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Question: I am getting ripples on the inside of my bowls when I'm turning. Can you help me?

Answer: Due to the different densities of early wood (fast growing and less dense) and late wood (slower growing/more dense), achieving a nice, fair and smooth inner surface on bowls can sometimes be a challenge. While more pronounced in some wood species than others, the varying density between early and late wood makes it difficult for the cutting tool to cut evenly. The tool cuts easier (and just slightly deeper) into the soft grain and not as deeply into the harder grain and you end up with ripples or bumps.

To lessen this effect, keep your cutting tool extremely sharp and use a light touch as you make your cuts. Pushing hard with a dull tool will only cause the tool to penetrate deeper into the soft grain, yet you will still encounter resistance in the harder grain and will end up with a less than smooth surface.

Whether you are cutting from the center out to the rim or from the rim to the center, always start the cut as if it were your last cut. Each cut should be a finish cut. Each cut should be a non-pressure cut. If you finesse the tool (perform light cuts with minimum pressure), you will produce clean, smooth cuts and you will not have to sand as much.

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