U for Unexpected                               

This month we look at U for the Unexpected.

How often after a mishap or even a near miss has occurred have we heard the

response ‘I didn’t expect that to happen’

As woodworkers we should be aware that wood, a naturally growing material, does not always behave as we would expect it to.

As woodturners we take this even further because rather than using uniform, stress graded, correctly seasoned timber we tend to use wood which may be cracked, rotten, hollow, misshaped or diseased. Is it any wonder that we may experience difficulties when you consider the timber that many of us will be turning with?

When we venture into using other materials there are all sorts of issues waiting to catch us out. A fellow woodturner made a chuck out of medium density fibreboard (mdf) and he was initially pleased with the results, unfortunately, the mdf delaminated when operating at speed and it was only the helmet that he was wearing that saved him from serious injury. The helmet was severely damaged and was a write off.

Many of us have been tempted into using man made materials but they are not without problems. Some can be quite brittle, they may require use of negative rake cutting techniques and the nature and quantity of swarf produced may prove troublesome.

When using turning tools we get on with the process of producing shavings until suddenly we are caught out by a dig in or catch. We would say this was unexpected, however, if we were not holding the tool correctly or not presenting it right to the workpiece then it would only be a matter of time before we were caught out.




Wood is a naturally growing material and as such it may not necessarily have a regular, uniform consistency.