Posts Tagged ‘wood turning’

Woodturning Techniques

Woodturning is a way to make wooden projects using a lathe. The wood is generally turned by a motorized lathe while a tool us used to shave, gouge, and shape it into different objects. Woodturning is commonly used to make bowls, furniture, bats, instruments, wooden toys, game pieces, spindles, chair or table legs, and plates. Of course, as with any woodworking hobby, woodturning can be used in a lot of different ways. The project is only limited by the imagination and skill of the woodturner.

Projects usually start with a blank piece of wood. For spindles, toys, tool handles, doll house parts, and other small projects, you may be able to start with wooden dowels. This can simplify the process for you. If you don’t start with a dowel, you will need to use a woodturning tool designed to get the blank into the basic shape that you want to work with.

Most projects start with a roughing gouge to round the wood blank into a spindle. The spindle can be smoothed using the razor sharp edge of the skew chisel. However, if you are making a bowl, which is the most popular woodturning project, you will need a special bowl gouge that is designed to turn the inside and outside of the bowl. You may also need a hollowing tool to cut out the deep sections of the bowl, especially if the bowl is narrow, or you’re turning something like a vase. A tool called a bowl saver is popular because it allows you to cut a smaller bowl out of a larger one, saving your wood pieces for later projects.

You can work with a blank while the wood is still wet or green to more easily get it into the basic shape that you want without having to wait for the entire block to dry out. Turning on wet wood is actually easier and creates less sawdust than dry wood. However, you may not want to turn your whole project while the wood is wet. This technique of cutting on wet wood is usually used only to get the wood into the basic desired shape so that it will dry out faster. Wet wood that is turned will distort a little as it dries and shrinks. You want to make sure that you have enough wood thickness left to work with so that you can remove the rough exterior and any distortions once the wood is dry. Drying out large pieces of green wood can result in cracks, so many woodturners prefer to rough turn their pieces while the wood is newly felled.

There are many different styles of woodturning that can help you to create artistic and functional pieces. Pool cues, wooden eggs, candle holders, and platters are some other commonly turned items. You can use dowel rods of varying thickness to get you quickly started on a lot of different projects. Research which type of wood is better for your project before you order or make your dowels. You can purchase birch dowels, maple dowels, red or white oak dowels, cherry dowels, poplar dowels, ash dowels, or walnut dowels, giving you a large selection of woods to choose from for your woodturning project. Some companies will even turn wood that you provide into custom diameter dowels so that you have complete creative control over your project.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc. which manufactures wood products in Ohio. Good Wood, Inc. makes dowels and dowel rods, wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import dowels from off-shore suppliers when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for your wood product needs.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Turning Balls on a Lathe

Lathe work is so fun and exciting! If you’re looking for a new woodworking project, consider turning some balls. It’s fun to do and you can thoroughly entertain your children with this project.

There are lots of things that you can do with turned balls. You can create decorative accents for vases, mobiles, a marble set for the kids, use them to create stems on handmade wineglasses, cabinet and drawer knobs, a working universe model, or create a handmade wine bottle stopper; the possibilities are really endless! Just use your imagination and think of all the crafty things you can do with wooden balls.

First you need to choose the type of wood that you will use. Basically, the harder the wood, the less indention you will see from the wood turning lathe attachment. The wood is held in place by a circular mechanism, so sometimes you will get a circular indention on one or both ends of the ball. Some lathe attachments don’t mark up the balls as much as others, but really it depends on the type of wood that you use.

Start off with a center mounted block of wood. Use a gouge tool to get started and skew chisel to turn your block into a smooth cylinder. Be especially careful with the skew chisel, as it is considered to be very dangerous. If this is your first time using one, go very slowly and wear protective clothing and face protection. Skew chisels can easily dig into the wood and spring from your hand. Review the proper techniques for using a skew chisel before you begin. Practice before you turn on the lathe. The skew chisel should be very sharp and produce a long thin ribbon of wood when you’re doing it correctly. You may have to attempt to create your cylinder several times until you really get the hang of the skew chisel.

Use a caliper to measure the diameter of the cylinder, making sure that it is the same all the way around. Then turn the caliper ninety degrees and mark the cylinder for the width of the ball making sure that it is exactly the same as the diameter. Measure for the center of the wood section that is to become your ball. Mark it with a pencil all the way around.

Measure half-way between the outside boundary marks and your center line. Use the pencil to mark this point so that the center of the cylinder is now divided into three sections. Use a gouge tool to cut from these new lines down to the boundaries, sloping out at forty-five degrees. Continue to work your way down so that the cylinder becomes more and more like a ball trapped between two blocks. You may need to remark your center line at this point.

Cut the ball loose and use a ball drive to hold the ball steady. Mount it with the center line vertical. Work your way around smoothing as you go. You can look for shadows to spot areas that aren’t perfectly round yet. Take the ball off, rotate it so that the center line is horizontal, and repeat the smoothing process. Use fine grit sandpaper, rotating the ball ninety degrees again and again until the ball is smooth.

This technique is used for making balls. You can use the cylinder technique to create cylinders, dowel rods, or dowels of custom diameter. Remember to be safe!

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc. which manufactures wood products in Ohio. Good Wood, Inc. makes dowels and dowel rods, wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import dowels from off-shore suppliers when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for your wood product needs.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »