Topic - Large Bowls
Jim Tanksley’s woodturning experience began as many young teens did back in 1969, in junior high school woodshop class. Using a piece of laminated maple and mahogany wood he turned a lamp, Jim will tell you he couldn’t remember the tools he used but remembers it was fun and his mom loved the lamp. He did dabbled with woodturning again until 1995. He had four 6” x 6” by 30” kiln dried white oak pieces that needed to be turned into table legs. He purchased a cheap lathe from Big Lots and burned out several of them trying to turn the legs. Finally he upgraded and purchased a lathe from a garage sale made by Sears to finish the project. Then in 2006 Jim met Mike Jones at work and became interested in woodturning again after see a wood pen he had turned. After getting the specifics of how and what to buy, Jim made his first visit to Rockler and Woodcraft. Mandrel and pen kit in hand Jim realized his Sears lathe did not have a number 2 morse taper so he would have to purchase another lathe. Wow his first Jet mini, he was on his way to making pen after pen. It was then Jim started attending the woodturning meetings in Fort Worth. Learning and discovering new techniques Jim realized there was more to woodturning than just pens. He purchased a used Nova 3000 lathe with capacity for turning 16” bowls. In the beginning he did everything wrong and scrapped over 50% of the bowls. However Jim didn’t get discouraged, his family loved everything he was turning out and he was inspired to continue turning. Hoping to improve his skill he decided to by a bigger lathe (Powermatic 3520B), thinking a bigger lathe would allow him to turn better ha ha. Overtime his success rate and quality of turnings improved with practice, attendance at the woodturning meetings and taking lessons. The club offers hands on classes with professional woodturners each year and Jim started taking advantage of these sessions. Then in 2008 Jim took a 2-day course with Stuart Batty and the light came on. He will tell you his turnings improved at least by 50% and he became comfortable sharpening his own tools after the training. He was hooked!
For the upcoming WNTX club meeting Jim will be demonstrating different stages of turning a large bowl. In addition he will give you tips and tricks of the turning large bowls. He prefers to use green wood with Mesquite being his favorite. On display will be some of the large bowls Jim has turned in the past with many different woods (Mesquite, Silver Maple, Magnolia, Oak, Pecan, Black Walnut, and Hackberry).