Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spindle Turning

Having turned only pens in the past, I was excited to turn the spindles that will pin the legs to the runners on the sawbuck table.

Owning few lathe tools and possessing a miniscule amount of knowledge about woodturning results in an inevitable learning experience.

I turned two spindles at a time on my mini-lathe. The first spindle took several hours to complete but the second one was turned in about 45 minutes. It did take a while to figure out how to use the tools... and how not to use them. Lesson one: lathe tools will let you know when you've mishandled them.

The first set of spindles were turned facing one another, with the skinny part of the pegs connected in the center. Lesson two: wood becomes springy if the expanse of a thin section is too great; the wood will deflect as you run a lathe tool along its length.

Therefore, the second set was turned with the handles (the fat part) positioned back to back.

The spindles on the orginal table are missing, so I mimicked the shape of the handles on a friend's antique turning saw. I did, however, know the location of the pegs from photos that I had taken at the Landis Valley Museum.

I used inside calipers to measure the size of the hole and outside calipers to check the size of the peg that would fit into the hole. Lesson three: don't regret having purchased an expensive set of calipers years ago, even though this was the first time you ever used them.

5 coats of blonde shellac were applied to the completed spindles while they were still secured, and spinning, on the lathe.

A learning experience it was, but this was perhaps the most important lesson of all: signing up for a woodturning class would probably be a very good idea.


gchpaco said...

Turning is an incredible amount of fun in a lot of ways; it's very satisfying to get something done quickly. Equally well you can destroy a piece with shocking speed.

Anonymous said...

For someone who said she doesn't know what she is doing your end results are pretty impressive. Nice job!

Woodbloke said...

Kari - nice work between centres, it's not easy as you've found out... but good fun. Next time you do a bit of turning, try making the handle for a Blue Spruce style marking knife in African Blackwood...now that really is fun! (some pix of a couple I did on the Blokeblog) - Rob

Kari Hultman said...

Graham, it is definitely fun! The lathe seems a little dangerous to me at this point, but I'm sure a class will help.

Mitchell, you'll notice that I didn't post any "technique" shots. ; )

Rob, I imagine you have to sharpen your tools frequently when you turn African Blackwood!

Anonymous said...

There is probably a local turning guild in your area. They usually give lessons free or cheap! here are a couple of links. They look like they wrapped so be sure you get the whole thing. eep up the good work!



Kari Hultman said...

Mike, thank you for the helpful links! There is a turning club that meets nearby (at the same place as the two other clubs I belong to)
and a friend teaches turning there, as well. I sense that I might be headed down another slippery slope....

Anonymous said...

Turning is just carving where the wood moves instead of the tools! Some times the thin sections of wood will flex if the tail stock is too tight, it will certainly exacerbate the problem.

David Knight said...

Hi Kari

Why don't you have a go at turning on a pole lathe? Very traditional, more forgiving of mistakes and great exercise too!

www.bodgers.org.uk is the web site of the Association of Pole Lathe Turners in the UK.

Kind regards from across the pond.

David Knight

Kari Hultman said...

Thanks for the tip, Mike. : )

Pole lathes are cool, David. Thank you for the link— yet another site to distract me from work...sweet!
Warm regards from this side of the pond.