First run at bottle stopper

DirtFarmer

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Looking forward to any suggestions. Still having issues removing the concentric rings along the top. I used a skew chisel to bring the top down a bit and then switched to a scraper.

I spun at around 800rpm, but still struggled to get rid of the rings, even after multiple sanding passes (turning the lathe off and then sanding against the circle, from 60 to 800).

So, what do you think?

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Nature Man

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Sanding through the grits, not skipping any, is one of the keys to erasing the rings. Chuck
 

DirtFarmer

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Sanding through the grits, not skipping any, is one of the keys to erasing the rings. Chuck
Did I stop too early at 800? I started at 60. Or should I just expect a lot more elbow grease than I am putting into it?
 

Nature Man

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From my experience, a lighter touch is usually better than a macho grip! Also, you might try wetting the piece along the way to raise wood fibers, then recommence sanding. 800 is plenty fine. I usually stop at 400. Chuck
 

DLJeffs

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One thing I've found helpful when I sand reel seat spacers is to use a piece of hardwood for a sanding block. When i use my finger to back the sandpaper, it takes a lot longer to get tiny grooves and grain ridges out. If I use a small piece of hardwood behind my sandpaper, I get a much better finish, in less time. My reel seats are cylinders which makes it easier because I can use a flat piece of hardwood. But taking the time to make yourself a sanding block that fits into the curved section you're trying to sand might help.
 

Mike Hill

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All the above and using the lightest cuts possible to finish up the turning. And use the straightest part (or largest diameter) of your chisel to make those last cuts also. The 60 grit might have put the rings there. With halfway decent tool work, you should be able to start at 150 or above. And for best results, slow the lathe down to sand - maybe 250 rpm or about - won't load up the paper as bad.
 
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Gdurfey

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As Mike said, softer final cuts can really help. I suggest working on technique before the sanding. What speed are you turning at? It could be as high as you are comfortable. A light touch and working on your technique with a bowl gouge will help improve your product. All part of the learning process. I still fight those rings. And yes, I often finish with a scraper now.

And, 80 grit is a very, very valuable tool in your arsenal. I am not saying that, just from my look at the stopper I wanted to give encouragement from a different perspective.
 

T. Ben

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I’ve been there and still visit once and awhile,my$.02,with them that deep spend more time with the lower grits.
 

trc65

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Nice looking stopper!

Some things I learned quickly after making many stoppers a couple years ago. Fine, sharp details look great, but if your gouge skills arent up to snuff, you will spend a huge amount of time sanding around those details, and will often round over a lot of those details sanding.

Round, curving details are a lot easier to sand. For me, it's always a fight between design and execution.

On tops of stoppers, I will often use a dome or even a flat shape as that is easier to finish and sand. Your little nubbin on the top looks great, but as you've found is very hard to sand around it to get rid of tool marks.

What I would do is work on those tool marks using a sheer scrape with the wing of a freshly sharpened gouge. Drop the handle, and use the lower wing of the gouge such that it contacts the wood at a 45°angle. Very light cuts. As was mentioned above, when you think you have it, wet it with alcohol, mineral spirits, or even water to help you see if it's been cleaned up.

BTW, you can also use a scraper in a sheer cut/scrape, but is tough to use in tight places.
 

William Tanner

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All good ideas. Like Troy said spend the most time with the lowest grit, which is where any imperfections such as tear out are addressed. The rest if the grits are removing sanding scratches. Blow off dust and for now at least, take it into the sun if possible maybe with reading glasses and check for issues like these rings. If the sun is hiding I use a smaller bright flashlight with the beam at an oblique angle with no other direct light on the object. Keep doing this through all the grits. Blow dust off between grits so you can see. The rings might show up during the process. This means either you didn’t spend enough time with the first grit or you sanding technique is contributing to the issue. We have all been there and have had to start the sanding process over. Also, for me I cut with a gouge when I can, which alleviates a great deal of sanding.
 

Bean_counter

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Agree with the other guys on the top sanding rings. Sanding just sucks and it’s one those things I hate doing and in my opinion takes practice to get it right. Cleaner tool cuts on the top will help and you can start sanding at a higher grit. Remember in that orientation you are sanding end grain which is a lot harder than long grain which will in turn take longer and use more paper to sand. One thing to remember on the nub on top is that people typically push down on the stopper and that nub will hurt. Tim nailed it with the dome shape recommendation. Overall great job and keep turning!!!
 

DirtFarmer

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Agree with the other guys on the top sanding rings. Sanding just sucks and it’s one those things I hate doing and in my opinion takes practice to get it right. Cleaner tool cuts on the top will help and you can start sanding at a higher grit. Remember in that orientation you are sanding end grain which is a lot harder than long grain which will in turn take longer and use more paper to sand. One thing to remember on the nub on top is that people typically push down on the stopper and that nub will hurt. Tim nailed it with the dome shape recommendation. Overall great job and keep turning!!!
Thanks, especially, for the comments on the nub. I liked the way it looked, but I don't use bottle stoppers and was unsure.
 

Ed D.

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Try decorating the top of your stoppers with cabochons, conchos, buttons, coins and other things...to avoid having to deal with those pesky tool marks.
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Ed D.

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Interesting -- do you just get that stuff from craft stores?
Pretty much...Fire Mountain, JoAnn, Michales, eBay, Amazon. Also try sewing and leather shops (Tandy) as well as Goggle searches for buttons, round cabochons, challenge coins, conchos. Or, you could always make your own cabochons, using epoxy resin or polymer clay...which is really easy to do:
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