Friday, July 25, 2008

Let the Chips Fly

Several years ago I bought a small lathe from a coworker at Martin Marietta. The lathe sat in the corner of the shop for 10 years before I built a bench and mounted the lathe. Eric had an opportunity to use some of the lathe chisels that Jeanette acquired for me. He used them the help me work on the legs of a new chair for Luke.

The first task was to cut out the blanks of wood. I purchased some firewood that I have re-sawn into turning blanks. I like my band saw.

Proper eye protection is necessary. The blank is square at the beginning. Both ends of the blank are marked with an X from corner to corner to locate the center. When the piece is turned it then can be made into a cylinder with the maximum retention of material.

Carefully the blank is centered on the spindle and chuck.

The diameter of the cylinder is controlled.

Marks are placed on the piece where features of the turning are located by using a pencil and rule. A set of calipers and a parting tool is used to cut a circular groove to the depth of the feature desired.

Next the features are refined by cutting coves and bulbs.

Eventually there will be a finished chair. It still needs a little work. The legs are turned and the seat has been cut. The legs now need to fitted to the seat. Maybe when the weather cools.

Here is Leslie modeling the chair Jeanette and I made for her last year.


  1. I would love to work on a lathe, but unfortunately, my epilepsy doesn't allow it. Looking into the spinning work has a strobing effect that causes problems for me.

    I still enjoy the smell of freshly cut wood. Dad introduced me to the router. I love making sawdust and chips.

  2. Don't wear a necktie when you are using a lathe.

    I like making things, but it is just to hot outside to enjoy it now.


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