Ironwood Hollow Form
The first step is to turn the basic shape of the vessel between centers. Using a bowl gouge, I pare away most of the excess material on the outside of the vessel. I also add a tenon to mount the piece in the chuck.
As with all tropical hardwoods, ironwood will dull your tools quickly. It is imperative to start with sharp tools and to re-sharpen frequently (more than you think is necessary). If you are using carbide tools, make sure you have a fresh insert.
To make this piece easier to hollow, I used a handheld drill to add a depth hole. This isn’t strictly necessary, but it does make the work easier.
The trick to hollow form turning is obtaining an even, consistent wall thickness. The easiest way to accomplish this is by using a pair of outside calipers designed for woodturning. The piece of ironwood used for this project has a couple of defects in it, which actually make it easier to check the thickness.
When it comes to the actual hollowing, there’s no magic to it. I used Easy Wood Tools’ #1 Hollower for most of the work, moving slowly and steadily to avoid blowing through the side walls of the piece. If your piece has small cracks, you can use epoxy or CA glue to fill them in.
Once you’ve finished hollowing, all that’s left is turning off the tenon, sanding, and finishing. I did this by reversing the piece and adding tailstock support to hold the wood steady while I worked.
Hollow form turning is tricky, but straightforward. When in doubt, remember to check your wall thickness often, cut slowly, and sneak up on your desired thickness to avoid blowing out the sides.
Thanks for watching!