Originally Posted by kadman
For a novice that wants to get stuck in on woodturning. Well not literally.
Choice of timber I,d go for would be holly.
It turns like butter, and will remove the initial fear factor of poking at a spinning piece
of wood with a ..................mostly blunt object at the outset. But your sharpening techniques
will improve with practice, and plenty of water.
For a novice turner, i would suggest using ash in the round and fresh green.
Ash too cuts beautifully, it has prominent growth rings, easy to identify the correct direction to cut.
Ash is cheap and universally available to anyone with a bushman saw.
If you wish to buy really high quality Ash material really cheaply i'd suggest looking for a small farm forest parcel of Ash locally, and approaching the landowner.
a length of 4-8" diameter will provide loads of material,
split into quarters with an axe or froe or wedge for spindle work, the wood can be turned green for practice, these from quarters (containing no pith) will dry with some distortion but should not crack, and can of course be remounted between centres when dry and turned round again and finished, to dry the green pieces simply bring them inside your heated house for a few weeks/months depending on thickness.
a useful exercise when beginning bowls is to split a nice symmetrical regular round log in half, round corners with chainsaw, bandsaw, axe, what have you got handy? Then turn two bowls, one with the bowl hollowed on the bark side, the second (which can be larger) with the bowl hollowed from the center. This is very instructive in terms of how the grain will reveal itself in turning. the back of the bowls need not be finished and I'd suggest simply screwing the blanks to a faceplate to mount them, note for one of the bowls you will need to flatten off a section of the bark side to mount the faceplate, and on the other a portion of the split side.