Safety Issues and Bloopers

Sugar Maple Burl Incident

One of the dangers of working with burls is that you never know what you will find inside.  I have found Sugar Maple to be the most unpredictable with seams and bark pockets being very common.  I was close to finishing my cut on this small bowl and it came apart.  Luckily the flying part didn’t do any damage!!

Sugar Maple Burl

Sugar Maple Burl



Turning burls, spalted wood and irregular shaped blanks can be challenging and some what dangerous at times.  Deciding how to safely mount a piece and then turn it without putting myself in harms way can be even more challenging.  For the record, I wear gloves and a face shield when I turn and that was what I was wearing on this occasion.

This particular piece was a large (14″), green Sugar Maple blank that exhibited some ring shake around the heartwood.  Ring shake is when the wood actually separates in a line following the growth ring.  I cautiously mounted this piece using a spur drive center and the tail stock.  I turned it round and put a tennon on it very cautiously.  At this point I turned it around and mounted it in a 4 jaw chuck.  After flattening the surface of the bowl blank I felt confident that the ring shake wouldn’t be a problem.  I applied some CA glue to the “crack” and moved on.

I prepared the surface for my McNaughton Center Saver coring device (measuring, groves and tool alignment) and began coring.  Coring is usually performed at between 800 and 1000 RPM’s.  I was coring at 800 RPM’s.  I didn’t get very far in and the ring shake separated and a large chunk hit me in the face shield.  It bounced off without injury.  IF I had been wearing safety glasses I am sure that I would have had a nasty cut.  Below is a picture of the blank and the piece that hit me.

Maple Projectile

Maple Projectile



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