Pretty sure I’ve found my new favorite tool…
This week we learned to turn wood on the wood lathe. It was one of my favorite fabrication experiences so far.
Ben gave our class pieces of fire wood to turn into whatever we wanted. He suggested creating a handle (ie: for a turning chisel), so I decided to make exactly that.
I started out attempting to shape my entire piece of fire wood. It was big, too big. It was also oddly shaped, which made for really bumpy turning.
Turns out part of the bumpiness came from me turning the wood toward my chisel 🤦♂️. All of this led to the wood slipping off of the drive center, which began to bore a hole into the end of the material.
To make my life easier, I turned to the bandsaw. First I cut the piece of firewood in half, then cut off the sharper edges to make each piece more symmetrical.
I then cut the end where the drive center had started drilling into the wood so I could re-secure the piece.
With a more manageable piece of material to work with, I re-mounted the wood and switched to a smaller tool rest. I then used the large gouger to round the piece.
With the lathe turning in the right direction and a more symmetrical piece, the rounding process went a lot smoother.
It was super satisfying to watch my material form as I went. This part went incredibly quickly considering how much time I initially took to just get set up.
Eventually I had something that looked a lot more like a handle. It was still pretty rough, so I took the material to the belt sander to smooth it out for the next step in the process.
With my material smoothed out, it was time to get serious about shaping. I used the large scraper to reduce the size of the material and create deep depressions on either end.
I the switched to the smaller chisels for this detail work. I used the small skew chisel to create a nice bowed shape in the center and on either end of the handle. A small parting chisel was my tool of choice for embellishments on the ends of the depressions I previously made with the large scraper.
I finished turning by sanding the entire piece. I used a circular sanding pad because that’s all we had, but go great results from it.
It’s incredible to compare the final piece with the remaining half of the firewood log. I’m still amazed that I was able to make the round handle you see above from rectangle block next to it.