the cutting edge should be about 10-15 degrees off the vertical. This makes a very long slicing cut, and generally makes the cleanest cut you can get. Be very careful not to let the top corner come into contact with the bowl, or you will have a horrible catch.

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